Select Board Places New Belmont Library On November Ballot As Fundraising Reaches $5 Million Mark

Photo: It’s now up to the voters in November to decide the fate of a new Belmont Public Library.

Twenty-three years after it was first proposed, a new Belmont Public Library will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot as the Select Board unanimously approved placing a $39.5 million debt exclusion to build a 42,000 square-foot structure at the library’s present location at 336 Concord Ave. at its July 18 meeting.

“I think we’ve come to a point where we really don’t have the luxury of waiting much longer,” said Select Board Member Roy Epstein and putting the decision in the voters hands.

The decision came a week before the board was set to decide whether to place debt exclusions for the library and a new municipal skating facility before voters on the November election.

“I don’t have any problem putting up the library tonight,” said Board Member Adam Dash. ”There’s nothing left to talk about,” as the project has been throughly vetted since it began in 2018 and any more delays will result in escalated costs, he said.

The board’s vote came after an announcement earlier in the meeting when library supporters reported raising $5 million in funds and commitments to support the new building. The big news Monday was a $2 million grant – provided if the debt exclusion passes – from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation to support the project.

“The Belmont Savings Bank was a pillar of the community for so many years, much like the library is now and will continue to be in the new building that serves the needs of the entire community,” said Gail Mann of the Board of Library Trustees. ”We are close to $5 million in funding with [more than] 850 donors with additional donations since then.”

“Five million dollars raised is incredible and it’s growing beyond that,” said Chair Mark Paolillo. “It shows the residents of this community that there’s incredible support for this library.”

“And all the dollars that get donated is one less dollar we have to issue in the debt exclusion and makes the project that much better,” said Dash.

For the campaigners who have been in the forefront of creating a new library, its efforts now transfers to convincing a majority of voters in the next 113 days to pass a debt exclusion in the $34 million range.

“There will be a political ’Yes’ campaign now that we are officially on the ballot,” said Peter Struzziero, library director. He said while he and his staff will not be advocating for a vote, they still can provide information on the project.

”We’ve held more than 50 meetings with every group, official and unofficial, that we could and we plan to hold more information sessions going forward,” said Trustee Chair Elaine Alligood.

“I think there is a lot of community support. I think there has been a ton of outreach by the trustees, the [Belmont Library] Foundation, the Friends of the Belmont Library and Peter Struzziero and his staff,” said Mann.

Struzziero said that unlike the previous two proposals which relied on state funding and support, this project ”is the first one that was ever completely driven by Belmont residents.

”It’s also the smallest building that’s ever been proposed and it’s got the most fundraising now of any project in the history of Belmont. There’s a lot of things that are different about this time around and this time, we’re confident that the voters will make the decision that’s best for the community,” said Struzziero.

Town Accepts Belmont Savings’ Gift Of A Town Clock For The ‘Delta’

Photo: Hal Tovin, Belmont Saving’s executive vice president and Kayla Murphy, vice president, senior marketing manager with the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation’s Town Clock proposal.

Soon, commuters and residents will know just how late they are running passing through Belmont Center as the Board of Selectmen last week accepted a new town clock to be placed in the “delta” in front of Belmont Savings Bank whose foundation is providing the funding. 

The 15 foot tall, four face clock, black with gold highlights that will include a plaque from the foundation about the gift, will be manufactured by the Electric Time Company of Medfield, a leading tower, post and bracket clock firm (they made the street clocks at DisneyWorld, restored the clock at Harvard’s Dunster House and installed clocks in the scoreboards at AT&T Park in San Francisco and Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field). 

The Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, created in 2012 a year after the bank converted from the mutual holding company to stock holding company, is spending $26,000 for the clock and its installation on the “delta,” said Hal Tovin, Belmont Saving’s executive vice president, COO and a director of the Foundation. Since its inception, the foundation has provided $1 million in grants and gifts to non-profits in the communities the bank does business. 

The idea of a town clock was proposed by Bob Morrissey, the foundation’s chair, a gift to the town that is purposeful, recognizable and a centerpiece for “a sophisticated town center.” The delta – which had a controversial creation – was created during the renovation/reconstruction of Belmont Center completed in 2016. The town will be responsible for the maintenance and cleaning after the clock is installed. 

Just where the clock will be located is still up in the air. While the bank had proposed it close to the corner of Leonard Street and Concord Avenue near the historic horse water trough (with the upside down “1884” date), Selectmen Chair Adam Dash said town and police input should be provided to all the tower not to be a visual impediment to drivers entering the Center.

