John Rosenthal honored with 2015 Social Justice Award

February 13, 2017

Eastern Bank honors Stop Handgun Violence founder John E. Rosenthal with the 2015 Wainwright Social Justice Award

Eastern also recognizes 162 organizations dedicated to violence prevention with $1.4 million in grants

BOSTON, October 16, 2015 – Eastern Bank last night honored John E. Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence, with the 27th annual Wainwright Social Justice Award for his unwavering commitment to violence prevention.

More than 800 people attended the evening reception in downtown Boston, where the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation awarded $1.4 million in grants to 162 Massachusetts and New Hampshire organizations working in the area of violence prevention.

“Eastern Bank is proud to honor John for his courageous advocacy that has resulted in laws that make it more difficult for children, criminals and the mentally ill to gain access to firearms,” said Richard E. Holbrook, Chairman and CEO, Eastern Bank. “John and his colleagues at Stop Handgun Violence have helped Massachusetts become the national leader in gun violence prevention. We sincerely thank John for making Massachusetts a safer place to live and work.

“We are equally honored to recognize nearly 200 organizations that are working hard to prevent violence through a variety of programs that address anti-bullying, domestic violence, hate crimes, suicide prevention and more.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Marty Walsh, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, and singers Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt all paid tribute to Rosenthal in a video played before the crowd and introduced in-person by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.  Twenty-four students from the Boston’s Children’s Chorus performed, representing the fact that every three days a classroom of children is lost to gun violence. When guests arrived, they were met by representatives from the Boston Police Department, who displayed a variety of firearms it had confiscated in Boston.

“I’m very proud and humbled to receive this year’s Wainwright Social Justice Award,” said Rosenthal. “If every business prioritized and celebrated social justice like Eastern Bank, we would all be living in a far more fair and just world.”

Rosenthal, President of Meredith Management, is a successful real estate developer and manager who has been nationally recognized for his efforts in balancing corporate and individual responsibility. In 1995, he co-founded with the late Michael Kennedy, Stop Handgun Violence, the lead advocate for Massachusetts' effective gun violence prevention laws and initiatives. Its work has been symbolized by the large 252-feet long and 20-feet high iconic billboard that Rosenthal built on the side of a parking garage along the Massachusetts Turnpike near Boston's Fenway Park.

The Social Justice Award recognizes nonprofits or individuals who have achieved outstanding success in addressing social justice issues. As part of the Social Justice Award, Rosenthal directed a $25,000 donation from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation to be split between Stop Handgun Violence and the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative that he recently co-founded with Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello.

In 2015, Eastern Bank and the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation will donate more than $6 million to about 1,800 nonprofits in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Past recipients of the Social Justice Award include Jeffrey C. Riley, Superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Suzanne Kenney of Project Place and Eva Millona of The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). 

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the largest and oldest mutual bank in the country, with $9.9 billion in assets and more than 100 branches serving communities in eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire. Eastern Bank offers banking, investments and insurance all under one roof, and prides itself on working harder to understand its customers’ needs so it can deliver these services in a committed and personal way. Eastern Bank, which includes Eastern Bank Wealth Management and Eastern Insurance, is a recognized leader in corporate social responsibility and for its advocacy on behalf of a number of social justice causes.

For more information, contact: Andrew Ravens, Public Relations, Eastern Bank, 781-598-8528, or e-mail Andrew Ravens

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