Organization works to create an ecosystem of innovative economic strategies to help finance small businesses, create jobs and transform neighborhoods
BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Eastern Bank Foundation is pleased to announce Boston Ujima Project (“Ujima”) as a 2022 Community Advocacy Award honoree for its innovative approaches to financing small businesses, growing wealth and creating a more equitable economy.
“We understand that a range of issues, including unemployment, gentrification, poverty and homelessness, are all interconnected to the opportunity for people and small businesses to thrive. Boston Ujima Project provides an opportunity for the community to take responsibility for our communities, to see our neighbor’s problems as our own, and to build collective power to solve them together,” said Nia Evans, Executive Director of Boston Ujima Project.
With an ecosystem approach—where every Voting Member has an equal vote on the business, real estate and infrastructural projects receiving investment—Ujima challenges traditional notions of local economies and what it means to do good business. Recognizing that locally owned businesses play an essential role in creating wealth, jobs and spaces to gather in neighborhoods, Ujima fills in the gaps in financing for small businesses by bringing together finances and organizing disciplines with many solutions including cooperatives, community funds, buy local campaigns, alternative currencies, and anchor institution strategies that demonstrate better ways communities can relate to, and do business with, each other. Ujima also complements these approaches by providing technical assistance, advocating for fair wage salaries and encouraging large institutions to contract with local businesses.
“Boston Ujima Project is reimagining and paving the way for a new Boston, one in which people work together to take care of each other, and communities have the final say over the development that impacts their streets and families,” said Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Foundation.
The celebration of Eastern’s Community Advocacy Award coincides with the Eastern Bank Foundation’s commitment to economic inclusion and mobility through its philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy, including to advance equity in the small business ecosystem. Recognizing that entrepreneurs and business owners are building blocks for the local economy, the Foundation seeks to fund organizations that build ecosystems of support for business owners in historically disadvantaged communities, including Black, Latinx, Asian, women, LGBTQ+, Veterans and people with disabilities.
Read more about all of the 2022 Community Advocacy Award honorees at:
About Eastern Bank Foundation
Created in 1994, the Eastern Bank 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 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. To learn more, visit easternbank.com/foundation.
Eastern Bank Foundation