Celebrating our communities and advancing economic inclusion and mobility

Celebrating our communities and advancing economic inclusion and mobility

Eastern Bank Foundation honors Vanessa Calderón-Rosado of IBA with 2023 Social Justice Award

Energy and inspiration were in the air as hundreds of community and business leaders recently came together for the annual Eastern Bank Foundation Celebration of Social Justice to honor Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, chief executive officer of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), and her team with the 2023 Social Justice award. The award, now in its 35th year, spotlights an outstanding leader who, through their dedication and passion, has made significant contributions to advance social justice in our communities.

Calderón-Rosado has been a leading advocate for racial and economic inclusion and mobility for the Latino community of Boston’s South End Villa Victoria neighborhood and beyond for decades, and is widely known as an authentic, trusted and reliable voice for the advancement of social justice.

Through close collaboration with community members, nonprofit, for-profit and public leaders, Calderón-Rosado and her team have built IBA into the largest Latino-led nonprofit organization in Massachusetts and a nationally recognized community development corporation. Leveraging $294 million in assets and 667 housing units, IBA’s innovative and holistic model brings together high-quality affordable housing with crucial wraparound services for early childhood education, youth development, family financial empowerment, resident engagement, and the celebration of art and culture.

Calderón-Rosado’s body of work is defined by firsts and onlies. She became the first Latina to be appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education; is a founding board member of the Margarita Muñiz Academy, the first dual language innovation high school in Massachusetts; and is co-founder of the Greater Boston Latino Network, whose members touch the lives of over 50,000 people.

Helping shape policy, Calderón-Rosado serves as a member of Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey’s Council on Latino Empowerment, is a sought-after voice and collaborator with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s office, and is part of the Boston Foundation’s Latino Equity Fund Advisory Committee that works to increase access for capital for small business owners, homeownership and livable wage jobs.

Capping off the Eastern Celebration of Social Justice evening – which included a reception and award ceremony – was a fireside chat. In this one-on-one conversation with Eastern Bank Chair and CEO Bob Rivers, Calderón-Rosado spoke of her journey to IBA –beginning with growing up in a civically active family in Puerto Rico and then entering education and academia before joining IBA. She also shared how IBA and others across the city banded together to get Via Victoria residents access to early Covid-19 vaccines, and previewed future efforts, including expansion of their early childhood education program, a moon shot effort to support homeownership, and the creation of a new IBA headquarters that will provide residents with the bulk of IBA services and art and cultural events under one roof. The current IBA headquarters is being converted into additional, affordable housing.

Commenting on Calderón-Rosado’s award and legacy, Nancy Huntington Stager, president and CEO of Eastern Bank Foundation, said, “Thanks to Vanessa and her team’s passionate advocacy, action and holistic approach, she is creating a community of connection, growth and cultural celebration that is helping individuals and families build more financial stability, resilience and economic justice more broadly. For more than 20 years, Vanessa has been and continues to be a force for good. We are delighted to partner with her and recognize her leadership and the positive and enduring impact she has on Boston and beyond.”

Speaking to the honor, Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, added, “Eastern is a leader in corporate philanthropy, and truly shares in the vision and dedication to bend the arc of history toward justice. I am very grateful to be recognized by Eastern Bank Foundation with this award and to have partnered with the foundation on so many shared interests over the years. I consider my work a joy, knowing that all we really want as people, and as residents of Boston and Massachusetts, is to give our children and families the best home, neighborhood, education and set of opportunities we can.”

Eastern Bank Foundation invests in community-led organizations to promote structural change that builds economic inclusion, mobility and social justice, with one of our core focus areas being to secure safe and affordable housing. For more information, please visit

*By Eastern Bank Foundation