Tiring of Ku Klux Klan rallies outside its downtown headquarters, a community bank is asking employees to help it wipe out bigotry.
National Penn Bank has pledged to match any employee contribution to the Boyertown Unity Coalition's "Project Lemonade." The anti-hate group hopes to use the money to create educational programs that promote tolerance.
Wayne R. Weidner, president and chief executive officer of the $1.43 billion-asset bank, said it has been associated with the Klan because recent rallies have been held on its front sidewalk. The bank is on a principal corner in downtown Boyertown, a usually quiet town 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
"It's a very ugly scene," Mr. Weidner said. "We take great pride in providing banking services for all walks of life. We don't like that the bank is being associated with" the Klan.
Mr. Weidner said he's not sure whether the Saturday afternoon rallies are keeping customers away from the bank. But he is aware that both employees and customers are very unhappy about having to pass near Klan members. "It's a very frightening experience for this community," he said.
National Penn employees can choose to send their money to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Southern Poverty Law Center, B'nai Brith Anti-Defamation League, or the Boyertown Area Unity Coalition.