Vanessa stands with Eastern Bank to receive her award

Eastern Bank Foundation Honors Vanessa Calderón-Rosado with 2023 Social Justice Award

October 19, 2023

Civic leader celebrated for decades of outstanding service in advancing the economic inclusion and mobility of Latino communities in Massachusetts

BOSTON, MA, October 19, 2023Eastern Bank Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Eastern Bank, is pleased to share that it is honoring Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Chief Executive Officer of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), with the 2023 Social Justice award. The award, now in its 35th year, celebrates an outstanding leader who, through their dedication and passion, has made significant contributions to advance social justice in our communities.

For the past two decades, Vanessa has been a leading advocate for racial and economic equity for the Latino and other diverse communities of Boston. She is widely known as an authentic, trusted, and reliable voice for the advancement of social justice.  

Born in Puerto Rico to parents who were civically engaged, Vanessa grew up actively discussing current affairs and the state of her community … and what could be changed for the better. She then dedicated her life’s work to spurring positive change.  

Working closely with community members, and nonprofit, for-profit and public leaders, Vanessa and her team have built IBA into the largest Latino-led nonprofit organization in Eastern Massachusetts, and a nationally recognized community development corporation.

Founded by Puerto Rican activists in 1968, IBA’s mission and nationally acclaimed model is to go beyond providing and preserving safe, quality and affordable housing in Boston’s South End  – with 667 units and $294MM in assets – to delivering innovative wraparound services in early childhood education, youth development, resident engagement, family financial empowerment and the celebration of art and culture.  Addressing the holistic needs of families through direct onsite services and/or referrals to community organizations, IBA has strengthened the Villa Victoria neighborhood, the broader Latino community, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   

Vanessa’s career is further defined by firsts and onlies that span affordable housing, education, community engagement and policy. She became the first Latina to be appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, is a founding board member of the Margarita Muñiz Academy, the first dual-language innovation high school in Massachusetts, and is co-founder of the Greater Boston Latino Network whose members touch the lives of over 50,000 people. Helping shape policy, Vanessa serves as a member of Massachusetts Governor Healey’s Council on Latino Empowerment, is a sought-after voice and collaborator with Boston Mayor Wu’s office, and is part of the Boston Foundation’s Latino Equity Fund Advisory Committee increasing access to capital for small business owners, homeownership, and livable wage jobs.

Commenting on Vanessa’s award and her legacy, Nancy Huntington Stager, President & CEO of Eastern Bank Foundation said, “Thanks to Vanessa and her team’s passionate advocacy, action, and holistic approach, she is creating a community of connection, growth and cultural celebration that is helping individuals and families build more financial stability, resilience, and economic justice more broadly. For more than 20 years, Vanessa has been and continues to be a force for good. We are delighted to partner with her and recognize her leadership and the positive and enduring impact she has on Boston and beyond.”

Speaking to the honor, Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, added, “Eastern is a leader in corporate philanthropy, and truly shares in the vision and dedication to bend the arc of history toward justice. I am very grateful to be recognized by Eastern Bank Foundation with this award and to have partnered with the Foundation on so many shared interests over the years. I consider my work a joy, knowing that all we really want as people, and as residents of Boston and Massachusetts, is to give our children and families the best home, neighborhood, education and set of opportunities we can.”

This year’s Social Justice Award was presented during the Eastern Bank Celebration of Social Justice attended by hundreds of community and business leaders.  

About Eastern Bank Foundation

Eastern Bank Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Eastern Bank, actively listens to and partners with our neighbors and fellow change-makers across nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors to further community vibrancy and promote structural change. We invest with community-led organizations working to build economic inclusion, mobility and social justice in four strategy areas – advancing equity in the small business ecosystem, enriching early childhood development, securing safe and affordable housing, and promoting workforce development. Knowing the roots of social and economic injustice are as stubborn as they are old, we employ a variety of levers – Philanthropy, Employee Volunteerism, Advocacy and Collaboration – to lift up and rise with our communities, especially in our region’s Gateway Cities. Learn more here Eastern Bank Foundation | Eastern Bank.

Media contact:
Jennifer McNeil
Eastern Bank Foundation

[email protected]

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