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Unrestricted Giving Boosts Students’ Success

It’s a little-known fact: the nation’s largest and oldest mutual bank launched in Salem more than 200 years ago.

Established just down the road from Salem State’s main campus in 1818, Eastern Bank has long recognized higher education as fundamental to the community’s vitality.

“We grow by serving individuals, families, companies, and organizations throughout the North Shore and beyond, with a commitment to support and advocate in this region we call home,” says Nancy Huntington Stager, Eastern’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, and a member of Salem State’s Board of Overseers.

Eastern Bank’s most recent university gift, $10,000 in unrestricted funds, brings its total Salem State giving to over $700,000. Over the past decade, they join over 7,000 other donors, both individuals and corporations giving at all levels, to provide the university with critical, flexible dollars to primarily aid students.

“We are so very proud to work with Salem State, to help advance higher education, workforce development, and economic opportunity in our community,” says Stager. “We’re even prouder to see the educations and careers of so many in our community thrive because of our work together.”

“Helping individuals, families, and businesses achieve their goals and dreams is core to our mission,” says Laura Kurzrok, the recently retired executive director of the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. “Making it possible for students to stay in school aligns with this mission. With the cost of education today, many students struggle to balance work and school, and still do not have sufficient funds to cover all of their expenses.”

Affordability struggles are evident at Salem State, where nearly 95 percent of undergraduate students request financial aid and 35 percent are first in their families to attend college.

To further help students overcome these hurdles, Eastern Bank employs more graduates from the university than from any other school—filling roles from bank teller to executive vice president—and supports numerous career readiness and educational programs.

One such employee is Filipe Gomes ’19, who works at Eastern Bank as an assistant branch manager in Peabody.

“I started working at Eastern Bank three years ago, during my freshman year,” Gomes says. “My experience has been absolutely invaluable. I have made life-long connections and expanded on my financial education.”

Lauren Hubacheck, assistant dean of student success and transition in career services, echoes Gomes’ sentiment. “Eastern Bank remains one of the top employers for Salem State University, solidifying a long-time partnership that truly benefits both organizations,” she says. “It’s really branded itself as a ‘go-to’ for our students and graduates.”

Institutional Advancement
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