2019 Eastern Bank Celebration of Social Justice Photo Credit Marilyn Humphries

Eastern Bank Honors Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD, of Harvard Kennedy School and Founder of The Basics, A Campaign for Early Childhood Parenting, With 2019 Social Justice Award

October 29, 2019

Award Presented at 31st Annual Celebration of Social Justice Which Recognized Community Leaders Dedicated to Enriching Early Childhood Development

BOSTON, MA, October 29, 2019 – Last night, Eastern Bank honored Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD, of the Harvard Kennedy School and Founder of The Basics, with its 2019 Social Justice Award. The award recognizes community leaders who have achieved outstanding impact in addressing social justice issues. Ferguson was honored for his decades of work addressing achievement gaps that form in children by the age of two, an issue that coincides with Eastern Bank’s current commitment to enriching early childhood development in its philanthropy and advocacy as part of a broader strategy for addressing income inequality and workforce issues.

As an MIT-trained economist with more than 30 years on the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School, Ferguson's teaching, research, and writing address economic, social, and educational challenges with an emphasis on helping disadvantaged communities. His research inspired the creation of The Basics, a campaign for early childhood parenting. Initially a Boston coalition that is expanding globally, The Basics surrounds caregivers and families with simple parenting techniques and support to give children from every background a better start in life. More and more parents and caregivers at community health centers and hospital-based pediatric settings across Boston--from East Boston to Mattapan and the South End--are using the five Basics principles to close gaps in early childhood development.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Ferguson focused much of his attention on economic and community development. That work culminated in the social science synthesis volume, Urban Problems and Community Development, published by Brookings Press (1999), which remains an important text in graduate policy courses. By the late 1980s, he had begun to study education and youth development because academic skill disparities were contributing to growing wage disparity. His writings on the topic appeared in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, and various books and journals, including his book, Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap, published by Harvard Education Press. Ferguson's newest book, co-authored with journalist Tatsha Robertson and published in 2019, is entitled, The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children, and covers from birth to early adulthood.

Ron Ferguson’s research, teaching and advocacy have raised awareness about the criticality of children’s life experiences, and the disparities that begin to show up in the earliest years of life,” said Bob Rivers, Chair and CEO of Eastern Bank. “We thank Ron for his important work, and honor his contributions in helping children and families across our community achieve their best outcomes.”

“More than ever before, infant and toddler brain development is the foundation for future thriving, not just for individuals but for the whole society,” said Ron Ferguson. “The Basics aims to shift the trajectory of a child’s earliest years of life by building a community-wide culture of support for early childhood development, involving everyone from caregivers to employers. We thank Eastern Bank for recognizing and bringing greater awareness to this work, and proudly accept the Social Justice Award.”

The Social Justice Award is presented annually. Now in its 31st year, the annual celebration is attended by more than 1,000 business and nonprofit leaders to recognize their impact addressing vital needs in our communities.

Pictured at Eastern Bank’s 2019 Celebration of Social Justice are left to right:
Quincy Miller, Vice Chair and President, Eastern Bank; Wendell Knox, Immediate Past Lead Director, Eastern Bank, and a Founder, The Boston Basics; Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD, of Harvard Kennedy School, Founder of The Basics, and 2019 Social Justice Award honoree; Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation; and Bob Rivers, Chair and CEO, Eastern Bank.

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818, Boston-based Eastern Bank is America’s oldest and largest mutual bank, with over $11 billion in assets and more than 115 locations serving communities in eastern Massachusetts, southern and coastal New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Eastern provides exceptional access to fairly priced banking, investment and insurance products and services for consumers and businesses of all sizes. Eastern Bank, which includes Eastern Wealth Management and Eastern Insurance, is known for its outspoken advocacy and community support that has exceeded more than $140 million in charitable giving since 1999. An inclusive company, Eastern employs 1,900+ deeply committed professionals who value relationships with their customers, colleagues, and communities. Join us for good at and follow Eastern on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram

Media contact:
Andrea Goodman
Eastern Bank

[email protected] / 781-598-7847


Back to newsroom