Institution for Savings donates $25k toward playground project

Courtesy photoMelissa Guisto, Beth Yando, NES principal, Michelle Walsh, Krista Yablin, Eileen Wallwork and Kimberly Rock, as well as Newbury Elementary School students Morgan Hall and Patrick Walsh, stand with a mock check showing the donation by the Institution for Savings.

NEWBURY – At a Newbury Elementary School assembly on Jan. 15, Kimberly Rock, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Institution for Savings presented principal Beth Yando with a check for $25,000 in support of a new playground and schoolyard for students and the Newbury community.

This gift generated considerable excitement among teachers and students at NES and brings the school significantly closer to the $150,000 fundraising goal. “This is a huge step towards us realizing our vision for the schoolyard,” Yando said.

The NES playground is 18 years old, is not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act, and shows significant signs of wear and tear.

NES GROWS, under the auspices of the NES PTA, is driving the initiative to make this vision a reality. The grassroots campaign seeks no government funding, but is instead relying on financial support from businesses, foundations, parents, alumni and the community at large. To save on costs, a community build model will be utilized.

The students are very excited about the new playground and have become actively involved in raising money. One student asked friends to donate to the playground in lieu of birthday gifts, while children on Plum Island sold coffee and donated the proceeds to the playground fund. Another 15 students collected donations in downtown Newburyport this past fall. Dedicated NES volunteers have been promoting the initiative broadly and encourage area residents to get involved. Once completed, the vibrant new schoolyard and playground will be open to the public when school is not in session. A new exercise trail, enhanced walking trail, and game area have been designed to make the space appealing to a wide variety of users.

To date, NES GROWS has raised $66,000. The group is actively seeking additional financial or material donations of any size from local businesses and residents of Newbury and the surrounding area. Local families, companies and organizations can also contribute and demonstrate their support by purchasing a picket or paver or supporting the GoFundMe Campaign ( to for more information.

“The Institution for Savings is thrilled to collaborate with Newbury Elementary School to bring this project closer to reality,” Rock said. “The NES GROWS and school community have worked tirelessly to raise funds for this playground which, when completed, will provide a wonderful and much needed new recreational area for Newbury students and families. We are glad that we could help in this way.”

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