The Cambridge Community Foundation’s ‘We are Cambridge’ Annual Dinner on May 6, 2019 drew 350 civic leaders to the Charles Hotel to celebrate our city—its kindness and caring, inclusive diversity, and sense of possibilities. The community gathering drew the who’s who of Cambridge from all sectors—universities, nonprofits, businesses, philanthropists, as well as local artists celebrated for their spoken word represented by Regie Gibson, who opened the evening with a reading about what is to be American.
The changes that Cambridge is facing, with its booming economy and escalating real estate costs, and pride in our city’s values were underscored by all speakers.
“One measure of the justness of society is how it treats the least fortunate, the most vulnerable among us. When I look out tonight, I see many, many people who are committed to trying to do more for those who are less fortunate,” said President Lawrence S. Bacow. “That’s why you are here, that’s why I am here with you. We know we have the responsibility to leave the world a better place.”
Superintendent Elow, who grew up in Cambridge and is the highest ranking woman in the Cambridge Police Department, highlighted the changes she’s seen, from a disappearing middle class to the growing economic disparity, but she reminded the crowd of how responsive we are as a community. “I’m proud to serve a city and community that does not criminalize poverty, homelessness, substance abuse or mental health issues and is committed to working with other partners to help the most vulnerable in our community, while also working together to keep Cambridge a world-class city,” said Superintendent Elow.
Cities change, that’s a fact, but CCF President Geeta Pradhan asked the crowd to consider how we can live our values and ensure that those most prized are preserved as the city faces change. She cited the realities of losing middle income families, becoming a city of the rich and the poor, losing nonprofits because of escalating rents, and losing minority families who have lived here for generations.
“Cambridge has painstakingly created its heritage of inclusion. There’s an accessibility to experiences here that’s unique. It’s worth celebrating. It’s worth protecting for the future through philanthropy,” said Geeta Pradhan.
The evening was a rallying cry to all residents from all sectors to acknowledge our shared responsibility to protect our city and support populations most in need. This is the work of the Cambridge Community Foundation, who is a grantmaker to our nonprofits, a civic leader tackling pressing issues, and a philanthropic partner to those concerned about the wellbeing of our city.
President Bacow acknowledged the work of the foundation is his remarks: “The Cambridge Community Foundation is creating social capital. This is why your work is so important; this is why I want to say thank you for all you are doing to support this organization and support our city. I guarantee you Harvard will be a good partner with each and every one of you in these efforts.”
Click the arrows on the far left and far right to scroll through the photos
Lecturer, Literary Performer, Educator
President, Cambridge Community Foundation
Superintendent, Cambridge Police Department
Lawrence S. Bacow
President, Harvard University