The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation (EBCF) is a leader in corporate philanthropy and serves as the charitable arm of Eastern Bank. Since its establishment, Eastern Bank and the EBCF have contributed to the health and vitality of the communities we serve. This is evidenced through our extraordinary commitment to provide financial support to organizations throughout our footprint. We do this by funding over 1,600 local organizations each year that provide services to the communities we serve.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, Eastern will provide donations, volunteerism, and advocacy on key issues to support organizations working to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity for a bright future. Persistent gaps in the quality of and access to early childhood development programs, as well as in parent engagement, are known to cause disparities in opportunities to succeed throughout life. Without engaging, safe, and stable environments during the first three years of life, children are likely to enter school already behind. Students who cannot read at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school before high school graduation. And lacking a high school diploma significantly impacts future employment and earnings opportunities.
Over the past many years, we have focused a portion of our giving with organizations addressing social issues such as advancing women, immigration, strengthening families, and gun violence prevention. By focusing on enriching early childhood development, this year, we aim to help ensure children and their families have more equitable access to the resources needed early in life for healthy development, while funding a sector that receives a staggeringly small proportion of all philanthropy.