Customers Bank Check Presentation Reading Youth Initiative at Millmont Elementary School

From left: Richard Ehst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Customers Bank, Dr. Rudy Ruth, Executive Director of Alvernia University’s Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement, Thomas Minick, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Dr. Jennifer Murray, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning for the Reading School District, Dr. April Halligan-Rostek Principal of Millmont Elementary School, John R. Loyack, President of Alvernia University, Laura Cordero, Reading Youth Initiative Program Manager and AnNette Hines, Director of Cultural Advancement for Customers Bank.

Funds support Alvernia’s Reading Youth Initiative


On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, Customers Bank and Alvernia University held a check presentation ceremony to recognize the bank’s contribution of $150,000 to the university to support the Reading Youth Initiative. The Reading Youth Initiative aims to enhance academic progress through academic enrichment, mentoring and support for healthy choices in children who live or go to school in the Reading area.


The Reading Youth Initiative, conducted by the university at Millmont and Tyson-Schoener Elementary Schools, is offered through the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement. The program, which is a collaboration between Alvernia faculty, staff and students with the Reading School District, provides annual summer camps, after-school mentoring during the academic year and a variety of cultural activities, including museum visits, sporting events and educational field trips all within the Greater Reading and Philadelphia area. Since the program began in 2006, the Reading Youth Initiative has provided enrichment and literacy services to more than 1,100 students.


“As a leading community bank, we have an obligation to not only provide financial services to businesses and individuals, but also to strengthen and support the health and livelihood of the communities in which we operate,” said Richard Ehst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Customers Bank. “Helping students gain access to better educational opportunities and afterschool programs helps prepare them for continuing their education, so they are able to enter the workforce and provide meaningful contributions back to their communities.”


Designed to enhance the established school curriculum, the Reading Youth Initiative offers elementary school students literacy training, homework assistance, academic enrichment activities and mentoring programs. The program serves students from Millmont Elementary School, Tyson-Schoener Elementary School and the St. Peter School, where the program first launched.


“Customers Bank is a valued partner and we are appreciative for their longstanding collaboration as the university continues to expand its mission-based academic and community initiatives,” said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack.


The funding from Customers Bank allows Alvernia to expand services to children during the school year and in the summer and hire professional staff for ongoing support, thus increasing the program’s scale and quality. Customers Bank is funding the Alvernia initiative as part of the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.


“Alvernia University and the Holleran Center continue to be so very appreciative of the generous support that we receive from Customers Bank,” stated Dr. Rudy Ruth, Executive Director for The Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement. “Customers Bank’s continued support affords Alvernia the opportunity to partner with the Reading School District through impactful student focused programming.”