Zoo New England Receives $10,000 Targeted Grant to Advance Women

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Zoo New England recently received a $10,000 Targeted Grant from Eastern Bank. The grant will support the Boston BioBlitz, a STEM initiative designed to immerse inner city girls in structured environmental exploration while contributing to local and international biodiversity projects.

Each year, the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s Targeted Grant program supports hundreds of community-based organizations working for progress on a specific issue in Eastern’s New England footprint. In 2018, in celebration of the Bank’s 200th anniversary and to honor its first depositor, Rebecca Sutton, Targeted Grants have been designated to support organizations addressing a range of issues that disproportionately impact women, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, health care, pay equity, and senior management and board representation.

Zoo New England is among 170 nonprofits each receiving a $10,000 grant. In total, Eastern is granting $1.7 million in Targeted Grants this year to nonprofits in communities from New Hampshire to Cape Cod and throughout the South Shore, North Shore, Metro West, Merrimack Valley and Greater Boston.

With this grant funding, Zoo New England will immerse teens, ages 12-18, in a structured environmental learning program that will provide informal classroom activities, significant guided outdoor exploration and STEM exposure. Boston BioBlitz organizers will work with participants, teaching them about healthy habitats and how to identify local plant and animal life, resulting in the skills needed to make scientifically valid observations that will be added to biodiversity surveys on the iNaturalist app.

The project will culminate with the girls taking leadership roles as Pro-Observers in the Boston Area City Nature Challenge in April 2019. Zoo New England, along with staff from the Encyclopedia of Life Learning and Education group based at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology and members of Brandeis University's Environmental Studies program, will lead and guide the program participants.

“We are grateful to Eastern Bank for their support of the Boston BioBlitz and the impact this will have on the program participants,” said Cynthia Mead, Zoo New England Executive Vice President of External Affairs and Programming. “Our mission is to inspire the next generation of conservation stewards and leaders, and through this program we have the opportunity, along with our partners, to educate and empower girls to become actively engaged in scientific observation as well as understand the impact that they can have in the scientific field.”

Eastern’s Targeted Grant program this year creates new opportunities and resources for women in areas where assistance is needed the most. The facts are staggering:

  • A woman is assaulted every nine seconds in the U.S. and one in three women has been a victim of physical brutality by an intimate partner, making intimate partner violence the single greatest cause of injury to women.
  • In Massachusetts, women earn 83 cents for every dollar paid to men. In New Hampshire, they earn 76 cents. African-American women nationwide earn 64 cents for every dollar earned by white men, and Latinas—only 56 cents.
  • In the sciences, women represent less than 25% of those employed in computer and mathematical occupations and only 15% in architecture and engineering. For women of color, this gap is even wider. Asian women, African-American women, and Latinas make up less than 10% of working scientists and engineers in the U.S.
  • Women receive more graduate degrees and they hold more faculty positions in colleges and universities, and yet, men hold the highest number of tenured university positions.
  • Only 32 women run Fortune 500 companies and only two are women of color. Less than 20% of all board seats in Fortune 1,000 companies are held by women.

“We believe in breaking down the barriers that stand between people and prosperity. That’s why Eastern is a strong advocate for the advancement of women,” said Bob Rivers, Chair and CEO of Eastern Bank. “With each Targeted Grant, we aim to enhance the lives of our neighbors and contribute to real progress around the advancement of women in our local communities. On behalf of everyone at Eastern, we congratulate this year’s Targeted Grant recipients and thank them for working to level the playing field.”

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