Fidelity Bank grant supports Boys & Girls Club after school program in Gardner

GARDNER – The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has received a $10,000 grant from Fidelity Bank. The grant is part of Fidelity Bank’s commitment to increasing its support of local nonprofits in the communities of Gardner and Winchendon in recognition of the completion of its merger with Colonial Co-Operative Bank, which had branches in those communities prior to the merger.

The funding was approved by the Colonial Advisory Board, which was created as part of the merger to approve the distribution of funds to local nonprofits. The grant will be used to support the Boys & Girls Club Gardner clubhouse. The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster started the clubhouse as a pilot afterschool program at Gardner High School in the fall of 2015. It serves 43 students during the school year with programming that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

“The grant will help with purchasing STEAM program supplies, financial literacy, healthy nutrition and cooking program supplies, as well as books for our reading club. It will also provide transportation for field trips to STEM and STEAM-focused companies, labs, schools and exhibits,” said Donata J. Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.

The organization is hoping to move the Gardner program to a permanent home at Waterford Street School in the next two to three years. The school building will be available once a new elementary school is built with the help of state funding. Organizers raised more than $53,000 toward that effort at its annual fundraiser held at the Colonial Hotel in Gardner on Nov. 15.