Boston - Eastern Bank, America’s oldest and largest mutual bank, today announced it is granting $1 million to local nonprofits focused on enriching early childhood development. Since its founding 25 years ago, the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation has dedicated a portion of its charitable giving to community-based organizations working for progress on issues of importance across Eastern’s New England footprint. 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.
Cape Cod Children's Place, Cape Cod Children's Museum and South Shore Community Action Council (now operating former Cape Cod Child Development preschools) are among the recipients.
Eastern is awarding grants to organizations focused on strengthening socioemotional and cognitive skills development among children in the communities it serves. Grants are intended to 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.
“Providing every child with an equal opportunity for a bright future is a basic right,” said Bob Rivers, Chair and CEO of Eastern Bank. “By supporting organizations that assist parents and caregivers and prepare children to be ready to learn and succeed, we are helping to create the foundation children need to thrive. On behalf of everyone at Eastern, we congratulate the grant recipients and thank them for their dedication to the children in our communities.”
As part of its $1 million commitment, Eastern is providing a $500,000 grant to The Boston Basics, which aims to give children from every background a better start in life. The Basics, which began in Boston and is now in more than 30 cities, created a framework of five evidence-based parenting and caregiving principles that help all children grow by maximizing love and managing stress; talking, singing, and pointing; counting and comparing; exploring through movement and play; and reading and discussing stories. Basics staff enlist and equip organizations that parents already know and trust, to build the principles into the work those organizations do with parents. Eastern’s grant will provide The Basics with financial support to expand its reach in communities across Greater Boston.
“Every dollar invested in early childhood can yield up to a $12 return, so Eastern’s commitment will make a significant impact through each of the organizations receiving a grant,” said Nancy Huntington Stager, President & CEO of the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. “This donation also gives us an opportunity to recognize the great work of Wendell Knox, former Lead Director at Eastern Bank, who has made significant contributions at Eastern, at The Basics, and throughout our community for many years.”
Additionally, the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation is awarding $10,000 Grants for Good to 50 organizations leading early childhood development programs across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. These grants are focused on providing support in four critical areas: achieving early learning quality standards, strengthening parent engagement, supporting professional development for educators, and upgrading early learning facilities and supplies.