World Day of Social Justice

By Ranelle Porter,

From the Abolitionist Movement to Black Lives Matter, some of the most powerful social justice movements have been led by Black Americans.

In honor of World Day of Social Justice and Black History Month, we’re celebrating some of the movements that changed our country and encourage everyone to continue fighting for good.

1619 Project

By Ranelle Porter,

Though slavery was abolished over 150 years ago, we cannot ignore the role it played in creating our nation. The New York Times‘ 1619 Project is dedicated to reframing America’s history with slavery at the center of it. It’s a reminder that we cannot forget our past and must continue to work towards a truly equal future.

For more on the 1619 Project, check out the 1619 podcast, which was named the #1 best podcast of 2019 by TIME.

You can also learn more here.

How You Can Help on National Wear Red Day

By Ranelle Porter,

By Nicholas Conley | February 7, 2020 | 3 Minute Read

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Someone suffers a heart attack about every forty seconds, according to the CDC, and about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. Cardiovascular ailments impact everyone, but differences in genetics, socioeconomic status, and gender play key roles in survival rates. For instance, as cardiologist Dr. Paula Johnson often notes, the “textbook” heart attack symptoms only apply to men, while women often display different symptoms.

Knowledge is power. That’s why February is designated as American Heart Month and why February 7th marks National Wear Red Day 2020, an event for which millions of people across the country go red to raise awareness about heart disease, speak up about the risks—particularly for women—and, hopefully, save lives.

A Red History

According to the American College of Cardiology, February was officially designated as American Heart Month back in 1963 through a presidential proclamation from Lyndon B. Johnson. The following year saw the landmark release of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, finally solidifying the link between cigarettes, heart disease, and lung cancer. Over the decades, numerous public and private health organizations have used the month of February to bring awareness to the cardiovascular risks posed by smoking and to help lower the national rates of death. In fact, the medical research journal Circulation Research published a study in 2017 crediting the decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke as “the success story of the century’s last four decades.”

That said, heart disease remains America’s biggest killer. In the United States, one in four deaths continues to be caused by heart disease. The CDC estimates that 805,000 Americans have heart attacks every year.

Women, though, suffer an even greater risk than men. The figures are shocking: one in three American women die from heart disease, according to the American Heart Association, and though men experience heart attacks at younger ages than women, women are less likely to survive, a disparity sometimes called the “heart attack gender gap.”

These harsh realities fueled the creation of “The Heart Truth” in 2002. It’s a federally-sponsored campaign that sought to increase awareness about the risks posed to women by heart disease as well as the movement’s symbol, the Red Dress, which is now recognized across the country. By putting an image to a cause, the Red Dress paved the way for National Wear Red Day, an annual event where people wear red to show their support for women with heart disease and to raise awareness about its dangers. Through fundraisers, events, rallies, and media campaigns, the Red Dress has helped people across the country to better know the risks, to inform others, and to take action in their own lives.

How You Can Get Involved on National Wear Red Day

The first thing you can do to honor this event is, of course, to wear red.

Eastern Give For Good makes it easy to support the American Heart Association by allowing you to donate right from your Eastern Mobile Banking app.

There are also plenty of other ways to join in, even after February ends. For instance, supporters who work in the medical field can attend Harvard Medical School’s weekend course titled Cardiovascular Disease and Global Health Equity, while those located further north can head to Portland, Maine on March 19th for the 2020 Portland Go Red Luncheon. Finally, on May 9th, join the 2020 Central MA Heart & Stroke Walk at Quinsigamond State Park in Worcester, where you can donate and walk to show your support for heart disease research, heart disease cures, and heart disease victims across New England, the United States, and the world.

Join us in wearing red to help build awareness for Women’s Heart Health.

Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment

By Ranelle Porter,

150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment

By Satta Sarmah Hightower | February 3, 2020 | 3 Minute Read

Every two to four years on a Tuesday in November, you can use a ballot box to cast a vote for the candidate of your choosing.

This simple act is something we often take for granted, but 150 years ago, many Americans didn’t have this privilege. It wasn’t until 1870, when the 15th Amendment became a part of the Constitution, that black men were granted the right to vote.

