Local businesses and organizations step up to combat local digital inequity

MANCHESTER, NH (March 17, 2021)

COVID-19 has raised our awareness of many challenges, and digital inequity is one that has surfaced to the top. A group of Manchester organizations stepped up to partner with local financial institutions to help close the technology divide among Manchester’s students of low to middle income families.

Manchester Proud, National Collaborative for Digital Equity and Southern New Hampshire University joined forces to assist those children, their families and schools by establishing Operation Lemonade. After consulting with the Manchester School District on student need for computers for remote learning, the partnership reached out to local financial institutions for much needed help.

“By bridging the digital divide, students are given much greater opportunity to learn at the same pace as their peers because they have access to the right technology,” said Robert McLaughlin, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Digital Equity. “Digital equity is essential for educational and economic opportunity.”

Credit unions and banks stepped up to combat digital inequity with their substantial donations. They formed the Financial Partners Work Group with the other three organizations and their efforts have been fruitful.

So far, the collaborative effort has raised $120,000 to purchase 440 devices, due to generous contributions by Bank of America, Bangor Savings Bank, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust, Bellwether Community Credit Union, Citizen’s Bank, People’s United Bank, Eastern Bank, and Service Credit Union. These laptops were distributed to students in need throughout the Manchester School District.

With this generous support, the partnership has begun to reduce the digital divide, enabling educational opportunities for students during and following the pandemic.

“Manchester should be proud that when the pandemic served up lemons, Operation Lemonade was born,” said Barry Brensinger of Manchester Proud.

The Financial Partners Work Group is still working on ways to reduce the digital divide in the area, while also branching out into other areas to help the community.

About Bellwether Community Credit Union

Since 1921, Bellwether Community Credit Union has offered financial services to consumers residing or working in New Hampshire and Essex and Middlesex counties in Massachusetts. As a not-for-profit credit union, Bellwether focuses on giving value back to members through better rates and lower fees; local, personal service; and digital channels which simplify how people bank, borrow and pay. Members can access their accounts at nearly 30,000 free ATMs nationwide and approximately 6,500 CU Service Centers around the world. Bellwether Community Credit Union has branches in Bedford, Manchester and Nashua.

For more information about Bellwether Community Credit Union, visit

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Media Contact:
Lori Holmes
603.429.4701 |

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