How BankFive Has Supported ACS Over the Years
For 24 years, Atlantis Charter School has provided families in the Greater Fall River area with an educational choice, offering students a solid academic foundation on which to build a successful future. With support from families, faculty, staff and the Fall River community, Atlantis is able to create a safe, caring, innovative and progressive learning environment.
“Atlantis is the school it is today because of the tremendous support we have received, and continue to receive, from our community,” said Robert Beatty, executive director of Atlantis Charter School. “Our network of partners is always here for us whenever we need advice or a helping hand.”
One partner that has been by Atlantis’s side since the very beginning is BankFive. Headquartered in Fall River, BankFive has embraced Atlantis and its mission to provide an education second-to-none.
“Education drives a community. Today’s students are our future leaders, and we have a responsibility to provide them with the best education possible,” said Paul Medeiros, senior vice president at BankFive and treasurer of the Atlantis Educational Foundation. “The quality of schools is one of the deciding factors for families looking to move to a community, therefore quality education is vital to the ongoing improvement of Fall River.”
BankFive has supported Atlantis since it opened in 1995 and grew from a K-8 school to a K-12 school. Given the bank’s heavy involvement, it’s worth a closer look at the organization and what it has done for Atlantis over the years.
Connected to the Community
BankFive opened its doors in 1855, known back then as Fall River Five Cents Savings Bank. At the time, most banks required a minimum $1 deposit to open an account, but many of the mill workers who lived and worked in the area could not afford that large of a deposit. So, to meet the needs of the community, BankFive only required a five cent deposit.
“The bank opened to meet a need in the community, and 160 years later we are still holding true to that mission. I think that is where the support for Atlantis comes from,” said BankFive Marketing Manager Andrea Rodrigues. “There was a need to expand educational opportunities for students in the community, and so by helping to meet that need we are playing an important role in helping the community thrive.”
How BankFive Helps Atlantis
1. Board and Leadership – BankFive employees have had a constant presence on Atlantis’s Board of Trustees. Former BankFive board member Julien Paul was part of the group that worked to get Atlantis its initial charter. Today, BankFive Executive Vice President Robert Collins sits on the board as treasurer, a position previously held by BankFive Senior Vice President Paul Medeiros. Medeiros remains treasurer of the Atlantis Educational Foundation, a position he has held since its inception. Medeiros played a key role in helping Atlantis secure the financing needed to build its new campus on South Watuppa Pond.
2. Growing Atlantis – When Atlantis set out to build its high school and develop its innovative Career Academy Program, school administrators sought advice from community and business leaders. As board treasurer, Medeiros not only helped with negotiating and securing the financing for the new building, but also advised Atlantis on the general concept and structure of the academies, shared his thoughts on the kind of skills employers in the area want employees to have, and was always happy to answer any questions related to the Business and Entrepreneurship Academy.
“We are proud to help Atlantis develop this new model of education,” Rodrigues said. “The Career Academies will help bridge the skills gap and prepare students to have successful careers, and we realized this is the way education should be moving forward.”
BankFive not only advises Atlantis on the Career Academies, last spring, BankFive took on its first intern from the Business and Entrepreneurship Academy. The student got to shadow employees in every department of the bank including the call center, consumer lending, commercial services, marketing and IT. Rodrigues says she hopes the student saw that there is much more to a bank than money, and she hopes the experience sparked an interest in a possible career in an area of banking he may not have considered before.
3. Financial Support and More – Last, but by no means least, BankFive is a major donor. In November 2017, BankFive kicked off Atlantis’s Capital Campaign with a $100,000 donation. The bank is also a major sponsor of the school’s annual golf tournament and advertises in Atlantis’s yearbook.
BankFive supports Atlantis in other ways as well, including, but not limited to, providing financial literacy materials for classes. It also has a partnership with Teach for America, another dedicated partner of Atlantis.
Medeiros believes BankFive will always be involved with Atlantis. He says the relationship will continue to evolve and grow as the school grows and evolves, but the bank’s commitment to education will remain steadfast.
“Atlantis is doing great things for kids who otherwise would not have a choice in education,” said Medieros. “Families are very lucky to have this gem of a school in their backyard.”
“We are extremely fortunate to have forged such a strong relationship with BankFive,” Beatty said. “BankFive has deep ties to this community going back more than 160 years. Their employees grew up here and work here. They want Atlantis to succeed because they know our success will mean good things for the City of Fall River for years to come.”