Kennebunk Savings is supporting the work of the Racial Unity Team with a $10,000 sponsorship. The group, a 501(c)3 based in Stratham, NH, works with schools, businesses, municipalities and communities to foster racial justice and broader cultural understanding. The organization’s “Arts in Action” public school program recently received the 2023 Governor’s Arts Education award.

“It’s exciting to see the Racial Unity Team receive such deserved acclaim,” said Will Hygh, Chair of the Bank’s DE&I Council. “Here at the Bank, we’ve worked to find ways to elevate and highlight different voices and experiences, and there’s always so much to learn. We really value what the Racial Unity Team does at schools and in the community, starting the conversation early and sustaining it, making us all more aware of each other and our lived experiences.”

Ken Mendis, founding member of the Team and current Board Chair, understands the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts in workplaces like the Bank. “Cultivating an inclusive work environment can actually reduce employee turnover,” he explains. “It’s a logical conclusion when you realize that staff who feel valued and that their voice is heard will stay with a company longer than those who don’t. Inclusion, diversity, and equity empower your employees to take pride in their work and the company.”

Dory Polanco, a branch manager with Kennebunk Savings, volunteers on the Racial Unity Team Board of Directors. “I came to the United States when I was four years old,” she explains. “English was my second language, and it was really hard for me to find that inclusivity that I was missing. Growing up, I yearned to have a safe haven where I could go to relate to people who looked like me, sounded like me, shared my experiences. Now that I am in a position where I can be a part of an organization like the Racial Unity Team, I want to make sure that every kid has that opportunity. To express themselves, and feel like they belong.”

The Racial Unity Team is currently planning a celebration for Indigenous Peoples Day on October 9th at Founder’s Park in Exeter, NH. For more information, click here:

Photo caption: From Left to Right, Kennebunk Savings Dover Branch Manager Dory Polanco, Racial Unity Team Board Chair Ken Mendis, Vice Chair Sylvia Foster, Administrative Director  Kelly Touhey-Childress