Daily News

Florence Bank Donates $100,000 to Basketball Hall of Fame Renovation

FLORENCE — Florence Bank donated $100,000 to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to support its multi-phase, multi-year renovation, and as programming ramps up for families visiting during April vacation week, new and ongoing 50% admission discounts will be one benefit for bank customers.

The savings for those who use their Florence Bank debit card for admittance to the museum is a recent enhancement and will be an ongoing benefit of the long-term partnership the bank has with the Hall of Fame. The discount will be in effect during school-vacation week, April 18-22.

The collaboration between the bank and museum began roughly a decade ago with a Florence Bank ATM at the Hall of Fame. It has since grown to support programming of all kinds, including a Dribble Parade held by the bank several years ago to celebrate its first branch in Hampden County. Customers and community members dribbled basketballs through the streets of West Springfield in an event that also included Hall of Famer Teresa Edwards.

“We want to do our best to make sure we are taking care of the community. That’s one of the goals that we’ve had in working with Florence Bank, and we’re trying to amplify it,” said John Doleva, president and CEO of the Hall of Fame. “Florence Bank’s partnership with the Hall of Fame has played a crucial role in getting us where we are today.”

Michael Pietrzak, the Hall of Fame’s director of Partnerships, said the museum renovations began four years ago, and the bank’s gift of $100,000 came in phases over the past five years, with the final $20,000 gift made recently.

“The unique thing about the Basketball Hall of Fame is that it’s a global brand, recognized all across the world, with visitors from China and Australia. Yet, we have strong partners here in the community,” Pietrzak said. “Our relationship with Florence Bank is on top of the list.”

The bank helps make the museum and participation in its events, such as Enshrinement Weekend, more accessible to area residents, and Florence Bank partners with the Hall of Fame on events, such as a high-school tournament called the Hoop Hall Classic.

“Florence Bank was founded on the principle of neighbors helping neighbors,” President and CEO Kevin Day said. “The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is one of our neighbors and an economic driver in our community. If you haven’t visited since it reopened, I encourage you to stop by — and use your Florence Bank debit card to enjoy the discounted admission.”