October 23, 2013

The Pen Set, Reinvestment and the Future


Denis Boyle with his son John at UNHP’s 30th Celebration. The pen set belongs to John’s aunt, who received it for opening an account at Dollar Savings Bank.

The pen set and the people pictured above have a special connection to UNHP, the Northwest Bronx, and Dollar Savings Bank. That story, and its connection to our 30th Anniversary Celebration, brings our event full circle.

Denis Boyle and his son John are pictured above at our 30th Anniversary celebration held in the Dollar Savings Bank Building. The Boyle Family (Denis, Peggy, Martin and John) are longtime Northwest Bronx residents; Denis is a former member of the Northwest Bronx Reinvestment Committee and Peggy began her career as a youth organizer for NWBCCC. Peggy grew up in the Tremont/Fordham section of the Bronx with her sister Pat and their mother Sheila.  They used the clock tower of the Dollar Savings Bank Building as their “lighthouse” to orient and guide them on walks in the neighborhood. The pen set is the gift that Dollar Savings Bank gave to Pat upon opening a bank account with her Holy Communion money – back in the day when banks gave you presents and did not charge fees.

As part of the Reinvestment Committee,  Denis worked with other local residents and staff, including Bill Frey, Jim Mitchell, Roger Hayes, Joe Muriana, Lois Harr, John Reilly and Jim Buckley, all of whom attended our celebration.  They worked together to demand that banks reinvest in our neighborhoods – neighborhoods where people like Pat and Peggy lived and invested their money in local banks.  This was in the mid to late 1970’s, when widespread public and private disinvestment decimated many communities, including ours. Dollar Savings, along with Eastern Savings, North Side Savings, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, and Anchor Savings Bank were the focus of the of the Reinvestment Committee efforts to use the newly created Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to encourage private reinvestment in buildings throughout the northwest Bronx.

FBHC and FBCS came out in full force to support our 30th Anniversary Celebration.

Private and public reinvestment, along with the work of UNHP and its many partners, have been essential to the revitalization of the Bronx. Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation (FBHC) owns and manages 116 buildings and UNHP another 18 – together they provide decent, affordable homes for over 10,000 people.  UNHP and Fordham Bedford Community Services (FBCS) provide a range of youth, financial and immigration services to another 3,000 people in our communities every year. Together our impact has been remarkably significant and we hope to continue making a difference in our community.  To that end, UNHP, FBHC and FBCS are working together as the Northwest Bronx Collaborative to build upon our significant successes, address the worsening economic issues and, together with neighborhood residents, secure a more prosperous future right here in the Northwest Bronx.