While the selectmen warmly accepted the gift from the bank, just who will have final say on where and if it can be installed without bumping up into town bylaws. Office of Community Development Director Glenn Clancy noted the clock will require a zoning review as it likely falls under the signage provisions.

Charles Clark, the Planning Board chair, said the best way to look at the clock is as a sign “and if so it doesn’t meet the signage bylaw” due to height and other considerations. But Clark also said that since clocks are not specifically noted in the zoning code, it will likely fall under a catch-all “other” category which will free it from a lengthy special permit process.

According to Tovin, the clock could be up and running soon after final approval by the town is completed. 

Foundation Honors 2018 Outstanding Teachers May 1 At The Chenery

Photo: Brian Dunn, the 2018 S. Warren Farrell Award Honoree.

A ceremony to honor the Foundation for Belmont Education’s recipients of the 2018 Outstanding Teacher and the S. Warren Farrell Awards will be held on this afternoon, Tuesday, May 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School. The award celebration, sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, is open to the public.

The teachers, who were selected among nominations submitted by students, parents, colleagues, and community members, were recognized for their excellence in the classroom and for consistently making a difference in the lives of Belmont’s students. The S. Warren Farrell Award for Educational Excellence recognizes a teacher for longstanding dedication and leadership in Belmont’s public schools.

The teachers were informed of their awards with surprise visits in their classrooms on Friday April  from Superintendent John Phelan and FBE President Christa Bauge.

The honorees include:

  • Colleen Cox, Burbank Elementary School, Kindergarten “Learning, discovery and experimentation are sources of joy in her classroom – much more valued than showing what you know or meeting arbitrary standards.”

  • Erin Gillies-Thibeault, Winn Brook Elementary School, Grade 1 “Ms. Gillies-Thibeault instills in her students the importance of trying hard, putting forth full effort, and not being afraid to make mistakes.”

  • Denise LaPolla, Chenery Middle School, Special Education “Denise LaPolla is the epitome of what excellent teaching must be in our world today. It is because of her support, her warmth, and her care for each individual that she is able to promote an atmosphere where a student is driven to learn and to achieve.”

  • Catherine Larkin, Belmont High School, Fine Arts, Ceramics “Ms. Larkin makes every student feel like they have worth and that their individual creativity is remarkable.”

  • Ted Trodden, Butler Elementary School, Physical Education “Mr. Trodden is anything but typical, he’s exceptional. Not many teachers have an impact on every child at a school, but Mr. Trodden has a positive influence on every Butler kid.”

  • Christina Westfall, Wellington Elementary School, Grade 4 “In a large classroom she is able to treat each child as an individual learner and recognize the talents and aptitudes of each.”

The 2018 S. Warren Farrell Award Honoree is Brian Dunn, Belmont High School, Foreign Language, Latin and longtime Girls’ Cross Country and Track coach. “My child would come home and tell me about thoughtful conversations that would begin with Latin, but would grow in magnitude to something bigger – how to treat people, how to be ambitious, how you must try something you’re afraid of or you won’t have the joys that only challenges can bring.”

For more information about this event or the Foundation for Belmont Education, please visit or contact

There’s Still Time To Nominate Educators For Outstanding Teacher Awards

Photo:(from left) Janice Darius, Assistant Superintendent, BPS; Jennifer Pressey, 2017 OTA Honoree; and Danielle Betancourt, Principal, Butler Elementary School.

You have 10 days left to nominate a Belmont educator for the Foundation of Belmont Education’s Outstanding Teacher Awards. The awards are proudly sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation.

Belmont parents and community members, Belmont Public School colleagues, and high school and middle school students have until March 31 to submit nominations for teachers – of any grade, subject, or specialty – who deserve this special recognition.

To be eligible for nomination, a teacher must:

  • Have completed three consecutive years teaching in the Belmont Public Schools and currently teach in the Belmont public schools
  • Teach students on a regular basis (40% of the time)

Based on nominations from the community, teachers from Belmont’s six schools are chosen for this award. Each award winner will be honored, first at a surprise celebration at their school, and then at a district-wide awards ceremony to be held on Tuesday, May 1 at the Chenery Middle School.

Nominate an Outstanding Teacher Today! 

