AIDS Action wins social justice award

Eastern Bank honored the Jamaica Plain-based AIDS Action Committee and its president and CEO, Rebecca Haag, with the 24th annual Wainwright Social Justice Award at a downtown ceremony Oct. 4.

AIDS Action is New England’s largest AIDS service organization. The Social Justice Award recognizes nonprofits and affiliated individuals who have achieved outstanding success in addressing social justice issues. Haag is also a member of the bank’s board of trustees.

“Under Rebecca’s innovative leadership, AIDS Action has worked to establish fair and effective AIDS policies, and cutting edge HIV prevention,” said Richard E. Holbrook, chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank, in a press release. “Massachusetts is a healthier community because of the work accomplished by Rebecca and AIDS Action.  We wish them continued success.”

AIDS Action, the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection, received a $25,000 donation from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation as part of the Social Justice Award.

“From the very start of this epidemic, we have come together as a community to fight AIDS,” said Haag in a press statement. “Gay men, suburban moms, straight black men—you name the demographic and I guarantee that they have been at the table helping. That legacy continues with the critical support provided by the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, which makes it possible for us to do our work.”

“Public funding for this disease—which is not over, by the way—is rapidly shrinking and the money provided by Eastern Bank and others is critical to our success,” she added.

Since 1999, thanks to the education and prevention outreach of organizations such as AIDS Action, Massachusetts has reduced new HIV diagnoses by 54 percent, which means that more than 5,000 people who might otherwise have become HIV-positive have remained negative. That will result in health care cost savings of more than $2 billion for the state, according to AIDS Action.

The Celebration of Social Justice Award was originally created by Wainwright Bank. When Eastern Bank acquired Wainwright Bank in 2010, it pledged to continue the award, and raised the accompanying donation to $25,000 from $10,000.

From press materials.

Rebecca Haag, president and CEO of AIDS Action Committee. (Courtesy Photo)

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