Celebrations For Good

2019 Social Justice event

 

2022 Community Advocacy Awards

Our annual Community Advocacy Awards celebrate local community leaders who give mightily to address vital needs throughout the communities Eastern serves. Organizations step up in extraordinary ways to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and business community, and in 2022 we’re proud to recognize several organizations that are each making a difference in building equity and ecosystems of support for business owners in historically disadvantaged communities, including Black, Latinx, Asian, women, LGBTQ+, Veterans and people with disabilities.

2022 Community Advocacy Awards: Advancing Equity in the Small Business Ecosystem

Michelle Schapiro owner of Yang Yangs Dumplings smiles while making dumplings

Boston

CommonWealth Kitchen
Jen Faigel, Executive Director

“Transforming the local food economy by strengthening capacity, creating connections, and unleashing the collective power of diverse entrepreneurs to start and grow successful food businesses.”

CommonWealth Kitchen invests in BIPOC and women entrepreneurs who are starting and building food businesses with the goal of creating a thriving, equitable local food economy. Its comprehensive resources include access to education, training, infrastructure and industry networks. It operates Boston’s only non-profit, shared-use commercial kitchen and small-batch manufacturing operation, which houses over 50 food companies and serves over 200 food entrepreneurs annually. In 2022, it purchased its food production facility, securing a permanent home from which food entrepreneurs can access resources to succeed and thrive.

 

 

 

Members of Amplify POC stand together and smile for a photo

Cape Cod

Amplify POC Cape Cod
Tara Vargas Wallace, Founder & Executive Director

“Working towards a future where communities of color are not just sustained, but are thriving and successful and building generational wealth.”

Amplify POC works to eliminate the racial wealth gap by removing barriers created by systemic racism, and envisions an end to the racial wealth gap on Cape Cod and beyond where communities of color have economic power, increased ownership, and wealth building opportunities in innovative and dynamic ways. Its programs include helping entrepreneurs who are people of color (POC) with seed money to start a business, and educational programming and visibility to foster collaboration and support with POC-owned businesses.

Four E for All employees laugh while meeting at a table

Merrimack Valley

Entrepreneurship for All Merrimack (EforAll/EparaTodos)
Sophan Sok Smith, Executive Director

“Turning dreams into businesses.”

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) is accelerating economic and social impact in communities through inclusive entrepreneurship. EforAll’s English and Spanish language programs include a free, one-year Business Accelerator featuring intensive business training, dedicated mentorship, modest grants to the entrepreneurs, and an extended professional support network. EforAll works to support the vibrant and strong entrepreneurial spirit of all under-represented communities in the Merrimack Valley including women, BIPOC and immigrants. 

People gather on a green lawn to meet other business owners

Cambridge & Metro West

The Sustainable Business Network 
Laury Hammel, Founder & Executive Director

"Committed to building a strong economy that is local, sustainable, and equitable!"

The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) is the first association of businesses in the United States focused on making the world more sustainable and fair with business as a vehicle for social, environmental and economic change. Founded in 1988, SBN promotes inclusion and diversity, and supports BIPOC businesses with technical assistance, networking and financing connections. It brings together diverse-owned businesses for networking, education and mutual support, and recognizes businesses for their local, green and fair business practices.

A man holds out a sold label in an antique store

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Community Loan Fund
Steve Saltzman, President & CEO
Zachery Palmer, Community Business Lender

“Helping job-creating businesses pivot to a new economic reality.”

The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund helps New Hampshire residents gain access to affordable housing, secure jobs, and quality child care, and has reached 170 towns and every New Hampshire county. It has pioneered the role of a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) as a financing partner in the revitalization of economically distressed and underserved communities, and serves as a catalyst to enable traditionally underserved people to participate more fully in New Hampshire’s economy. Its work with small businesses provides loans, capital and technical assistance, and has helped to secure millions of dollars in loans to small businesses in manufacturing, technology, retail and energy.

The North Shore Latino Business Association members pose during a ribbon cutting ceremony

North Shore

North Shore Latino Business Association
Frances Martinez, President, Founder & CEO

“Helping Boston's North Shore Latino business owners and entrepreneurs grow.”

The North Shore Latino Business Association-Center (NSLBA) is the largest small business association in Boston’s North Shore helping Latino business owners and entrepreneurs grow. The NSLBA collaborates with entrepreneurs, empowers socially and economically diverse businesses and business owners, provides a range of support including one-on-one discussions of business challenges, seminars, financial, accounting resources, technical assistance, workshops, networking, promotes community leadership, civic engagements, investments, and more.

Members of the Brockton Redevelopment Authority gather for a picture at their office

South Shore

Brockton Redevelopment Authority
Robert Jenkins, Executive Director

“Ensuring equitable opportunity to city, state and federal programs and funds for small business recovery and growth.

Brockton Redevelopment Authority (BRA) is a quasi-public agency contracted by the City of Brockton, whose main mission is community development and economic revitalization, specifically for the benefit of low and moderate income households and areas of Brockton. Programs include the City of Brockton “Business Assistance Program,” which provides guidance to resources and funding opportunities for small businesses to survive and grow, as well as a small business assistance fund program to businesses located in Brockton, established with the Office of Brockton Mayor Robert F. Sullivan and MassHire Greater Brockton WorkForce Board.

 

 

A panel of entrepreneurs speak in front of a small audience of people

Ecosystems of support for business owners in historically disadvantaged communities

Innovation Studio
Daniel Vidaña, President

“Democratizing innovation by cultivating relationships and providing resources for anyone to successfully launch and grow a business.”

Since 2010, Innovation Studio has been helping entrepreneurs and innovators to start and grow their businesses. Innovation Studio is an economic development focused 501(c) (3) non-profit, envisioning a world where anyone can be an innovator. It has run 5,000+ program sessions, held more than 2,800 office hour sessions, welcomed 250,000+ public lounge users and 265,000+ program attendees, and actively supported 70% BIPOC business founders and 60% women business founders.

 

 

Small business owners sit at tables and listen to speakers

Ecosystems of support for business owners in historically disadvantaged communities

Boston Ujima Project
Nia K. Evans, Executive Director

“People work together to take care of each other, and communities have the final say over the development that impacts their streets and families.”

The Boston Ujima Project fills in the gaps in financing for small businesses by bringing together finance and organizing disciplines with many solutions including cooperatives, community funds, buy local campaigns, alternative currencies, and anchor institution strategies that demonstrate better ways communities can relate to, and do business with, each other. The extensive history of Boston’s Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities includes institution building in the face of racism. Honoring, reflecting, and building upon this history, Boston Ujima Project created and designed the Ujima Fund. With its ecosystem approach and democratic investment strategy—where every Voting Member has an equal vote on the business, real estate, and infrastructural projects receiving investment and support — Ujima challenges traditional notions of economy, power, and what it means to do good business.

 

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