|Pictured from left to right: Eastern Bank Chair and CEO, Bob Rivers; Foundation for Business Equity Executive Director, Glynn Lloyd; Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation President and CEO, Nancy Huntington Stager|
Foundation for Business Equity (FBE)
FOSTERING GREATER ECONOMIC MOBILITY THROUGH THE GROWTH OF BLACK AND LATINX-OWNED BUSINESSES
We recognize the racial, gender and other disparities that lead to and perpetuate income and wealth gaps are challenges being faced by our local communities at alarming rates. The wealth gap is widening, economic mobility is slowing, and opportunities are being stifled especially among under-represented and under-served communities.
Going forward, we seek to address this daunting reality by placing greater focus on driving efforts to improve economic mobility and inclusion by committing millions more in our philanthropy through larger grants in addition to our volunteerism and advocacy. We believe by committing millions more through larger grants, we can do good at another level entirely.
This is why in 2017, we established the independent non-profit organization, the Foundation for Business Equity (FBE), with an initial $10 million commitment to address the real and widening income and wealth gaps affecting Black and Latinx communities. FBE is a Boston-based nonprofit working to close the wealth gap by addressing the persistent structural barriers that prevent Black and Latinx businesses from reaching their full growth potential. FBE helps enterprises of color scale through a multi-faceted approach.
Central to FBE’s approach is the Business Equity Initiative (BEI), which introduces Strategic Advisors, executives with decades of business management experience, to business owners to help create strategic growth plans and provide sound advice to growing their businesses. In addition to offering strategic advice, FBE focuses on the broader ecosystem that prevents businesses from growing by offering access to additional resources in the specific areas of growth capital and new contracts. In partnership with the Boston Foundation, FBE launched the Business Equity Fund to make growth capital available to qualified businesses. FBE also works closely with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pacesetters Initiative to encourage these large employers and Chamber members to spend a higher percentage of their procurement dollars with Black and Latinx enterprises.
The experience for the Participating Enterprises has been transformative. More than 40 businesses have participated so far, and the early results are highly encouraging—millions in new business revenue, significant workforce growth, and millions in growth capital invested in these local businesses.
While there is still much work to be done, these are promising results. We are especially proud to see more funders, including banks and other companies, stepping up with significant donations to further these efforts.
Learn more about the Foundation for Business Equity at fbequity.org.