Marylou Sudders honored with 2016 Social Justice Award

February 13, 2017

MA Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders honored with the 2016 Wainwright Social Justice Award

Eastern Bank also recognized 141 organizations dedicated to addressing the opioid epidemic and other contemporary issues affecting families with $1.4 million in grants

BOSTON, Oct. 25, 2016 – Eastern Bank last night honored Marylou Sudders, Massachusetts Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), with the 28th annual Wainwright Social Justice Award for her lifelong commitment to protecting and strengthening families.

More than 1,000 people attended the evening reception in downtown Boston, where the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation celebrated $1.4 million in grants made to 141 Massachusetts and New Hampshire organizations that work to strengthen families. The organizations were recognized for innovative and courageous programs that address today’s most pressing issues: from the deadly opioid epidemic to working with undocumented families.

“Eastern Bank is proud to honor Marylou Sudders on a remarkably diverse career where she has championed the rights and well-being of thousands of children and families in the communities that we serve,” said Richard E. Holbrook, Eastern’s Chairman and CEO. “We salute and support courageous advocates like Marylou and the organizations represented here tonight.”

“We must strengthen families – children do not exist in a vacuum – they exist in the context of family. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, children need to know that there is an adult who loves and protects them,” said Secretary Sudders, who spoke of the need for more foster parents in this Commonwealth. “Many children just need that one adult who believes in them – who helps them find the way – to make positive decisions – and does not abandon them. My deepest appreciation to Eastern Bank for this award, and for your vision and commitment to the needs of individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth.”

Secretary Sudders, who was appointed last year by Gov. Charlie Baker to be Secretary of the EOHHS, is a trained social worker who spent seven years working as the Massachusetts Commissioner of Mental Health. In that capacity, Secretary Sudders championed significant legislative reforms including insurance parity, fundamental patient rights and the first children’s mental health commission.

For nearly ten years, Secretary Sudders headed the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, promoting the rights and well-being of 24,000 children and families. Just prior to her appointment as Secretary, Sudders was an associate professor and Chair of Health and Mental Health at Boston College’s Graduate School of Social Work.

In addition to honoring Secretary Sudders, Eastern celebrated $1.4 million in grants that it made to organizations that work to strengthen families through programs that address: chronic disease, counseling, grandparents raising children, military families, opioid addiction, physically and intellectually challenged family members, single parents and undocumented families.

The Social Justice Award annually recognizes nonprofits or individuals who have achieved outstanding success in addressing social justice issues. As part of the Social Justice Award, Secretary Sudders directed a $25,000 donation from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation to be split between DCF Kids Fund and the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health.

In 2016, Eastern Bank and the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation will donate nearly $7 million to more than 1,200 nonprofits in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Past recipients of the Social Justice Award include: John E. Rosenthal, co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence, Jeffrey C. Riley, Superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and Suzanne Kenney of Project Place.

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the oldest and largest mutual bank in the United States, with $10 billion in assets and nearly 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 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.

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