By Michael Givens | June 25, 2019 | 3 Minute Read
Pamela Feingold has dedicated her career to rebuilding communities and working at the intersection of banking and social progress. As the Senior Vice President and Group Director of Eastern Bank’s Community Development Lending (CDL) program, she’s committed to investing resources into revitalizing communities, supporting families, and helping others live up to their potential.
“We have financed thousands of units of affordable housing, emergency shelters, and permanent housing,” she said of Eastern Bank’s work. “We have helped to finance charter schools within the inner city and surrounding communities, [and] we have financed projects for social service agencies that support people with physical and mental challenges.”
Eastern Bank’s CDL initiative has also invested funds in substance abuse clinics and community health centers. The investments in these projects have had the singular objective of developing strong, healthy, and vibrant communities in Boston and across Massachusetts.
Feingold’s career in banking and rebuilding communities began in the early 1980s when she enrolled in a bank credit training program in order to earn enough money for veterinary school. However, while in the program, she fell in love with community banking. She started working for Wainwright Bank in 1992, and gradually, she began to understand the power and potential of addressing social issues through banking.
“At Wainwright, we created a social agenda where ‘doing well by doing good’ was our motto,” she said. “We addressed the cutting-edge social issues of the time and used our visibility in the community to make a statement and make a difference. We merged with Eastern Bank in 2011 and our commitment to social issues has grown exponentially.”
That same year, Eastern Bank made a significant investment in Lowell that would help to transform the provision of medical care for many of the city’s residents. At that time, the Lowell Community Health Center was operating in several small and dated facilities around the city. Eastern Bank, along with funding from the state and city, invested funds into converting an empty mill into a state-of-the-art healthcare facility.
The project not only transformed the health center, but it also helped to expand its services to even more residents in Lowell. Today, the Lowell Community Health Center serves over a quarter of the city’s population, with 90 percent of the patients identifying as low income.
Another project that Feingold is quite proud of is the partnership between Eastern Bank and the Committee to End Elder Homelessness, now called HEARTH. The partnership oversaw the complete renovation of an abandoned building in Boston’s South End as it was transformed into housing for the elderly—who were at risk of becoming homeless. The partnership created 60 units of housing and led to other projects that addressed homelessness among the elder population.
Seeing the real-life impact of the CDL initiative on the people who benefit from the program has provided the greatest sense of satisfaction for Feingold, as she continues to help rebuild communities.
“All you have to do is attend the grand opening of a housing project and see the face of the single mom who used to live in a motel unit with her children . . . [they] now have a place to call home. Or a formerly homeless man or woman who now has a place to call their own,” she said. “It makes it all worth it.”
Feingold says that Eastern Bank’s approach to supporting the community goes a long way in transforming and saving lives.
Learn more about how the Community Development Lending program at Eastern Bank has led to building health centers, addressing homelessness, and supporting families.