The amendment laid the groundwork for equal voting rights for all men and women in our country. However, the right to vote is something we still must fight to protect, even half a century later.

What the 15th Amendment Is and Its Importance for Voting Rights

Congress passed the 15th Amendment in February 1869 and the law was ratified the following year, on February 3, 1870. It states that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

The law was critical during the post-Civil War era after the end of slavery. Before this period, African Americans struggled to attain full rights. The 14th Amendment, which was enacted in 1868, granted African Americans citizenship, but it wasn’t until two years later that black men were able to vote. Even after the 15th Amendment was adopted, many states created barriers that prevented them from exercising their right to vote. These barriers included literacy tests, poll taxes, and violent threats to prevent black men from going to the polls. These obstacles contributed to low voter registration among African Americans. During this period, only 23% of voting-age African-Americans were registered.

It’s also important to note that although the 15th Amendment prohibited voting discrimination on the basis of race, the law did not give women the right to vote. It wasn’t until Congress ratified the 19th Amendment in 1920 that all women could vote, and it wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that literacy tests and other anti-voting efforts were outlawed and African Americans were granted full voting rights. Thanks to these efforts, the number of voting-age African Americans who were registered increased from 23% to 61% by 1969.

The Evolution of Voting Rights in America

Voting is important because it exemplifies what it means to be a citizen and have full rights in your own country. This right means that everyone in our nation—regardless of race, sex, or sexual orientation—can fully participate in our democracy. Your vote is essentially your voice.

Voting has paved the way for more diverse representation in America’s elected offices, with more women and people of color serving in public office. However, 150 years after the adoption of the 15th Amendment, voting rights have never been more critical. It’s why the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) has made African Americans and the Vote its 2020 Black History theme.

Today, some states have made it easier to register to vote and participate in elections, while others either have imposed or sought to enact new laws that making voting more onerous, including voter ID laws, reducing the number of polling locations, and purging eligible voters from voter registration lists.

The right to vote should be sacrosanct. This belief is at the heart of the 15th Amendment and crucial when it comes to preserving America’s democracy. Without the 15th Amendment, millions of Americans wouldn’t be able to vote or participate in our democracy, and we would likely not have leaders from nearly every walk of life serving in Congress today.

The 15th Amendment undoubtedly has helped America’s democracy endure and come closer to achieving the ultimate goal of our founders: liberty and justice for all.

Join us for good in registering to vote and exercising your right to create change and make your voice heard.

Social Justice in 2019: A Year in Review

By Ranelle Porter,

By Michael Givens | December 31, 2019 | 4 Minute Read

From Massachusetts becoming the 16th state to ban a harmful mental health practice to the progress that was made on a bill that can help immigrants stay in the United States, social justice in 2019 has seen many impressive strides forward. As we get ready for the first chapter of 2020, the Join Us For Good campaign and Eastern Bank want to acknowledge the progress we’ve made.

An End to Conversion Therapy in the Bay State

On April 8, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed HR 140 (An Act Relative to Abuse Practices to Change Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Minors) into law. The controversial practice of conversion therapy has long been used by a small number of mental health providers to attempt to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ youth through harmful practices that target physical and mental health.

Over the last several years, the practice has become condemned by a number of professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others. Numerous studies have shown that attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ youth can cause depression and increased thoughts of suicide and lead to more instances of illicit drug use. Massachusetts joined California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington in legally condemning the practice. Just a month later, governors for both Colorado and Maine signed similar bills into law, with Maine becoming the last New England state to ban conversion therapy.

Providing a Clear Pathway to Homeownership

In 2019, Eastern Bank continued its commitment to social justice by working to provide Boston’s low-income families and families of color with the opportunity to own their own homes.

The Eastern Bank Community Development Lending (CDL) program has an impressive track record in this area, investing millions of dollars into affordable housing projects and community revitalization initiatives. Earlier this year, Eastern Bank Senior Vice President Yongmei Chen was honored for her work to ensure that Asian American families have greater access to housing opportunities in Boston.

