September 29, 2017 Dear friends, I write to ask for your help with the relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Massachusetts has the 5th largest population of Puerto Ricans in the continental United States, and many call Cambridge home. The effects of the devastating hurricane will be felt in Puerto Rico, and in the Commonwealth as people migrate to Massachusetts. The Cambridge Community Foundation will be directing gifts to UNICEF USA's Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico and Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico, both of which will provide critical support to our neighbors in Puerto Rico. Gifts to UNICEF will provide immediate relief in Puerto Rico. Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico will work to quickly aggregate philanthropic capital from corporations, foundations and individual donors and deploy those resources to well vetted and effective relief, recovery and resettlement organizations on a grassroots level. Gifts may be made online here. If you wish to direct a gift from a donor advised fund, please contact Usha Pasi at 617.576.9966. We thank you for your compassion at this time of great need. Geeta Pradhan President
Across the world, the image of America is one of abundant diversity, expansive opportunity, and remarkable inclusion. Indeed, that is what has made this country the nation we know today. Waves of immigrants seeking a better life fled their homelands to make America their home.… those waves of immigrants were our ancestors. Some came here seeking freedom from tyranny, from religious and other persecution, and from poverty. Some were brought here forcibly on slave ships, while others came here to pursue education or work in the most advanced sectors of the global economy. With grit, resilience, and hard work they made a better life for themselves and their children. Somewhat obscured in the current conversation, is the reality that the migration we know from the founding of the nation mirrors what we see today. The Indian Tribes or Native Americans were here earlier. And as waves of immigrants came in, we built a country with our rules, our customs, our laws. We legitimized ourselves! Today, every community from Charlottesville to Cambridge, and Long Beach to New York offers a richness of cultural diversity and vitality. According to wallethub.com, Cambridge ranks 31st among mid-sized cities in its diversity ranking [...]
What Does Cambridge Mean to You? September 15 was a chance to reinvent a precious commodity—the Cambridge parking space—as a way to get to know members of our community in a fresh and creative way. Over 120 spaces around the city were reimagined as extensions of organizations, some quite familiar, some newly visible. Cambridge Community Foundation set up shop on Mass Ave close to CCTV (which hauled a sofa and sound equipment out of its office and went to work interviewing folks right there in public). The Foundation used a question we have explored before: What Does Cambridge Mean to You? And invited passersby to tell us their thoughts. We met tourists in town from South Carolina, new students at local universities, friends we know from Cambridge city government and residents savoring what turned out to be a beautiful early fall day. It seemed such a Cantabrigian concept although it is, in fact, an international event. Here are a few images gathered through the day. Meanwhile we at the Foundation are already mulling how to celebrate Parking Day next year.
A path forward. On Saturday, August 19, 2017 over forty thousand people marched in Boston to send a clear message—“hatred, bigotry, racism have no place in our community!” This event was a rally for equity, justice, tolerance, humanity… for love, inclusion, liberty …for a life free of discrimination, persecution, and fear. It stressed the essential constitutional and humanistic idea that “Otherness” was normal, but inciting hatred and violence against the “Other” was not. The voices in this spectacular event echo the values held by the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) since it was founded in 1916. CCF has worked relentlessly with the quintessential “Other”, the underprivileged, vulnerable, immigrant communities in Cambridge, to secure a starting foothold in their lives. We are now confronted with the broader issues beyond those first steps: How do we sustain the spirit of generosity in a community whose long-term success depends on social and economic interdependence? How do we deepen the discourse of Cambridge as an engine of innovation to embrace the breadth of this community? The Foundation serves the community as a neutral convener, connecting people, knowledge and resources, and strives to be a catalyst and a partner to promote the desired changes [...]
Between 2010 and 2013, mitigation funds were pledged to the City of Cambridge through zoning amendments and agreements with developers. To put these Community Benefits funds to effective use, the City Council suggested the idea that the City partner with the nonprofit community to expand services that benefit Cambridge residents and help address residents’ unmet needs. Since the idea’s conception, the City worked with the Cambridge Community Foundation, a charitable organization focused on serving Cambridge residents, and representatives of the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition to discuss collaboration on the development of a transparent and inclusive framework for understanding the community’s needs. The first step in developing a plan to distribute Community Benefits funds was to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment. To undertake the needs assessment, the City released a Request for Proposals and subsequently hired TDC. In September 2015, the City Manager created the Needs Assessment Advisory Committee to support and guide TDC. The Advisory Committee was composed of City staff from multiple departments and representatives of both the Cambridge Community Foundation and the local nonprofit community. The Advisory Committee helped TDC to refine the research plan strategy and an inclusive community engagement process. The Cambridge Community [...]
