Community Development Lending Program at Eastern Bank Continues Commitment to Investing

By Michael Givens | July 10, 2018 | 3 Minute Read

On Thursday, June 21, the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) announced that Eastern Bank will award $300,000 to a Massachusetts tax credit program to help continue a philanthropic partnership to help low-income communities across the Bay State. The announcement was made at the Mel King Institute 9th Annual Breakfast in partnership with Eastern’s Community Development Lending (CDL).

Eastern Bank staff at the Mel King Institute for Community Building Celebration. Photo by Tatiana Blanco Photography.

“The CDL group of Eastern Bank is driven by our commitment in doing good things in our communities,” said Yongmei Chen, Senior Vice President at Eastern Bank. “From affordable housing developments, [and] solar financing to economic revitalization projects, the CDL loan portfolio is one of the fastest growing business lines of the bank. We strive to be doing well by doing good.”

Implemented in 2014, the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program allows charitable organizations such as Eastern Bank to make donations to a shared pool of funds which are then distributed to community development corporations (CDCs) that provide a range of programs and services aimed toward supporting communities across the state. This is the third year in a row that Eastern Bank has participated in the program.

According to Joe Kriesberg, president of the MACDC, a membership organization of CDCs across the Commonwealth, the funds are used by the individual CDCs on such neighborhood projects as community organizing, the arts, youth and elder programs, job training, affordable housing production, and small business assistance. The true value of the CITC program is that community support and engagement drive whether the project will receive funding. The Eastern Bank Community Development Lending Program’s donation to the fund means that more CDCs have the resources they need to provide quality programming to Bay State communities—from Somerville and Worcester to Springfield.

“Eastern Bank stepped up with a significant level of support, not for one organization, but many across the eastern region of the Commonwealth,” said Kriesberg. “This was increased…new funding for CDCs that needed this support from a recognized and trusted organization, Eastern Bank, when CDCs were developing new fundraising networks through the CITC program.”

According to the MACDC, CDCs supported by the CITC program created or preserved more than 1,800 units of affordable housing in 2015 and 2016 and assisted more than 130,000 families. The 2018 Growing Opportunities, Assets, and Leaders (GOALs) annual report produced by MACDC also provides some exciting data about the impact of organization’s supported by Eastern Bank.

The report states that more than 5,000 job opportunities were created or preserved through the work of CDCs. Nearly 860 small business owners were provided assistance as well — clear indicators of the impact of well-resourced community programs.

Kay Mathew, the resource development manager for Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) in Roxbury’s Dudley Square, said the donations given by Eastern Bank through the CITC program go a long way in making an important impact on low-income communities.

MPDC received a $15,000 CITC donation from Eastern Bank in 2016 and another in 2017, which helped to increase the reach of an array of MPDC community building programs that support residents in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. For example, Eastern Bank’s CITC funding supports year-round workforce development and community leadership programs for up to 90 youth in Roxbury including a highly successful summer youth jobs program. It also supports MPDC’s civic engagement program, which provides year-round voter education and get out the vote activities. Eastern’s CDL funding helps MPDC augment its healthy food programs, which teach residents how to access healthy food and prepare nutritious meals. Donations also support two community gardens at affordable housing developments and regularly-scheduled physical activity events such as yoga classes and walking groups.

“It’s through the resources provided by Eastern Bank that we are able to make our programs work so well,” Mathew said.

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