June 27, 2023

20 Years, 20 Friends: Santander Bank

Our second highlight in our 20 Years, 20 Friends series – all leading up to our 20th anniversary in 2024 – is an organization that’s been a partner and supporter of Friends-Boston since 2017.

Congratulations to Santander Bank for being #2 in our 20 Years, 20 Friends countdown!

The long-standing connection between Friends-Boston and Santander Bank has had a tremendous impact on Achievers, their families, and their communities. Santander has not only given financially through donations and grants, but their employees have also given of their time through countless volunteer opportunities. This relationship has allowed our two organizations to build a deep, collaborative relationship. In fact, the Boston Business Journal named the partnership as one of their 2017 Partners of the Year.

It was seed money from Santander that enabled us to launch our highly successful Young Entrepreneurs program. This offers the opportunity for our adolescent Achievers to learn about each step of the business process - coming up with an idea for a product that will yield both social and financial capital, writing and developing a business model and plan (check out their self-designed logos below), creating/building the product, and marketing the product - all while collaborating together. In the end, they sell their products and are able to put the money away for things like school, purchasing a car, or savings.

“The Friends-Boston Entrepreneurship Program this year has been great,” said Stefan Forrestal-Swaintek, Youth Advocate – Adolescent Cohort. “This year, we wanted to push our youth to not only think about how to make a business theoretically but to make it come alive and make real physical items. Watching the participants research social and community issues and then work to make products that can make a tangible difference was really awesome to watch. I loved watching them work through the large questions about how they want to make their communities stronger as well as thinking through the minute details about design, material, and pricing. On a more zoomed out mentor lens, I saw quieter youth who were passionate about the project find their voice and speak up about their ideas and collaborate with their team in new ways.”

Additionally, Santander has given our Achievers opportunities to expand their horizons and build memories. These include VIP experiences at events like New England Revolution soccer games at Gillette Stadium, including next month.

This impactful and valuable partnership came about because one of our current board members – Michael Cleary – was a strong advocate for our work and mission. Early on, Michael became interested in the impact of our program on Achievers. As a Santander executive at that time, he was able to make the connection between our two organizations, and it continues to this day.

We’re grateful for our partnership with Santander, and we look forward to continuing to work together for many years into the future.