Read the Report Can Cambridge retain its culture of diversity and opportunity in a dynamic innovation economy? Foundation calls for an agenda for ‘Shared Prosperity’ March 1 2017 A new report by Cambridge Community Foundation charts the impact of trends in housing, education and income disparity that threaten the city’s prized culture of diversity and inclusion, even as its enviable role in a regional innovation economy drives soaring levels of prosperity. A review of relevant data raises questions about whether this growth actually benefits city residents–or whether a growing financial disconnect means many residents can no longer afford the city they live in. Fully 78 percent of current low-income households in Cambridge are “cost burdened,” spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Over half spend over 50 percent of total income on housing. They qualify as “severely cost burdened.” In 2015, Just 4 percent of the city’s rental housing stock was affordable for a family with two workers earning $75,000 a year in total – in a community with a median annual household income of just over $79,000. The cost of buying a home is inevitably further out of reach: just 2 percent of single-family [...]
A new report by the Cambridge Community Foundation draws attention to three powerful trends now shaping our city's future: increasing income inequality, rapidly rising housing costs and persistent educational disparities. Where are these trends taking Cambridge? Can our city-with its booming innovation economy and exceptional community assets-keep its historic commitment to social justice and create a future in which prosperity is shared across the entire community? Please join us for a community conversation on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 8:00-8:30 a.m. Breakfast and registration 8:30-8:50 a.m. Welcome and a Presentation of the Report Findings 8:50 - 10:10 a.m. A Panel of local Thought Leaders MODERATOR: Marjorie Decker, Massachusetts State Representative, 25th Middlesex District PANELISTS: Randy Albelda, Graduate Program Director and Professor of Economics, College of Liberal Arts: Senior Fellow Center for Social Policy, UMass Boston Moacir Barbosa, Director of Community Engagement, Health Resources in Action Barry Bluestone, Russell B. and Andree Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy, School of Public Police and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University Ronald F. Ferguson, Fellow, Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and Faculty Director of the Achievement Gap Initiative, Harvard University 10:10 - 10:50 a.m. Community Table Conversation 10:50 - 11:00 a.m. Highlights and Closing FOR [...]
As we approach 2017 we want to thank you on behalf of our grantees for your energy, for giving and for your commitment to the future of Cambridge. What's coming in 2017? Save the date for the Cambridge Community Foundation Centennial Gala: March 28, 2017 - Our centennial gala will take place on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 6-9pm, 75 Amherst Street, Building E-14, 6th Floor, Cambridge, MA, located at the MIT Media Lab. It will be a great night for Cambridge and the Foundation. Please mark your calendars! Our shared prosperity project will debut in February with our report on Cambridge - a close look at key indicators that underlie fundamental aspects of community, opportunity, and innovation. We look forward to distributing the report, and hearing your thoughts on shaping the agenda for change. A new website is on its way! 2016 Update - $1,000,000 in grants for Cambridge Reflecting our grantmaking strategy, we continue to respond to the community for urgent need, innovation, and to provide essential support for the nonprofits that bring hope, opportunity, and high demand services to city residents. We have streamlined our grantmaking process, and now offer grants for our community fund and strategic initiatives. [...]
In 2013, with support from the Cambridge Community Foundation and the Harvard Aggasiz Community Fund, senior leadership from a wide spectrum of nonprofit organizations in Cambridge began meeting regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern in providing services to residents of Cambridge. Out of these initial meetings the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition was created. The unified message that helped set the stage for this work was: “Cambridge nonprofit leadership is ready to build strong partnerships— with each other and with other sectors—in order to meet changing needs, close the opportunity gap, and improve the quality of life for the community.” Over the past three years, the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition has held community- wide summits, established a Steering Committee, and hired a coordinator. They have worked with the City to develop and strengthen the upcoming Community Needs Assessment study and are working towards a three-year strategic plan to take their ideas to actionable agendas. The Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition’s stated purpose is to strengthen the Cambridge nonprofit sector by building collective voice and promoting collaboration in order to meet changing needs and improve the quality of life for the community. Their vision, guided by principles of collaboration, inclusion, transparency, strategy and leadership is [...]
A grant from the Cambridge Community Foundation is sending 220 CRLS students to take part a conversation with noted playwright/performer Anna Deavere Smith that draws from her new work Notes from the Field: Doing Time on Education at the American Repertory Theater (ART). The work drills down on what has been called the school-to-prison pipeline, a system in which students of color are punished, removed from classrooms and sent into the juvenile justice system in far larger numbers than their white peers. The students will have a chance to take part in a “talkback” with the author, who has earned a national reputation for her works, which create dramatic explorations of topical issues drawing on people’s testimony. A matinee on September 14 will include the performance and post-show.