Nomination Criteria and Online Nomination Form (submit before March 31):

For more information:


Payson Park Will Host ‘Battle of the Bands’ Wednesday, Aug 9

Photo: Payson Park Music Festival’s 4th annual Battle of the Bands.

The Payson Park Music Festival will host the 4th annual Battle of the Bands concert featuring local youth rock bands. The show will be held Aug. 9 at 6:45 p.m. at Payson Park at the corner of Elm and Payson.

The Belmont Savings Bank once again is sponsoring this popular community event.
Bands will compete for first place which will be decided by an audience vote. So be sure to come out and support our local musicians. 
Participating Bands Include:
  • Circus Trees
  • Chesley Road
  • Fourshadow
  • Xhosa
  • Waltham Show Band
Check out videos of these bands on the Belmont Savings Bank Facebook page. The video with the most likes will win the Favorite on Facebook award at the concert.
Balloons, snacks, and beverages will be available.
The full Payson Park Summer Music Festival Schedule can be found here.

Nominate Excellent Educators For Outstanding Teachers of the Year

Photo: Belmont High Biology teacher Suzanne Lijek named one of “Outstanding Teacher of the Year.”

The community now has a chance to honor the talented and dedicated teachers who work hard every day to make a difference for our students and for the Belmont Public Schools.

The Foundation for Belmont Education announced the 2017 Outstanding Teacher Awards. Sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, the program recognizes and celebrates the extraordinary contributions made by teachers in the Belmont Public Schools.  

Community members, colleagues, parents of students, and high school and middle school students can submit nominations for teachers who deserve this special recognition. Nominations can be made until March 31.

The online nomination form can be found at

Teachers from Belmont’s six public schools are chosen for this award. The recipients are honored first at a surprise ceremony in his or her classroom during the week of April 24 and then at a district-wide award ceremony on May 2, at the Chenery Middle School.

Questions can be directed to Elizabeth Dustin, FBE president at

Sporting Moves: Belmont Savings Assists Press Box, Boosters ‘B’ Drives

Photo: What a new press box will look like in the fall of 2017.

In less than a week, Belmont’s most prominent business has scored big with the town’s high school athletic program.

On Monday, Nov. 7, the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation announced a $15,000 donation to complete the fundraising effort to build a new, state-of-the-art press box at Belmont High School’s Harris Field.

A week earlier, the foundation made a $7,500 matching donation that supported the annual fundraising effort of the Belmont Boosters, which this year yielded nearly $19,000.

“The Belmont Savings Bank Foundation’s matching gift is critical to the success of the Booster “B” Drive not only because of its significance in terms of sheer dollars, but also because it’s a major rallying point for the BHS parents and student-athletes who make it all happen,” said Booster’s President Larry Christofori.

Completing the Press Box

After nearly a decade during which the designated press area has been officially closed, it is now expected a rebuilt press box will be up and running by the opening of the 2017 fall and football season.

“We are more than happy to help make the press box for Belmont High School and its student athletes a reality.” said Hal Tovin, executive vice president and COO of Belmont Savings Bank and director of the Foundation.

“It will be a wonderful addition to Harris Field as well as the town of Belmont itself,” he said.

In 2002, Harris Field was rebuilt with an all-weather turf and track, seating and lighting. Initially, a press box was included in plans before funding fell short. Last year, a group of residents and Belmont High School athletic boosters created a Harris Field Building Committee with the goal of raising $240,000 to make the press box project a reality,

Belmont’s Town Meeting approved $165,000 for the project, leaving $75,000 to be raised by private sources. With the help of private organizations, individual donors, and groups that support Belmont sports teams, the town was able to raise much of those private funds with Belmont Savings put the program over the top with the last $15,000 donation.

With the addition of the press box, both the school and the community will procure multiple benefits as students will see improved game coaching and film capabilities for instruction between games and employees and volunteers who staff events at Harris Field will have a more comfortable experience.

Boosters find the funds

While the press box will be used by coaches and the media, the money raised each year by the parents run Belmont Boosters provides revenue for items unfunded by the Belmont High School Athletic Department budget through individual grant requests, the purchase of varsity letterman’s jackets and investing in capital equipment and facilities.

Previously the Boosters funded the renovation of the White Field House and the school’s Fitness Center and the laying of a new floor/court at the Wenner Field House.

In late October, the student-athletes were divided into teams and followed a route in Belmont to solicit contributions through door-to-door engagement with the community. In exchange for a donation of $20, supporters received a Belmont “B” which can be displayed in a window in support of the school athletic program.