“Gentrification is a major issue, not just in the Asian American community but in a lot of minority communities in [Boston],” she said at the awards ceremony. “In Chinatown, particularly, with all of the development that’s going on, the pressure of affordability, of people staying in the city and working in the city is getting tougher and tougher.”

Neighborhoods in Boston like Roxbury and Chinatown saw dozens of new homes built specifically for working families. Eastern Bank didn’t stop at affordable housing—it also invested heavily in its Business Equity Initiative (BEI), which provides capital to small business owners. It’s a great way to encourage entrepreneurship within communities of color.

Climate Strike

Climate change was one of the dominant conversations for social justice in 2019 and it’s an issue that affects every single one of us. On September 20, youth around the world participated in climate strikes to call attention to their deep concern about climate change and its impacts. From Belgium to South Africa, Afghanistan to Japan, thousands of young people took to the streets to discuss issues like greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide levels, oil and gas exploration, rising seas, soil erosion, and the ever-fading ozone layer. In the United States, cities like Denver, San Francisco, New York, and Boston saw thousands of youth congregate in public spaces with colorful signs to demand a healthy future for our planet. The mobilization of so many young people across the world is powerful evidence that 2020 and beyond will see lots of social justice activism.

Dream and Promise Act

No year in review would be complete without discussing advancements in immigrant rights. The Dream and Promise Act passed the House of Representatives this summer. If approved by the Senate and signed into law, it will provide a clear path to citizenship for thousands of immigrants living across the nation. Specifically, this act will support immigrants who came into the United States as minors and provides them with conditional permanent status for up to 10 years. It was a major development in social justice in 2019.

As 2020 begins, the passage of bills like the Dream and Promise Act will ensure that our nation will continue to welcome immigrants who are seeking a better life.

Join the movement of doing good things to help people and communities prosper.

4 Ways You Can Help Others During This Giving Season

By Ranelle Porter,

By Nicholas Conley | December 18, 2019 | 3 Minute Read

One of the most beautiful and heart-fulfilling times of year has arrived — the giving season. As snow starts to sprinkle down on the streets of Boston, families are reunited, and gifts are exchanged. It’s the perfect opportunity to appreciate the comforts you have and consider giving to those in need.

All too often, Boston’s underserved communities struggle through the holiday season. However, by volunteering just a few hours of your time, giving blood, or donating to a charity of your choice, you can gift others with the joy of a happy holiday.

Here are four easy ways to get involved.

Help Serve a Good Meal

During the holidays, volunteers provide a crucial lifeline to many families. As schedules get cluttered and regular volunteers aren’t as readily available to fill open shifts, marginalized communities often face escalating emotional, physical, and mental needs.

Now’s the time if you’ve been on the fence about volunteering. One of the biggest problems faced by lower-income families in the Boston area, especially during the holiday season, is hunger: to help, you can volunteer at Pine Street Inn, the largest homeless services provider in New England, which opened in 1969 marking this year its 50th anniversary of serving the community. Similar opportunities to feed the hungry can be found at Rosie’s Place, the first women’s shelter in the United States, Haley House in Roxbury, and Women’s Lunch Place located in the Back Bay.

Bring a Happy Holiday to Boston’s Homeless Children

If you want to bring some holiday cheer to children in need, one particularly seasonal opportunity is the annual Christmas in the City event held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on December 22. This one-day holiday party seeks to bring a happy holiday to the homeless children of the greater Boston area with rides, games, gifts, and even a visit from Santa Claus. For many of these children, this event will be the only holiday they have. Christmas in the City is a 100% volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization that relies on help from people like you, so all volunteers are appreciated.

The Gift of Life

One small but crucial way you can help others is through the gift of a blood donation. According to the American Red Cross, a person in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, and one single donation can save up to three lives.

However, if there’s one time of the year where blood donations are most needed, it’s during the holidays. Between winter weather and seasonal illnesses, blood donations always drop off during these months, leaving desperate patients with less access to what is, quite literally, their lifeline. By donating blood today, you are potentially ensuring that three hospitalized people will get to celebrate the holidays with their families.

Donate to A Good Cause

December is a busy time. For many people, the best way to help their community during this hectic month is by giving to a charity of their choice.

