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The Foundation for Business Equity (FBE) and Eastern Bank Announce the Merger of FBE with Mill Cities Community Investments

BOSTON , December 07 /Businesswire/ - Eastern Bank and the Foundation for Business Equity (FBE), an award-winning Boston-based nonprofit organization working to scale small businesses of color, are pleased to announce the merger of FBE with Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI), a significant step to strengthening their services and extending their impact. The merger marks a major milestone in the continued growth of FBE and the completion of its incubation period at Eastern Bank. In 2017, Eastern Bank created FBE, serving as the founding funder with an initial $10 million grant and which has grown to over $13 million in total support, as part of its deep and long-standing commitment to address the racial wealth inequities, and drive greater economic inclusion and mobility.

Since its founding, FBE has focused on accelerating the growth of businesses of color. FBE’s approach creates collaborative ecosystems to provide Black and Latino business owners with resources to build capacity and access critical growth tools including growth capital and business networks. FBE has provided quality capacity building and high touch strategic advisory services through the Business Equity Initiative (BEI), its signature program, which will continue after the merger. It has already reached more than 90 local businesses, helping to generate $120 million in new revenue.

With a similar mission, MCCI, a community development financial institution (CDFI), bridges the capital access gap in low-to-moderate income communities and under-resourced populations in the Merrimack Valley and across Massachusetts, through a range of low-cost loan programs, small business trainings and technical assistance. As a CDFI, community development is the primary goal; it works closely with customers and communities to develop innovative ways to deliver loans, investments and financial services. The merger of FBE and MCCI expands opportunities for accessing growth capital, enabling FBE to offer new low-interest loan and equity capital products to enrolled BEI businesses and graduates, including securing additional federal and state funding for CDFIs to support small businesses. The addition of FBE also adds significantly to the capacity building capability of MCCI going forward.

The two organizations have had a close partnership since 2019 when MCCI made its first loan to a BEI business. To date, MCCI has provided $3.2 million in capital to BEI businesses. By combining resources, FBE and MCCI are strengthening their reach to make broader impacts in addressing the wealth gap throughout the region. As part of the merger, Glynn Lloyd will lead the combined entity as Executive Director.

“The last five years have led the way to this moment, and we’re extremely grateful for Eastern Bank’s ongoing commitment and support of the Foundation for Business Equity through its launch and ramp-up,” said Glynn Lloyd, Executive Director of FBE and MCCI. “Merging with MCCI is a natural next step for our organizations, and we are excited to officially work together to build an even more expansive organization focused on dismantling economic and racial inequities.”

“As part of Eastern Bank’s commitment to address wealth inequities, a need which the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s 2015 Color of Wealth report very clearly brought to bear, we could not have imagined the far-reaching impact that the Foundation for Business Equity would already have on our region,” said Bob Rivers, CEO and Chair of the Board of Eastern Bank. “The work is just beginning to dismantle the systemic barriers that prevent opportunity for our communities of color and we look forward to FBE’s continued success, now with MCCI’s know-how and knowledge, and to continue to engage with other partners in the community around this issue.”

“Advancing equity in our small business ecosystem is a critical focus area for the Eastern Bank Foundation where we strive to create stronger economic inclusion and greater mobility. In my role as Board President of FBE and now as a new member of the MCCI board, I’ve observed the synergies, natural alignment and dedication of these two organizations to keep advancing this work,” added Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Foundation. “The Eastern Bank Foundation is proud to have incubated the Foundation for Business Equity and help it to reach this next stage of growth with the MCCI team. Importantly, our work with FBE has informed and extended to other opportunities where Eastern is lending our support and grassroots knowledge to organizations advancing capacity, access to capital and business networking for other communities not well served across our region.”

Alongside Eastern Bank, The Boston Foundation has been an instrumental partner to FBE since its inception. The Foundation served as the original capital access partner of an ecosystem approach to provide financing to business owners of color through the Business Equity Fund (BEF) and has provided ongoing support for MCCI through BEF and in partnership with a number of Boston Foundation donors.

“As a longtime partner to both FBE and MCCI, we know firsthand the potential this merger unlocks for business owners of color and the communities they proudly serve. It has been inspiring to watch the entrepreneurs enrolled in FBE’s Business Equity Initiative (BEI) program leverage the support and resources there to build wealth and strengthen their businesses,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President and Chief Program Officer of The Boston Foundation, and member of the MCCI board. “The Boston Foundation and our Donors have worked together with FBE and MCCI to eliminate structural barriers to racial equity, making way for thriving communities, and we look forward to creating broader impacts as a continued ecosystem partner and personally as a MCCI board member.”

FBE and MCCI will complete an integration process over the next year, continuing their support for businesses, clients and partners as they always have. To learn more about FBE, visit https://fbequity.org/ and to learn more about MCCI, visit https://mccinvest.org/.

About the Foundation for Business Equity (FBE) 

Businesses need a sound business model and strategic plan, the capital to achieve their plan and revenue to drive growth. Black and Latinx entrepreneurs face three primary interwoven barriers: access to advice, access to capital and access to markets. The Foundation for Business Equity, a Boston-based nonprofit, helps to close the racial wealth gap by scaling businesses of color. It also provided survival plans and business continuity for businesses being most impacted during the pandemic. Learn more at https://fbequity.org/ and follow the Foundation for Business Equity on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI) 

Founded in 2008 by Latino leaders to bridge the capital access gap in low-to-moderate income and under-resourced communities, MCCI is headquartered in Lawrence, MA and has historically served key Merrimack Valley cities and towns while expanding services statewide. MCCI is a community development financial institution (CDFI.) As a financing and lending alternative for businesses and homeowners, MCCI specializes in identifying and providing innovative solutions for capital needs and being flexible with their underwriting process. Learn more at https://mccinvest.org/ and follow Mill Cities Community Investments on LinkedIn and Facebook.

About Eastern Bank 

Founded in 1818, Boston-based Eastern Bank has more than 120 locations serving communities in eastern Massachusetts, southern and coastal New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. As of September 30, 2022, Eastern Bank had approximately $22 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 LLC subsidiary. Eastern takes pride in its outspoken advocacy and community support that includes $240 million in charitable giving since 1994. An inclusive company, Eastern employs approximately 2,100 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.

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. This includes advancing economic inclusion and mobility in such areas as equity in the small business ecosystem, enriching early childhood development, securing safe and affordable housing, and promoting workforce development. To learn more, visit easternbank.com/foundation.


STORY TAGS: Professional Services, Philanthropy, Small Business, Finance, Foundation, Banking, United States, North America, Massachusetts, Nonprofit, Merger/Acquisition,

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