BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce it has honored Robert Lewis, Jr., the Founder and President of The BASE, with the 2020 Social Justice Award. Now in its 32nd year, the award recognizes community leaders who have made an outstanding impact in addressing critical social justice issues.
A social justice trailblazer who has overcome harrowing adversity, including his recovery from COVID-19 this year, Robert is a nationally and internationally recognized thought leader, social innovator and champion for urban youth. Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for racial equity and breaking down barriers that prevent communities of color from reaching their full potential:
- In 2013, he launched The BASE, a nonprofit organization that empowers urban youth to succeed by leveraging sports to open pathways to higher education and meaningful employment in today’s workforce. Recognizing the importance of its work in providing food security, educational focus and other stability in the daily lives of the young people it serves, The BASE decided to remain open during the pandemic.
- Prior to his work at The BASE, Robert served as Executive Director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, President and Executive Director of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Senior Vice President of City Year’s national operations and Executive Director of City Year Boston, and Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation.
- During his time with the Boston Foundation, he was chief architect of three groundbreaking initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence and promoting positive youth development: StreetSafe Boston, the country’s only privately funded anti-gang violence prevention program; Boston By Night; and CHAMPS Boston, which provided professional-level training for over 5,000 youth-sports volunteer coaches in Greater Boston.
Also known for working across the business and civic communities to create partnerships that improve outcomes in local neighborhoods and communities, Robert serves on several government advisory councils and most recently was appointed to the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
“We each have the collective responsibility to shift the paradigm created by policies that generate racial and gender inequities, and remove the barriers that prevent equity and justice for all,” said Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. “Robert Lewis, Jr.’s life’s work reminds us we must listen to those closest to the issues, be willing to be uncomfortable, to work to understand, take time, and provide the sustained effort needed to address the systemic structures that perpetuate inequities in our communities. We are proud to honor Robert, for his inspiring and game-changing community leadership, with the 2020 Social Justice Award.”
“Growing up, I was taught to leave a legacy by investing and supporting others, and that when you are a part of a community, you are the community,” said Robert Lewis, Jr., Founder and President of The BASE and 2020 Social Justice Award Honoree. “One of the most effective ways I give back is by supporting our urban talent and encouraging others to experience their lived experiences. Eastern Bank is a model for how the business community can drive change and better outcomes for future generations, and I am humbled to be chosen to receive its Social Justice Award.”
In recent years, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation has increasingly supported work that addresses economic inclusion and mobility, particularly at the intersections of equity for businesses of color, early childhood development, safe and affordable housing, and workforce development. This year’s Social Justice Award was presented during a virtual Celebration of Social Justice event attended by more than 600 community leaders. During the event, attendees were polled about their views on racial justice. Findings indicated:
- 53% of respondents believe partnering to promote anti-racist policy change would help nonprofit organizations the most in promoting racial justice.
- Mentors (35% of respondents) followed by year-round internships (29% of respondents) were cited as the most effective ways to keep urban youth focused on successful career paths and community engagement.
- 30% of respondents believe early childhood development is the policy priority with the strongest impact in creating racial equity.
Pictured at Eastern Bank’s 2020 Celebration of Social Justice are left to right: Bob Rivers, CEO and Chair of the Board of Eastern Bankshares, Inc. and Eastern Bank; Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation; Robert Lewis, Jr., Founder and President of The BASE and 2020 Social Justice Award Honoree; and Quincy Miller, President of Eastern Bankshares, Inc. and Eastern Bank.
Photo Credit: Virginia Sutherland Photo
About Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
Created in 1994, the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Boston-based Eastern Bank. Through philanthropy, employee volunteerism, advocacy, and collaborations with other businesses and community partners, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation responds to community needs and supports sustainable solutions to our communities’ most vexing challenges across eastern Massachusetts, southern and coastal New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. In 2020, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation doubled its donations to provide an additional $11 million in support for individuals and families in our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818, Boston-based Eastern Bank has more than 110 locations serving communities in eastern Massachusetts, southern and coastal New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. As of June 30, 2020, Eastern Bank had approximately $14.0 billion in total assets. Eastern provides banking, investment and insurance products and services for consumers and businesses of all sizes, including through its Eastern Wealth Management division and its Eastern Insurance Group subsidiary. Eastern takes pride in its outspoken advocacy and community support that has exceeded $140 million in charitable giving since 1999. An inclusive company, Eastern employs 1,800+ deeply committed professionals who value relationships with their customers, colleagues and communities. Join us for good at www.easternbank.com and follow Eastern on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Eastern Bankshares, Inc. (Nasdaq Global Select Market: EBC) is the stock holding company for Eastern Bank. For investor information, visit investor.easternbank.com.