Major donation gives elementary school needed technology

Chance meeting was worth $20,000.

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Bill Binnie and Mayor Ted Gatsas with students from Smyth Road School. Photo/Andrea Alley

MANCHESTER, NH — New Hampshire businessman Bill Binnie delivered 60 Chromebooks, a laptop, and smart TV to Smyth Road Elementary School this morning, fulfilling a promise to pay for technology upgrades there. Binnie, president of investment company Carlisle Capital and perhaps better known as owner of several television and radio broadcast stations in the state, recently became acquainted by chance with the school’s assistant principal. She talked to Binnie about how a business could support the needs of Smyth Road.

Chromebooks donated by Bill Binnie after a chance meeting with a school principal.

“All of the schools in Manchester welcome partnerships with members of the business community,” said Rachelle Otero, assistant principal. “I mentioned Smyth Road’s wish list of technology items, and Mr. Binnie promised right then to donate $20,000.”

While donations of similar value have been made to the school district or multiple schools at a time in the past, it’s very rare for one benefactor to make such a large contribution to one school.

“We are grateful for Mr. Binnie’s extremely generous support of education in Manchester,” said superintendent Bolgen Vargas. “This kind of gift will make a significant impact on students and teachers.”

Binnie visited Smyth Road not long after that conversation with Otero, to speak with fifth grade students about the importance of doing homework, college and career aspirations, perseverance, and his own experience setting goals and working toward them.

“I was a poor kid with little expectation of going to college,” Binnie said. “Luckily I did make it to college and it changed my life.”

Binnie ordered 60 Chromebooks, two carts to store them, a MacBook Pro to replace the school librarian’s outdated laptop, and a smart HD television monitor that will be mounted in the library. He personally delivered the items to Smyth Road, where the library has been dedicated as the “Bill Binnie Media Center” to acknowledge his contribution.

“Learning in the 21st century means that educators use technology to enhance everything they do,” said Smyth Road principal Jennifer Briggs. “We are very lucky that our school can continue those efforts thanks to such an overwhelmingly kind gift.”