Bangor Savings Bank Foundation Contributes $10,000 to Manchester, NH Vista Program

May 07, 2020
Bangor, ME - The challenges of economic opportunity and e-learning did not start with the COVID-19 pandemic, but for low and moderate-income families, those challenges are being raised to crisis proportions. Now, the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation is stepping in to help. Today, it announced a $10,000 grant for the Virtual Inclusion Support and Technology Assistance (VISTA) program, a pilot initiative in Manchester, NH using a multi-pronged approach to helping students and their families climb out of intergenerational poverty.
“Bangor Savings Bank has long been involved in supporting our communities with education and development opportunities, and during COVID-19, support is even more essential,” said Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank. “The VISTA program has unlimited potential for impact among Manchester’s youth and families, and we’re proud to be a part of that.”
The move to e-learning by school systems during the past six weeks has exposed the digital divide many students are coping with; this online inequity has ramifications extending to digital literacy, access to labor market data and career exploration. An initiative of the National Collaborative for Digital Equity, the pilot VISTA program will: 
  • Augment the Manchester school district’s limited and stressed tech support system
  • Provide new laptop and home broadband to participating students who need it
  • Provide online learning resources for digital literacy, coding/computer science, cyber-safety, career exploration, and test preparation for living wage, in-demand careers
  • Provide resources on the most in-demand living-wage careers, cost of postsecondary programs, and ROI calculator to assess lifetime earnings and training cost
“This funding is a game-changer because it allows us to start the pilot program in Manchester immediately, and that’s important because the need to build technical support capacity is so dire,” said Robert McLaughlin, Executive Director for National Collaborative for Digital Equity. “To help kids and their parents climb out of poverty, we need to model, document and scale systemic inclusion strategies that simultaneously address financial, economic, educational and digital inclusion. The support from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation will go a long way in helping us accomplish that.”