“We are more than happy to match the efforts of our student-athletes, who work so hard alongside the Booster parent volunteers to ensure their programs are properly funded,” said Tovin.

The mission of the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation is to provide financial support to organizations in the communities served by Belmont Savings Bank, particularly those committed towards education, health and human services, youth programs, and affordable housing.



Foundation Honors Seven Belmont Educators as 2016’s ‘Outstanding’ Teachers’

Photos: The Burbank’s Lisa O’Sullivan was caught up in the moment being named one of seven Outstanding Teachers in Belmont.

Two teach English, one is your children’s first music teacher and they all prepare Belmont students for life-long learning.

And those seven Belmont public school teachers were chosen as recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Teacher Awards, the Foundation for Belmont Education announced today, Friday, April 15. 

“These honorees are recognized for their excellence in the classroom and for consistently making a difference in the lives of Belmont’s children,” said Hannah Fischer, who handles marketing for the foundation.

As it was last year, the teacher’s were visited in their classrooms by members of the Foundation and Belmont School Superintendent John Phelan who handed out balloons, a certificate and congratulations.

Now in its second year, the Outstanding Teacher Award recipients were nominated by students, parents, colleagues, and community members. 

The 2016 honorees are:

Martha Bloom, Belmont High School, English


“She creates an engaging learning environment where the students work as a team and feel safe to share their writing, ideas, and opinions.”

Kathleen Calhoun, Winn Brook Elementary School, Grade 3


“Ms. Calhoun is able to recognize and encourage skills and promote a positive and enriching learning environment.”

Justin Chiu, Butler Elementary School, Grade 4


“There aren’t outliers in his class, there are unique students, each of whom brings a relevant perspective.”

Michelle Connors, Chenery Middle School, Grade 8, English


“When I walked away from her class…I had learned things that applied not just to an English class, but to every aspect of my life.”

Cheryl Lyons, Wellington Elementary School, Grade 1


“Her students are loved, they are cherished, they are safe, they are understood, and most importantly, they learn.”

Lisa O’Sullivan, Burbank Elementary School, Grade 3 


“She has the natural insight and sensitivity to connect with her students on multiple levels.”

Sharon Phipps, Multi-School, Music


Ms. Phipps is a wonderful, energetic, enthusiastic and encouraging teacher who sees potential in students and turns it into self-esteem and success.

A ceremony to honor Belmont’s Outstanding Teacher Awards winners will be held on Wednesday, April 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School. The award celebration, sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, is open to the public. 

For more information about this event or the Foundation for Belmont Education, please visit the foundation’s web site or send an email to

Excellent Educators: Inaugural Set of Belmont’s Outstanding Teachers Honored

Photo: The Foundation for Belmont Education’s “Outstanding Teachers of the Year Awards” (from left) Belmont Superintendent John Phelan, Suzanne Lijek, Audrey Ruddock, Steven Tenhor, Danielle Pandolfo, Ben Ligon, Katharine Caritey and Foundation for Belmont Education President Jamie Shea. 

The six teachers representing each of Belmont’s public schools are different in age and experience, what and who they instruct, and how they arrived at their careers in education. 

The one thing Katharine Caritey, Audrey Ruddock, Steven Tenhor, Danielle Pandolfo, Ben Ligon and Suzanne Lijek do have in common now is being honored as Belmont’s most exceptional educators.

On Thursday night, April 30, at Chenery Middle School, the sextet was recognized by the community at the Foundation for Belmont Education‘s inaugural “Outstanding Teachers of the Year Awards.” 

“It’s so great to shine a nice positive spotlight on teachers,” said Belmont School Superintendent John Phelan, whose experience with a similar awards ceremony in Milton where he was the assistant superintendent sparked the Foundation to start its celebration. 

“When I heard that … I said this is something that we have to do,” said Jamie Shea, president of the Foundation.

Nominated by students, parents and community members, the teachers were recognized for the extraordinary contributions they make every day to their students and the greater community.

“The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates but the great teacher inspires. And I think what we are going to see tonight is teachers that are truly inspiring,” said Hal Tovin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Belmont Savings Bank, the night’s sponsor which has given more than $40,000 to the FBE. 

With their families, town officials, colleagues and a smattering of the boisterous students they teach, each of the honorees spoke about being a teacher.

