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Backing the Brigade
M&T Bank, one of the oldest regional banks in the mid-Atlantic and one of the 20 largest commercial bank holding companies in the U.S., is the latest partner in Washington College’s new initiative to improve college access to high-need, high-achieving, first-generation students. With its $160,000 gift—a commitment of $40,000 over four years—M&T Bank will help funding for George’s Brigade top $3.97 million in less than a year.
“Giving back to the communities it serves is one of the many ways in which M&T Bank defines itself and its role,” says College President Sheila Bair. “With this commitment to George’s Brigade, the bank is taking direct action to support students in the communities it serves. Because of M&T’s generosity, high-achieving students will have access to a top quality liberal arts education at Washington College and will be able to secure a degree virtually debt free. We’re grateful to have M&T Bank’s support in creating opportunities for these students to achieve, grow, and succeed.”
Over the past decade, M&T Bank has supplied more than $182 million in charitable contributions, while its employees gave their time to 5,101 not-for-profits in 2015.
“Supporting quality education is a key part of M&T’s commitment to strengthening the communities we serve,” says Nick Lambrow, Regional President of M&T Bank. “George’s Brigade is an investment in the future because it provides college opportunities to promising students of low and moderate-income families.”
George’s Brigade is one of President Bair’s first initiatives to improve college accessibility and tackle the problems of high student loan debt and college affordability. Through George’s Brigade, high-performing, first-generation students whose families would otherwise not have the resources to pay for a private liberal arts education will have their full financial need met, including room and board. If students wish to borrow for incidental expenses, the program requires that they limit their loans to $2,500 per year. This will allow them an excellent education and a strong start to their careers without large amounts of debt.
George’s Brigade will also let students apply to Washington College and be admitted in groups from the same community or school so that they have companions to share their transition to college life. The initiative includes special programming, events, mentoring, and career counseling for the enrolled students.
Financial aid is important for almost all Washington College students and their families, President Bair says, but it is especially vital for first-generation college students, whose families often require the most assistance in paying for their education. Every year, Washington College provides more than $23 million in grants and scholarships, with 90 percent of students receiving merit-based scholarships or need-based financial aid.
“Lower-income, first-generation students attending college face two major challenges: the lack of financial resources, which too often leads to excessive debt loads, and lack of adequate social and academic support. With George’s Brigade, we have established a program to address these challenges and help ensure these talented students’ success,” she says.
The first group of 16 Brigade students will matriculate in August as part of the Class of 2020. M&T Bank’s contribution will support two of those students over the next four years.
Since its inception in late 2015, George’s Brigade has received support from a variety of sources, including $1.68 million from H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., ’85, president of the Board of Visitors and Governors, $750,000 from The Hodson Trust, and additional funding from DLA Piper, Avant, Heron Point of Chestertown, Host Hotels Resorts, Ann D. Horner ’80, Nina Houghton P ’85, GP ’11, Grayce B. Kerr Fund, Dr. Robert Kirkwood, M&A Enterprises, Mr. and Mrs. James Miller, Morgan Stanley & Company, T. Rowe Price, Thomson Reuters, and Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Travieso ’66 ’66. Of the $3.97 million committed so far, $2.85 is endowed.
About M&T Bank
Founded in 1856 as Manufacturers and Traders Bank, M&T Bank Corp. is a financial holding company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. M&T’s principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, operates banking offices in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Trust-related services are provided by M&T’s Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank. Learn more at www.mtb.com.