MassMutual Foundation Makes Landmark Gift

Boston Medical Center (BMC) has received a $3 million grant from the MassMutual Foundation to launch an Economic Justice Hub to support the economic health of families in BMC’s Department of Pediatrics.

The Economic Justice Hub builds on the hospital’s approach to addressing economic inequity through an expansion of BMC’s nationally recognized tax and financial services, creates pathways to well-paying jobs, and will fund an analysis on the correlation between increased income and loss of public benefits. The goal of the Economic Justice Hub is to create systemic change so all families can thrive.

“We know that wealth is directly tied to health,” said Alastair Bell, MD, MBA, President & CEO of BMC Health System. “Through initiatives like the Economic Justice Hub, we are building on BMC’s quality, compassionate care with family supports that address the economic inequities at the root of many health disparities. We are grateful for partners like the MassMutual Foundation who generously invest in this work, which can truly impact the healthy futures of our community.”

“The MassMutual Foundation and Boston Medical Center share a vision for healthy, thriving communities,” said Dennis Duquette, MassMutual’s head of community responsibility and president of the MassMutual Foundation. “The link between financial well-being and more positive health outcomes is inextricable. Boston Medical Center is truly pioneering a new brand of healthcare that not only acknowledges the link, but addresses it head-on, and we’re thrilled to support their work with this endeavor.”

The initiative, announced at BMC’s annual Strikes for Tykes fundraiser hosted by New England Patriot David Andrews, allows for substantial growth of StreetCred, a novel BMC-developed program that started as a free tax filing service in BMC’s Department of Pediatrics and has expanded to a much wider model of financial counseling for families.

Since its inception in 2016, StreetCred has returned more than $14 million to families. The program also helps families meet their financial goals by supporting access to Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits, opening 529 college savings accounts, providing food from BMC’s Preventive Food Pantry, and more. Today, there are 20 healthcare organizations and community partners offering the BMC-developed financial counseling model in 10 states and in Washington, D.C., and BMC pediatricians have presented at White House health forums to shape pro-family economic policies.

The Economic Justice Hub will also develop a new employment pathway to create job opportunities with flexible schedules for underemployed parents from low-income, historically disinvested communities, as they seek to climb the economic ladder.

Once successfully piloted, this new career pathway will train participants as peer educators, financial navigators, and financial coaches for other families in Pediatrics. Trained participants will gain skills to seek other jobs within BMC Health System and beyond.

Just as importantly, the Economic Justice Hub will fund a policy analysis of the “cliff effect,” in which an individual’s income increases enough through employment to make them ineligible for some government benefits. This sudden loss or reduction of benefits can result in families making difficult choices between food, housing, healthcare and other essential expenses, further contributing to poor health.

Working in collaboration with BMC’s community and government partners, this policy analysis will allow BMC to advocate for changes to help families overcome roadblocks to financial resiliency, wealth building and economic independence.

This recent gift builds on MassMutual Foundation’s gift in October 2020 that supported the launch of BMC’s Health Equity Accelerator, which works to identify and solve the root causes of the most persistent racial health inequities through clinical innovation, research and community partnerships.

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