Katharine Caritey, Burbank Elementary, Grade 2

Katharine Caritey, Burbank Elementary, Grade 2

“I love being a second grade teachers because of my students, their families and my colleagues,” said Caritey, whose second-grade class from the Burbank Elementary – where she is known for her “unparalleled ability to deeply understand personal styles, personalities and needs … of every single one of her 23 children” – came en masse to cheer for her.

Audrey Ruddock, Butler Elementary, Kindergarten

Audrey Ruddock, Butler Elementary, Kindergarten

“People always asked me why I wanted to be a teacher and teach kindergarten and the only thing I always say is ‘Because I love it,'” said Ruddock, who not only teaches at Butler Elementary, but attended the school as did her three sons.

Steven Tenhor, Wellington Elementary, Grade 4

Steven Tenhor, Wellington Elementary, Grade 4

Called “engaging, understanding, effective and caring,” Wellington School’s fourth grade teacher Tenhor wanted to thank especially “my kids, because you guys are the reason I get up in the morning every day … and makes everything possible.”

Danielle Pandolfo, Winn Brook Elementary, Grade 3

Danielle Pandolfo, Winn Brook Elementary, Grade 3

“When I asked my students at morning meeting what to say tonight, one student said, ‘When in doubt, practice, prepare and then perform’,” said Pandolfo, who teaches third grade at the Winn Brook. She particularly thanked her teaching colleagues, “each one who could be up here” who “pushed me to become a better teacher … I would like to share this award with them, my friends who became family.” 

Ben Ligon, Chenery Middle School, Grade 6 (Math)

Ben Ligon, Chenery Middle School, Grade 6 (Math)

Ligon actually named the 12 fellow educators he worked with since coming to the Chenery 15 years ago to teach 6th-grade math after discovering how much he wanted to teach by speaking at a Career Day event. He said he loved the school community so much, “I married you,” referring to meeting his wife who was then a colleague. “How many people can say they met their spouse in sixth grade, raise your hand?”

Growing up, he said he never wanted to be a teacher seeing his parents, live long educators, always working and caring about students. “Any talent I have in the classroom was nurtured by them,” he said to his mother and father, who wore an “I’m Ben’s Dad” button. 

Suzanne Lijek, Belmont High School, Science (Biology)

Suzanne Lijek, Belmont High School, Science (Biology)

Belmont High School Biology teacher Lijek was in several other careers before noticing how much she loved creating “Science Camps” over the summer vacation for her two daughters and their friends.

The very first teacher to be awarded an “Outstanding Teacher” honor, Lijek said she “wished everyone could do this in their lives, finding a career that really makes you happy, and … share what you love with someone else.”

Saving Underwood: How a Big Push and Small Donations Preserved a Belmont Amenity

On a sunny autumn afternoon this week, a mom and a banker proudly stood before a fundraising message on a sandwich board to complete a small community miracle.

Sandrick Road’s Ellen Schreiber (the mom) and Robert “Bob” Mahoney (the banker) met in front of the Belmont Savings Bank in Belmont Center on Wednesday, Oct. 8, to place a final sticker to the chart showing the level of support for a fundraising appeal to build the new Underwood Pool.

“We Did It!” read the sticker.

In less than four weeks, the persistence of a master fundraiser and the welcomed kick-off contribution from the home-town bank resulted in $400,000 being raised from residents and businesses to allow a well-loved town amenity to continue at the corner of Concord Avenue and Cottage Street.

It wasn’t all that long ago when, for a few days in late August, it appeared the future of Belmont’s new Underwood Pool was far from certain.

After Woburn-based Seaver Construction withdrew its $3.8 million offer on Aug. 28 to construct the $4.16 million new two pool complex on the site of the historic 102-year-old “swimming pond,” the Underwood Pool Building Committee – the public group that coordinated the new facility’s final design and its detailed budget – was faced with one of two prospects to save the project.

One was to find an extra $400,000 in less than a month (the town was required to select a winning bid on Sept. 26) to match the $4.55 million offer from new low bidder, New England Builders and Contractors, Inc.,

The other, take its chances and resubmit the design to bid with the outside chance a contractor would take on the job at or below budget.

If a solution could not be found, it was likely the pool’s design would need to be greatly altered, or the entire process scrapped, a situation Committee President Anne Paulsen described as “grim news.”

The only certainty was that there wouldn’t be a summer swimming season at the Underwood for the first time since 1912. By the first week of September, the new Underwood Pool – which Town Meeting members and residents voted to support with $5.2 million in public funds – appeared to be hanging on a thread.

