Paul Playe, Jody Marchand, and Carol Aguiar display the grant amount awarded to the Live for Liv Foundation by Eastern Bank. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Eastern Bank Awards $10K Grant to Live for Liv Foundation

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A grant that will advance the lives of women living in abusive situations has been awarded to the Live for Liv Foundation by Eastern Bank.

The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation awarded $1.7 million this year to non-profit organizations focused on the advancement of women. Live for Liv of Westford, Massachusetts, was one of 170 to receive the grant.

“There’s fierce competition,” said Paul Playe, Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of the Westford-based Eastern Bank. Playe wrote a letter in support of Live for Liv’s award.

Eastern Bank is America’s oldest and largest mutual bank, with $11 billion in assets and more than 120 locations in eastern Massachusetts, southern and coastal New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

According to the grant application, Live for Liv’s mission is to educate “society about the warning signs and impact of domestic violence in order to honor the memory of Olivia ‘Liv’ Marchand. We wish to help women and families struggling with physical, emotional and financial issues related to domestic abuse. We are committed to supporting victims as they reclaim their lives.”

In February 2010, Brian Marchand, shot and killed his daughter, Olivia, according to police, critically wounded his wife Jody Marchand with a bullet to her jaw that lodged in her shoulder, and then shot and killed himself. Olivia was a 17-year-old Westford Academy senior on her way to the University of Vermont in the fall. Live for Liv was founded a year later by Jody to keep her daughter’s memory alive.

The grant will be used to develop transition aid packages for five women who are ready to move out of a temporary shelter such as Alternative House in Lowell. The transitional packages will be valued at $2K each and will include essentials such as a pre-paid cell phone, and gift certificates to grocery and household goods stores. The foundation’s board members are also investigating ways to subsidize first month’s rent or security deposits, according to the grant application.

Live for Liv organizes an annual athletic fundraiser each July in which hundreds participate in long or short bicycle rides or a 5K road race. The organization also provides an annual scholarship to a graduating senior at Westford Academy, the town’s public high school.

Each year, Alternative House is awarded a sum of money supporting its efforts to keep abused women and their children safe. To raise awareness of domestic violence, notes the grant application, Jody Marchand speaks at events throughout the region, sharing her story to help others recognize the warning signs of domestic violence.

Eastern Bank’s Targeted Grants are designed to help women with such issues as sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, health care, pay equity and senior management and board representation.

“We believe in breaking down the barriers that stand between people and prosperity. That’s why Eastern is a strong advocate for the advancement of women,” said Bob Rivers, chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank. “With each Targeted Grant, we aim to enhance the lives of our neighbors and contribute to real progress around the advancement of women in our local communities.”