NEW YORK, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Washington Mutual brought more
than 28,000 New York and New Jersey area teachers and their guests to Broadway
to fill theater seats from the Gershwin to the Majestic.
The teachers' visit to Broadway is the culmination of Washington Mutual's
"Spotlight on Teachers" program, which kicked off on August 20th. In an
unprecedented move, the company bought out every available seat for the
matinee performances on November 16th -- the largest single buy-out in
Broadway history! A pair of tickets was then awarded to 14,000 local New York
and New Jersey teachers who were nominated by past and present students,
family members or colleagues, as well as teachers who participated in
Washington Mutual educational programs, this summer and fall. Each teacher
was invited to bring a guest, bringing the total buyout to more than
28,000 seats to hit Broadway shows including "The Producers" and "Hairspray"
Prior to the performances, the teachers and their guests attended a
special pep rally on 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, which was closed
to vehicle traffic for this special occasion. The rally featured guest
speakers including representatives from the Mayor's office, the School
Chancellor's office and the United Federation of Teachers, as well as the New
Jersey Teacher-of-the-Year, a special performance by The Broadway Kids and a
guest appearance by Broadway legend Joel Grey who helped count down the final
minutes before the grand exit to Times Square.
"The teachers who joined us on Broadway today have made a difference in
the classroom and in the lives of the people who nominated them," said John
Benevento, Senior Vice President for Washington Mutual's New York retail bank.
"The 'Spotlight on Teachers' program is our way of thanking teachers in for
their hard work and dedication."
Benevento said that Washington Mutual decided to undertake this program
because "studies show how critical teachers are to students' success, and we
believe investing in teachers will pay great dividends for students."
WaMu in the Classroom
Washington Mutual companies have been involved in education programs since
1923, beginning with a small student program. Today, supporting K-12 public
education and teachers is a corporate priority and provides millions of
dollars in grants annually for professional development opportunities for
teachers and teacher recruitment programs, leadership training for principals,
organizational development for schools, and programs that provide information
about school performance to parents. Additionally, in partnership with the
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Washington Mutual
established the largest privately funded national scholarship program for
teachers pursuing National Board Certification -- the most prestigious
accomplishment in the teaching profession.
WaMu's Entry in New York
WaMu launched its retail banking entry into New York City, Westchester,
Long Island and New Jersey markets July 22nd with a market entry blitz that
aims to put an end to banking as usual in the Metro Area.
As part of its expansion plans, WaMu earlier announced it will add 40 new
stores in New York and New Jersey within the next year. "We intend to
significantly grow our market presence in Metro Area in the years to come,"
said Randy Grimm, Senior Vice President for Washington Mutual's New Jersey's
retail bank. "With our Occasio store format, we have the ability to expand
the number of stores in the area over a relatively short period of time." The
company's nationally renowned "Occasio" stores feature an open, welcoming
environment, khaki-clad staff members and even a concierge. The company has
already opened ten of the new stores in Manhattan.
WaMu in the NY/NJ Community
In addition to "Spotlight on Teachers," Washington Mutual has sponsored
two additional events in the Metro Area, Home of the Free(TM) -- a student
photojournalism project and "Walk on Home(TM)," a series a walk-a-thons for
affordable housing, to help the community understand who Washington Mutual is
and what it's about. Together, this series of events helps illustrate
Washington Mutual's long history of investing in the communities it serves,
with a focus on education, affordable housing and volunteerism.
Walk On Home(TM)
Affordable housing is an issue Washington Mutual strongly supports. On
Sept. 29, 2002, thousands of local residents raised money for affordable
housing by participating in the one of four Walk-A-Thons sponsored by the
company. This was the first cross-regional event of its kind in the area,
unifying community organizations from Westchester, Long Island, New York City,
and New Jersey in a regional effort to increase awareness of affordable
housing. Participating groups receive 100% of the funds raised and their use
of the funds will be unrestricted. Washington Mutual is bearing all costs
related to the walk-a-thon.
Home of the Free(TM)
Washington Mutual has partnered with the New-York Historical Society and
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly to bring a unique
photojournalism project to area 7th and 8th graders. Each school's photos are
currently on display at a local Washington Mutual financial center. In
addition, the top 60 photos are on exhibit, along with a collection of
Kennerly's works, at the Historical Society from October 29, 2002, through
January 19, 2003.
About Washington Mutual, Inc.
With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE: WM) is
a national financial services company that provides a diversified line of
products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At
Sept. 30, 2002, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of
$261.10 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,500
consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and
financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press
releases are available at http://www.wamu.com .
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SOURCE Washington Mutual, Inc.
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