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In the news: Ronald F. Ferguson

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In the news: Ronald F. Ferguson
Ronald Ferguson. COURTESY PHOTO

Eastern Bank honored Ronald F. Ferguson, of the Harvard Kennedy School and Founder of The Basics, with its 2019 Social Justice Award. The award recognizes community leaders who have achieved outstanding impact in addressing social justice issues. Ferguson was honored for his decades of work addressing achievement gaps that form in children by the age of two, an issue that coincides with Eastern Bank’s current commitment to enriching early childhood development in its philanthropy and advocacy as part of a broader strategy for addressing income inequality and workforce issues.

As an MIT-trained economist with more than 30 years on the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School, Ferguson’s teaching, research, and writing address economic, social and educational challenges with an emphasis on helping disadvantaged communities. His research inspired the creation of The Basics, a campaign for early childhood parenting. Initially a Boston coalition that is expanding globally, the Basics surrounds caregivers and families with simple parenting techniques and support to give children from every background a better start in life.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Ferguson focused much of his attention on economic and community development. That work culminated in the social science synthesis volume, Urban Problems and Community Development, published by Brookings Press (1999), which remains an important text in graduate policy courses. By the late 1980s, he had begun to study education and youth development because academic skill disparities were contributing to growing wage disparity. His writings on the topic appeared in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, and various books and journals, including his book, Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap, published by Harvard Education Press. Ferguson’s newest book, co-authored with journalist Tatsha Robertson and published in 2019, is entitled, The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children, and covers from birth to early adulthood.

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