The Fremont Bank Foundation donated $30,000 each to the Berkeley and Oakland Unified School Districts to assist schools with the cost of supplies needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brian Hughes, executive director of the Fremont Bank Foundation and vice president of Fremont Bank, said the foundation, a separate entity funded by the bank, works with the intent to “give back” to the communities around it. After initially working to support local food banks due to the pandemic, it turned to supporting education.
“Our founder, Morris Hyman, and the rest of the Fremont Bank family truly believes that education is a key element for our society,” Hughes said.
According to Hughes, the bank had been communicating with school districts throughout the pandemic, which was how it came to learn that some districts needed help with supplying items such as Chromebooks, Wi-Fi stations and headsets for students. Hughes added that the bank found some schools needed additional supplies, such as hand sanitizer, to reopen for in-person classes.
Berkeley Unified School District, or BUSD, spokesperson Trish McDermott said the district has received the donation and is grateful for the help.
“BUSD is grateful for this donation from Fremont Bank, especially as we work to address significant challenges the District faces during the COVID-19 pandemic,” McDermott said in the email.
As of now, McDermott added, the district is unable to provide specific details about where the funds will be allocated.
Fremont Bank’s donations are part of a total of almost $600,000 donated to multiple school districts from the foundation, according to Devon Johnson, senior vice president of marketing for the bank.
Hughes added that other districts the foundation has helped include ones throughout the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Jose and San Francisco.
“It was just another blessing for us to be able to do this,” Hughes said. “I feel very honored and blessed to be able to do this for the foundation.”