Mechanics Bank “Adopts” Downer Elementary School

Bank’s volunteers and donations support unique K to College targeting “the material-resource gap” in public schools

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Richmond, CA, February 22, 2011 -- How does a child do her homework if she doesn't have access to paper, pencils, and other basic school supplies? It's a problem faced by thousands of low income students in the Bay Area, as well as the chronically under-funded schools that serve them.

That's why Mechanics Bank stepped up to provide school supplies for all the students at the Edward M. Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, part of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

The innovative school supply giveaway was developed by Oakland-based K to College, a nonprofit that aims to provide over 150,000 low income students with over $10,000,000 of school supplies, from paper, pencils and folders to glue-sticks, crayons and scissors. The program addresses a chronic “material resources gap” faced by students in public schools, whose families often cannot afford basic supplies no longer provided by cash-strapped schools.

K to College buys $65-$70 worth of supplies for each student at a cost of just $22. The extraordinary program partners with school supply distributors, nonprofit organizations, state & local government, and school districts to provide complete, grade-specific school supply kits to children identified through the free or reduced price meal program, which uses economic hardship as the main criterion. K to College also provides dental kits to each child receiving school supplies, another partnership effort it developed with the California Dental Association.

“As state funding for education continues to be cut, programs like this are critical,” says Erwin Reeves, Vice President & Community Development Manager at Mechanics Bank. “My mom was a teacher and I grew up seeing the impact that a simple gift of school supplies can make on children and classrooms. Mechanics Bank was eager to help and thrilled to be able to "adopt" Downer Elementary. This program is a perfect fit for our mission to support the communities we serve.”

The selection of the Edward M. Downer Elementary School was an easy one for the Richmond-based bank, founded more than 105 years ago by the school's namesake (E.M. Downer), and still controlled to this day by the Downer family. Mechanics Bank also has been involved with other nonprofit activities at the school, including Junior Achievement and Project Seed, a program that teaches concepts in algebra, geometry and calculus to elementary school students.

Mechanics Bank is being honored at the kick-off event for Alameda County “give22.org,” a fundraising campaign for K to College. The event is February 24th, at the Z Cafe and Bar in Oakland. To register, go to www.ktocollege.org and click on “Events” on the right hand side.

About Mechanics Bank

For more than a century, Mechanics Bank has been committed to helping people build prosperous communities as a trusted financial partner, forging lasting relationships through teamwork, respect and integrity. The $3 billion independent bank, headquartered in Richmond, California, offers personal banking, business banking, trust, brokerage and wealth management services through 33 offices across Northern California, including two in Napa Valley. For more information, please visit www.mechanicsbank.com.

Media Contacts

Ms. Hatti Hamlin
925.872.4328
HattiHamlin@comcast.net

Mr. David Louis
510.741.3328
David_Louis@mechanicsbank.com