BCC Board Chair's Letter to the Editor Published by Boston Globe

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The following letter to the editor was sent to The Boston Globe by our Board Chair, Charles Clark, and published today on page A16. This letter is in response to The Globe's recent article about MA Attorney General Martha Coakley and Boston Community Capital CEO Elyse Cherry. Since that time, we have received numerous emails and calls expressing support for the work that we do at Boston Community Capital to build healthy communities where low-income people live and work and frustration with The Globe's coverage of this story. Below, you will find the full text of the letter to the editor submitted by Mr. Clark. 

You can also find the letter on The Boston Globe's website here or in a PDF here

"Critique of Boston Community Capital misses the mark

"The article concerning Martha Coakley and Boston Community Capital created a highly misleading portrayal of our Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods foreclosure relief program and our organization as a whole (“AG’s suit in tune with a backer’s interests,” Page A1, Oct. 16).

First, it gave little voice to the numerous, nonpartisan sources of praise for the SUN program, such as Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, and no voice to those most affected — the 500 families whose homes SUN helped save. SUN reduced their monthly payments by an average of 38 percent. It’s homeowners, not Boston Community Capital, who will benefit if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac change their policies. We make no profit on SUN; if we did, the for-profit banks would have taken over the enterprise long ago.

Second, while we are proud of SUN, it makes up a small portion of what we do. We have financed 16,000 affordable housing units, child care and schools for more than 14,800 children, health care centers for more than 81,000 patients, and thousands of solar panels for affordable housing and nonprofits. It’s an enormously complex enterprise, and we’ve been fortunate to have someone as capable as Elyse Cherry at the helm. The salary she is paid to manage our more than $1 billion in investment is below average for similar organizations of this size.

Third, our advocacy has been fully transparent. We work on many issues that affect poor families, and so we often work to improve government policies that affect these families. Our organization has argued for years, to officials and in the press, against Fannie and Freddie policies.

Finally, we take issue with the critique of Cherry’s involvement in politics. As a non-profit organization, Boston Community Capital does not endorse nor financially support any candidates for political office. However, we encourage all of our employees to participate fully in civic life. In her personal time, Cherry has been involved in politics for decades in support of many candidates, with full transparency to our board and the public.

Our community needs greater political participation and more innovative solutions. Biased stories like this one discourage both.

Charles Clark
Chairman of the board
Boston Community Capital