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Eastern Bank honors not-for-profit organizations with more than $80,000 in grants
Twenty groups receive $2,500 each; more than 60 others receive $500 each
BOSTON, Nov. 25, 2008 – Eastern Bank awarded $2,500 grants to 20 Middlesex County not-for-profit organizations – part of a program to celebrate its October merger with MASSBANK by allowing the public to nominate organizations for the grants.

Impressed by the quantity and quality of the nominations, Eastern decided that all qualified nominees should receive grants, so more than 60 additional organizations were awarded $500 each, bringing the total grants awarded to more than $80,000.

“Eastern Bank is firmly committed to giving back to the communities that it serves and felt that it was important to expand its charity efforts during a time when so many need help,” said bank President Robert Rivers. “Eastern is proud to recognize and support these organizations, which have dramatically improved the quality of life across Middlesex County.”

The program was launched in September, when Eastern invited the public to nominate not-for-profit organizations headquartered in Chelmsford, Dracut, Everett, Lowell, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Westford and Wilmington – all of which were served by a MASSBANK office.  In addition, the organizations:

Must have a non-profit tax-exempt classification under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
Could not have received a grant of $1,000 or more in 2008 from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation;
Could not have a primary purpose that is religious;
And could not be a private foundation.

Eastern established an internal committee to review all nominations and awarded the $2,500 grants based upon a number of factors, including the number of nominations received, the quality of each nomination and the organization’s mission.  The grants were made through the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation.

The mission of the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation is to contribute, in a meaningful way, to the health and vitality of the various Greater Boston communities served by Eastern Bank.  This is done through financial support of selected non-profit organizations operating within those communities.

The organizations and their representatives were honored at an event held this morning at Eastern’s office at 50 Central Street in Lowell.  In addition to Mr. Rivers, many senior executives were on hand for the event, including Nancy Stager, executive vice president of human resources and charitable giving at Eastern.

The $2,500 Community Grant recipients are:
Boys & Girls Club of Medford Medford    
Chelmsford Friends of the Senior Center Chelmsford
Community Service Network Inc. Stoneham
Dracut Community Food Pantry Dracut
Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell  Lowell
Greater Lowell Family YMCA Lowell
Lowell Humane Society Lowell
Melrose Friends of the Aging Melrose
Merrimack Repertory Theatre Lowell
Merrimack Valley Food Bank Lowell
Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership  Lowell
Reading Memorial H.S. Band Parents Organization Reading
Reading Symphony Orchestra Reading
Rebuilding Together  Lowell
Stoneham Theatre Stoneham
Tewksbury Community Pantry Tewksbury
Tewksbury Hospital Equestrian Farm  Tewksbury
The Revolving Museum Lowell
The Wish Project Lowell
Wilmington Family Counseling Service Wilmington

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern is the largest independent, mutually owned commercial banking franchise in New England. With $7.0 billion in assets and almost 90 branches stretching from Merrimack Valley to Cape Cod, Eastern offers superior service, convenience and a full range of financial products for consumers, businesses, investors, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations. Its subsidiaries include Eastern Insurance and Fantini & Gorga, a real estate advisory firm.

For more information, contact: Andrew Ravens, Public Relations, Eastern Bank,(781) 598-8528, or e-mail Andrew Ravens.