In the end, the committee decided to toss the dice and see if it could raise the nearly $400,000 in just under four weeks.

A pair of fortunate choices

As the project’s fate appeared sketchy, two fortunate decisions were made that would change the pool’s destiny. The first was selecting Schreiber to lead the fundraising task.

After a career as a software engineer, Schreiber was co-founder of the Boston Children’s Chorus, campaign manager for State Senator Will Brownsberger, and is now the finance director for a non-profit organization. Schreiber is best known around these parts as being the driving force with Diane Miller in rebuilding Joey’s Park adjacent to the Winn Brook School, raising more than $450,000 and recruiting more than 2,000 volunteers for a nine-day community build.

If you’re looking to get something done, Schreiber will be a good person to head it.

“Ellen is the perfect person for the job,” said Paulsen.

But even for someone who is accustomed to cultivating funds, the initial time limit and amount required was a challenge, said Schreiber.

“It was a lot of money to raise and we had a very short deadline. It was very intimidating, at first,” she said.

Schreiber and the committee caught a break early on when New England Builders agreed to keep its $4.55 million bid open for an additional month, until Oct. 30, providing some breathing room needed to raise the money.

The next fortunate decision was who Schreiber decided to visit first. Following the advice of Willie Sutton, Schreiber headed to where they keep the money. In Belmont, that’s 2 Leonard St., to talk to the man in charge of Belmont’s oldest and one of its largest institutions.

Since becoming President and CEO in June 2010, Bob Mahoney has transformed Belmont Savings Bank from a sleepy depositors-owned institution to a growing stock-issuing regional institution, doubling its asset size to $1.2 billion while expanding its retail operations into three nearby communities through its Star/Shaw’s supermarket branches.

Mahoney had read news reports about the pool committee losing its low bidder and the predicament it and the town found itself.

“I started thinking about it and even sent a note to the town’s Treasurer [Floyd Carman] with some ideas to bridge the gap,” said Mahoney.

Then in a moment of Kismet, Schreiber called Mahoney the next day.

“She said they were trying to pass the hat to raise $400,000, and she wanted to come over and talk to me,” Mahoney recalled.

In another coincidence, the board of the bank’s community and charitable entity, the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, was meeting the next morning. When he brought up his conversation with Schreiber and the position the town was facing, many on the board began recalling their memories of visiting the pool. A senior member told how his father, who was a lifeguard, and mother, a swim team member met at the Underwood.

“That’s where I said, ‘I think we need to take a leadership role because [the pool] effects so many people.’ Then we started talking numbers,” said Mahoney.

How about $25,000? Somebody raised the figure to $100,000.

Going all in

As a poker player sitting on a good hand, Mahoney decided to go “all in” by upping the ante to $200,000.

“I said if we want to be serious about getting this done, we needed that amount because there was not enough time to raise $300,000,” said Mahoney.

But $200,000 is something that can be done,” said Mahoney, noting the foundation – which receives its funding from stock shares it holds bought at bank’s initial public offering in 2011 – could contribute the amount since the bank stock has risen significantly.

“It’s a way of sharing the bank’s success with the town,” he said.

In one fell swoop, the fundraiser goal facing Schreiber was cut in half.

“The bank came through for us,” said Schreiber. “From my experience, this amount was unprecedented, unheard of.”

Just as important, the bank’s contribution was seen by many donors as a vote of confidence in the Underwood project and the fundraising campaign.

“It got us half way there and so people immediately became excited. It was a powerful statement because [reaching the $400,000 goal] was now a possibility,” said Schreiber.

With Belmont Savings’ financial and business backing, Schreiber did what she does best; convincing people to join “something special.”

The money started rolling in from all directions, more than 400 donations ranging from $10 to $25,000.

“No one gives money to something they don’t care about and clearly they cared about the Underwood pool. People sent notes with their checks and told about their memories, how their children learned to swim there, how they love the fact that the town has a facility anyone can come to,” said Schreiber.

Within three weeks after the bank’s contribution, Schreiber and Mahoney were able to come together to put their stamp (or sticker) on the success of their collaboration.

“It turned out to be a perfect fit for the bank,” said Mahoney. “The donation is what we are about and what the town needed, all coming at right time and the right amount.”

Schreiber looked back at the effort preserving outdoor summer swimming in Belmont more succinctly.

“People just gave from their hearts.”