Investing in Systems Change

Our communities, particularly our Gateway Cities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, are facing enormous challenges: the racial wealth gap is widening, economic opportunity is declining, and economic mobility—which has historically been fleeting for communities of color—is stalled. Housing and workforce opportunities are limited, especially for people of color, women, LGBTQ+, Veterans and people with disabilities. Investing in systemic change that drives economic inclusion and economic mobility is good for EVERYONE.

Recognizing the scarcity of resources available and the tremendous work ahead for organizations focused on the critical drivers of Economic Inclusion and Mobility, we have committed a significant portion of our giving to sustain and advance their efforts to develop solutions that will better guarantee economic success for historically marginalized communities. We join a growing number of community partners working toward a vision where society stops perpetuating centuries-old social and economic hierarchies and works toward a vision of a thriving regional economy and community where these hierarchies are dismantled and systems of oppression based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, parental income, ZIP code or other elements of difference and resulting disparities are eliminated so that these distinctions are no longer predictors of economic outcomes for our neighbors.

 

Eastern Bank Foundation graphic: Our Strategy and Focus

We have selected mutually reinforcing strategy areas where the combination of our philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy can have the greatest impact: 

  • Advancing equity in the small business ecosystem

  • Enriching early childhood development (0-5)

  • Securing safe and affordable housing

  • Promoting workforce development

  • Innovating to drive economic inclusion and mobility

 

Advancing Equity in the Small Business Ecosystem
Foundation for Business Equity

Entrepreneurs and business owners serve as the building blocks for the local economy. Finding ways to support their growth through capacity building, access to capital, and connections for contracts provides opportunity for real economic participation, enabling new wealth and job creation, and a direct correlation to improved community health. We seek to fund organizations that build ecosystems of support for business owners in historically marginalized communities, which we define as including Black, Latinx, Asian, women, LGBTQ+, Veterans and people with disabilities.

Learn about our support in the community:

Foundation for Business Equity (FBE)

FBE focuses on accelerating the growth of Black and Latinx businesses. Today, FBE’s award-winning approach provides participating business owners with support in scaling their businesses, growing revenue, driving job growth and generating wealth. We are proud to have provided the initial funding and energy behind starting FBE and are delighted to watch this independent nonprofit flourish, while encouraging other funders to join in as we continue our support.

Massachusetts LGBT Business Network

The Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce has been a partner for several years. In 2020, we collaborated to create the LGBT Business Network, advancing capacity building, access to capital and networking for LGBT-owned businesses.

Center for Women & Enterprise

As an economic empowerment organization, the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) is committed to taking action against systems of oppression and dismantling systemic racism wherever they find it. This means supporting women from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds to launch, lead, and grow their businesses, thereby creating more jobs, stronger communities, and stimulating economic growth.

If your nonprofit organization is advancing equity in the small business ecosystem, we may be able to help.

How to Apply

Click here to return to the Eastern Bank Foundation homepage