Pathfinder Bank Named Historic Main Floor Sponsor At Library

Submitted Article

OSWEGO, NY – Pathfinder Bank recently contributed an additional $50,000 to the Oswego Public Library Capital Campaign, for its renovation and expansion project, according to Mary Shanley, president of the library board of trustees.

The donation adds to previous bank support, and brings Pathfinder’s total contribution to the campaign to $100,000.

Construction and renovation of the Oswego Public Library, located at 120 E. Second St., is almost complete.

Pathfinder Bank Representatives gather recently to tour the renovated Oswego Public Library. The bank has been named the sponsor of the library’s historic main floor for its gift of $100,000 to the project. From left are: Pathfinder Bank board member Steve Thomas; Library trustee Mercedes Niess; Pathfinder Bank vice president Rhonda Hutchins; Ralph Spencer; library board of trustees president Mary Shanley; Pathfinder Bank senior vice president Melissa Miller; Pathfinder Bank board chair Janette Resnick; Pathfinder Bank senior vice president Edward Mervine; Pathfinder Bank president and CEO Thomas Schneider; and library trustee Larry Mayo.The newly renovated building will add more than 14,000 square feet of space to the library.

According to Thomas W. Schneider, president and CEO at Pathfinder Bank, the partnership with the library is important for maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in the Greater-Oswego community.

“We feel the library is important to the economic vitality of the area, as well as its cultural and historical significance,” said Schneider. “We feel a state-of-the-art, vibrant library in the heart of downtown Oswego is very important to the ongoing growth and education of the community, as well as the opportunities it provides our children in this region.”

The library partnership is one of many community initiatives that Pathfinder Bank is involved with, according to Schneider.

“We take great pride in our longevity as a local, community bank, and believe strongly in what that truly means with regard to advocacy and support,” he noted.

Pathfinder Bank, which is headquartered in Oswego, and maintains seven branch offices, will celebrate 150 years in 2009.

“We’re truly blessed to have a community bank like Pathfinder as a partner to this project,” said Shanley. “The contributions provided by Pathfinder Bank, and other businesses throughout the region have truly made this project come together.”

The library renovation is a $9.6 million project.

A significant part of that funding has been provided through the library’s “Together With Pride” Capital Campaign, which recently surpassed $1 million.

The balance has been generated through public and grant monies.

“These types of initiatives only happen because of the support it receives from the community,” Schneider said. “Individuals, families and businesses from throughout the area have helped support this project both monetarily and as volunteers for various fundraising events.”

He hailed the restoration of the Oswego Public Library as a milestone, and indicated that Pathfinder Bank will continue to support the library’s efforts on an annual basis.

“I think there are a number of ways that we’ll continue to look to support the library, both in terms of programming, functions and/or monetarily,” he said.

Pathfinder Bank’s support has already come in various forms.

The bank was a major sponsor of the Inaugural Erik Cole Score for Oswego Golf Tournament two years ago, when proceeds directly benefited the library.

NHL Edmonton Oilers player Cole is an Oswego native, and strong supporter of the Oswego Public Library.

Pathfinder Bank also collaborates with SUNY Oswego and the Oswego Public Library to provide a program entitled “Money Smart.”

The seven-week adult education program helps community members hone their money management skills.

In fall 2009, the bi-annual seminars will begin taking place at the library’s new Erik and Emily Cole Community Room.

“The partnership with Pathfinder Bank has been significant to the success of the Money Smart program,” said Mercedes Niess, library trustee. “Their strong vision for this program and the experienced professionals and employees they’ve provided as speakers have benefited our participants and curriculum greatly.”

Jeff Wallace, a representative of Step One Creative, the marketing communications firm handling the Oswego Public Library capital campaign and public relations efforts, said Pathfinder Bank’s role in support of the library extends even further.

“When the library and our firm needed to establish a capital campaign office for this project, Pathfinder Bank stepped up without hesitation,” Wallace noted. “They provided office space at their Eastside branch location, and have helped tremendously with their generosity. They truly see the library as a significant institution in the community.”

Wallace said the support translates into advocating for the educational well being of the community, as well as its economic development potential.

The bank and library also share storied histories in the city of Oswego.

Pathfinder Bank’s upcoming sesquicentennial nearly parallels that of the library, which was founded 151 years ago – in 1857.

Both institutions have helped provide the foundation and roots of the Oswego community.

Thomas Kingsford started Oswego City Savings Bank in 1859, as a small, retail-banking organization.

Over its tenure, the bank has grown considerably its services, offerings and branch office locations; and in 1999, Oswego City Savings Bank changed its name to Pathfinder Bank, in order to shed its regional and retail image.

In 2002, Pathfinder also began servicing municipalities throughout Oswego County.

The Oswego Public Library’s history began with Gerrit Smith (1797-1874), a leading U.S. social reformer, abolitionist, politician, and philanthropist.

Smith devoted his life working toward social progress.

Oswego was the center of Smith’s most valuable land holdings.

In 1855, he made a grant of $25,000 to the city for the building of a library.

His requirements for the gift were that it be constructed on the east side of the river, where his major holdings were, and that it be open to all persons, regardless of race, color or sex.

The library is home to a unique portrait of Smith, which the library board of trustees recently had restored for the new facility.

The exterior of the building also bears a marker reading: “Founded by Gerrit Smith, 1855.”

In addition to his profitable land holdings, Smith used his operations at Oswego to help fugitives from slavery reach Canada.

Because Oswego is a river port on Lake Ontario, it was frequently a point of embarkation for persons leaving for Canada.

Pathfinder Bank is a New York State chartered savings bank headquartered in Oswego, whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The bank has seven full-service offices located in Oswego, Fulton, Mexico, Lacona and Central Square.

For more information about the Oswego Public Library, call (315) 341-5867 or visit

Contributions can be made to the library’s “Together With Pride” campaign by calling the campaign office at (315) 216-6176.