That’s why we created Eastern Give For Good, a one-stop-shop for all your donation needs. Whether you want to donate to a local homeless shelter, give to a national organization, or simply search for new charities that align with your values, Eastern Give For Good provides you with the tools you need to make donations fast, easy, and minimally stressful. Donating takes very little of your time but makes a big impact on the individuals and families that you assist. After all, the giving season is here and there’s no better time to help your neighbors.

Join Eastern Give For Good and celebrate the holiday season by donating to any cause or charity you love.

Revolutionizing Charitable Giving with Eastern Give For Good

By Ranelle Porter,

Woman on Phone

By Nicholas Conley | December 2, 2019 | 2 Minute Read

Despite living in an increasingly interconnected world, charitable giving can seem more complex and daunting than ever before. Finding and vetting the right organizations, typing your financial information into multiple websites, and keeping track of receipts for tax season can be very overwhelming.

That’s why Eastern Bank, known for its history of giving back to the community, has launched Eastern Give For Good with Pinkaloo Technologies to reshape the nature of charitable donations for the 21st century.

Easy to use and easy to maintain—Give For Good is the charitable giving tool you didn’t know you were looking for. Here’s how it works.

Technology That’s Ahead of the Curve

Eastern Bank and Pinkaloo connected through their participation in the MassChallenge FinTech program and launched the Give For Good pilot program in less than six months. Give For Good’s technology aims to take the stress away from donating to charity. By simply signing in to your Eastern Mobile and Online Bank account and clicking on the Give For Good banner, you’ll have access to everything you need to find charities or give to causes that you’re passionate about, whether it’s supporting a national organization, a local nonprofit, or contributing towards a friend’s charity walk or fundraiser. Over 1.5 million 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible and available on the platform, all of which are only one click away.

Whether you’re looking to make a one-off gift or an automated monthly donation, Give For Good makes the process easy and hassle-free:

  • You have the power to donate as much money as you’d like without having to find and sign up on multiple websites.
  • It’s free to use and always will be, with no fees and no complications.
  • You no longer have to keep tabs on your giving history: Eastern Give For Good will automatically track your charitable spending for you and provide all of the information you need to stay organized.
  • As a bonus, it also maintains your giving history and (instant) tax receipts in one place for you to access at any time.
  • Is your sister running a marathon next month or your alma mater raising funds for GivingTuesday? You can also donate on-the-go to family and friends.

Using Give For Good to Help Others

As an extension of Eastern Bank’s “Join Us for Good” movement, Eastern hopes is to transform the giving experience for their customers and communities.

Visit the official Eastern Give For Good website to learn more and start giving to your favorite charities and causes today.

Celebrating Black History Month

By Ranelle Porter,

As we near the end of Black History Month, let these powerful words from some of the most notable female philanthropists serve as a reminder to always believe in the GOOD that surrounds us.

Celebrating the Honorees of the 2019 Community Advocacy Awards

By Ranelle Porter,

By Michael Givens | December 19, 2019 | 5 Minute Read

Eastern Bank has a powerful legacy of community advocacy across New England. Our dedication to supporting communities of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ population, and low-income families have helped us to stand out as a social justice leader. Our annual Community Advocacy Awards ceremony is an opportunity for us to acknowledge and honor the local leaders who are also making a difference across New England.

This year, Eastern Bank will honor those who have made great contributions to one of the most important parts of our communities: early childhood education. Throughout October, November, and December, Eastern Bank will present awards to a diverse group of individuals who have devoted themselves to ensuring that all children have access to quality education.

December 12th: Marolí Licardié

Marolí Licardié has served as the executive director of Family & Children’s Service of Greater Lynn since 2006. The organization provides resources for families such as home visits, emergency financial assistance, and parental education programs. Licardié has devoted herself to increasing the services offered by the organization, strengthening partnerships, and serving more families.

She was the executive director for the division of Family Services and Community Health at the Latin American Health Institute in Boston for 13 years and a developmental educator at Dimock Community Health Center for more than eight years. She holds a B.A. in Human Communication and Special Education from Morelos State University in Mexico and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Tufts University. Learn more about why Marolí Licardié is this year’s Community Advocacy Award honoree.

