Cambridge Community Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the nation, established to make a difference in the lives of Cambridge residents. Created to serve as a vehicle for local giving and to address local needs, the Foundation has expanded its commitment to the power of philanthropy and to civic leadership over the past century.
A founding gift from cattleman John Parmenter was dedicated to college scholarships, enabling generations of students to study at Harvard College.
As the Foundation’s endowment grew through gifts and bequests, it expanded its range of activity. Since the 1950s, organized grantmaking to support nonprofit organizations has steadily increased. Last year, the Foundation awarded $1.3 million in grants. That support has also grown more strategic over time, focused on long-term impact and addressing critical community needs.
Cambridge today presents a significant conundrum to those who care about community. Famous as a leader in education, the City of Cambridge has also long been a national economic engine. Today it stands as the epicenter of a global innovation economy. Yet many residents continue to struggle. Homelessness and hunger remain chilling realities, and too many children grow up ill equipped to thrive in the very economy that drives the city and the region.
To address these critical challenges, the Foundation works to support systemic change seeking innovative ways to foster greater opportunity for all local residents.
This year, the Foundation marks its centennial. And begins its second century with a renewed commitment to using its historic roles as a convener, a grantmaker and a partner in philanthropy to serve and strengthen the community, addressing the challenges and opportunities that shape and drive this unique community.