WESTFIELD — Westfield Bank President and CEO James C. Hagan on Thursday presented Springfield Urban League CEO Henry M. Thomas III with a $100,000 contribution to help launch a $7.5 million capital campaign to ensure the future of historic Camp Atwater.
“This contribution represents our firm commitment to the Urban League as it reimagines and reinvigorates an invaluable Massachusetts institution that has played such an important role in the lives of Black youth in Western Massachusetts and beyond for a century,” said Hagan. “Westfield Bank is very proud to come on board at this time of the campaign and we encourage other corporations, foundations, and individuals to join us in supporting Camp Atwater’s centennial. Creating opportunities for young people the way that Camp Atwater has done for decades is more essential than ever and the bank is excited to play a role in bringing this project to life.”
Said Thomas, “on behalf of the Springfield Urban League, Camp Atwater, and our thousands of alumni and families, I want to thank Westfield Bank for stepping up so generously at this early juncture. Westfield Bank has always been a staunch supporter of the Urban League and we are sincerely grateful to them for this terrific early lead investment in the campaign and their ongoing partnership with us as we strive to create a more equitable and just society.”
The Urban League has owned and operated Camp Atwater, located in North Brookfield, since 1921, making it the longest operating Black-owned summer camp in the nation. In its many years of service, Camp Atwater has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives and careers of the vast majority of the camp’s more than 55,000 alumni.
Galvanized by the needs of the Black community in Massachusetts and beyond, the Urban League is embarking on the $7.5 million Centennial Campaign to reimagine and reconfigure Camp Atwater so that it may continue as a foundational experience for campers for the next hundred years. Already recognized for its significance by being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Urban League is seeking to capitalize on the opportunity for Atwater to provide the preeminent camp experience for the African American community, and to develop ongoing generations of leaders by providing a unique blend of enriching programs and activities within a setting that is at once nurturing and challenging, while fostering self-discovery and growth.
With Westfield Bank’s support, as well as that of other early donors, significant work on the Camp’s buildings and grounds is scheduled to begin this summer and continue onward so that Atwater can welcome overnight campers back in the summer of 2023.