November 22nd: Jon Firger

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Jon Firger at Boston Marriott Newton.

Jon Firger has been the executive director of Family ACCESS in Newton, Massachusetts since 2010. The organization provides early education and literacy services, abuse prevention programs, counseling, and parental support. Serving 5,200 parents and children in the Greater Boston area, Family ACCESS has grown substantially under Figer’s leadership.

He has led the organization through a re-branding process, a building renovation, and the addition of new classrooms and services. With 78 staff members and more than 80 volunteers, nearly 80 percent of the families the organization serves are from young families and immigrant communities. Read more about why Jon Firger is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

November 7th: Zelma Khadar and Lucas Skorczeski, Acre Family Child Care

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Zelma Khadar and Lucas Skorczeski at Lenzi’s.

Zelma Khadar embodies community advocacy at its best. When her children were young, Khadar began bringing them to an Acre child care provider in Lowell, Massachusetts. Eventually, she joined the board of directors as a representative for the Acre parents. Her leadership while on the board eventually led to her joining the staff in 1998 as a coordinator for an Acre program providing financial education classes to residents of Lowell. Now Khadar is a co-executive director of Acre Family Child Care and manages the Child Care Department, where she oversees family child care provider and parent services.

Lucas Skorczeski is also the co-executive director of Acre Family Child Care and has worked for the organization since 2015. With almost a decade of experience working in children’s museums (most recently at the Discovery Museum in Acton, Massachusetts), Lucas has a strong commitment to understanding and developing the capabilities of children, family, and educators. Learn more about why Zelma Khadar and Lucas Skorczeski are this year’s Community Advocacy Award honorees.

November 1st: Peter Gilmore, Seacoast Community School

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Peter Gilmore at Wentworth By The Sea Country Club.

Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Seacoast Community School educates more than 260 students between the ages of eight weeks and 12 and provides early childhood education access and before and after school programs. Peter Gilmore has been the executive director of the school since 2016 and comes from a long line of educators.

He earned a B.A. in History from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and went on to earn a Masters of Education from Harvard University. Gilmore has spent most of his career working for independent schools and most recently was the head of school at Vermont Commons School before taking his position at Seacoast Community School. He also served on the board of directors for the Vermont Independent Schools Association (VISA). Read more about why Peter Gilmore is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

October 31st: Sheri Adlin, South Shore Stars

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Sheri Adlin at Lombardo’s.

Sheri Adlin has spent more than 40 years in community advocacy and currently serves as the executive director of South Shore Stars, a position she’s held for 25 years. South Shore Stars works with children from birth to high school on subjects including school readiness, academic achievement, and healthy development.

Adlin has worked on a number of coalitions to support low-income and immigrant families. She has more than four decades of experience in program development, management, public policy, and classroom teaching. In addition, she has been the vice-president of the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care (MADCA) for 20 years. As vice-president, she has advocated for policies to support affordable and accessible childcare. Learn more about why Sheri Adlin is this year’s Community Advocacy Award honoree.

October 30th: Cindy Horgan, Cape Cod Children’s Place, Inc.

Eastern Bank Community Advocacy Award Celebrating Cindy Horgan at the Hyannisport Club. Photo by Sarah Thornington / The Studio by the Sea.

As the executive director and family support coordinator of Cape Cod Children’s Place, Cindy Horgan has been involved in family support and education for years. With a mission to serve as a resource for families with young children, Cape Cod Children’s Place provides a range of programs such as support groups, family workshops, early childhood classes, referrals, and even personalized home visits.

In 2017, she oversaw the partnership of Cape Cod Children’s Place with a number of other local community agencies so the Children’s Place could better provide services for low-income families. And in January, she managed the critical partnership between Cape Cod Children’s Place and the Homeless Prevention Council and the Community Development Program to form an interagency alliance. This allowed each organization to continue to provide critical services for local families in need of support. Horgan holds an M.Ed from Wheelock College. Read more about why Cindy Horgan is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

Learn more about the importance of early childhood education and see the list of recipients for Eastern Bank’s 2019 Grants For Good.