By Beth Treffeisen
On the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 8 Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA) launched their year-long 50th anniversary celebration with a cocktail event hosted by The Boston Foundation at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse.
Surrounded by elected state officials and leading local executives, IBA CEO Vanessa Calderon-Rosado kicked off the milestone year with an unveiling of the organization’s 50th anniversary event series starting in 2018. To make the night sparkle even more, The Boston Foundation announced a commitment of $25,000 towards the organization.
“As we reflect on our past and our founders, we can’t help but think about the legacy that a community can leave behind,” said Calderon-Rosado. “Our founders knew that their community needed affordable housing, economic and educational programs, and residential services, but they also knew that they had the power and the will to make it happen.”
IBA is a community development corporation and dynamic community builder that empowers and engages individuals and families to improve their lives through high-quality housing, education, and arts programs.
IBA grew from efforts to fight displacement amidst gentrification in the South End during the late 1960s. For more than four decades, IBA has built an affordable, safe, healthy, and supportive environment for diverse residents and has been a driving force in the South End and across the city as a leading non-profit owner and developer of affordable housing.
In the light of rising living costs in Boston and its disproportionate impact on low-income and minority residents, IBA has a fundraising goal of $250,000 which they will dedicate to providing more affordable housing, as well as promoting economic mobility, artistic enrichment and educational opportunities for the city’s most vulnerable citizens.
“I think at a time like this it is important to remember just how implausible a story like this is,” said Paul Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation. “You couldn’t have made this up. A group of mostly low-income citizens dared to take on city government to gain this property and did what they did to it to eventually gain national acclaim is amazing.”
“At times like these it is important that we work to make something that seems implausible, possible and we’re going to have to do that in this community to fix the problems that we have.”
The series of upcoming events include: a History Forum on April 11 that will exhibit IBA’s long-standing advocacy work and impact on the South End, Festival Betances on July 21-22, which will showcase the cultural vibrancy of the international Latino community through music, dance and art and a momentous 50th Anniversary Gala and Closing Celebration on November 3, which will celebrate IBA’s past and identify how to build an even stronger future.
Visit ibaboston.org for more information.