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.
Foundation President Geeta Pradhan is working on a report that will gather together challenges facing the Cambridge community as well as the remarkable resources available here, developed by the City of Cambridge and other agents in a city rich in information and expertise. A key partner in the report is Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a leading regional agency created to promote smart growth, healthy communities and an informed public in the 100-plus cities and towns of Metropolitan Boston. The essential theme of the report is the idea of Shared Prosperity. The small scale of the city and the depth of talent, a tradition of creativity and innovation, and high levels of civic engagement suggest great opportunity to position Cambridge for success. Stay tuned for the report, which will be released at a forum later this fall.
A public forum about building pathways into the regional Innovation Economy for local youth and older workers drew a capacity crowd to the Kendall Square Marriott in April. In response, the Cambridge Community Foundation plans a series of conversations to act on ideas surfaced at the forum. The original event was hosted by the Foundation, with partners including Just-A-Start Corporation, Kendall Square Association, Metro North Regional Employment Board, SkillWorks and the City of Cambridge, including The Agenda for Children and the Cambridge Expanded Learning STEAM Network. Sponsors lined up to support the gathering, including Akami, Biogen, Cambridge Center for Adult Education, Cambridge College, Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition, Cambridge Public Schools, the Cambridge Science Festival, Cambridge Innovation Center, Google, Harvard University, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lesley University, Boston Marriott Cambridge, MassCan, Microsoft, MIT, New England Venture Capital Association, Novartis and The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The conversations, described as ‘salons,’ will bring together interested people from the different sectors among the partners and sponsors to follow up on ideas about ways to create greater opportunity by better connecting the community to the extraordinary and dynamic economy that is centered in Kendall Square.
The Cambridge Community Foundation has announced grants to 51 local organizations totaling $334,336 in its spring grantmaking docket. Funding decisions continued to reflect the following goals: Building bodies of work that create opportunities for collective action and measurement; Supporting the Foundation’s goal of increasing impact in the community; Giving priority to agencies that offer high-quality programs and a scale aimed at supporting progress on key issues or populations. The Foundation envisions a vibrant, diverse and inclusive city with a culture of giving and with opportunity for all. As a civic leader, the Foundation works in close partnership with donors and stakeholders to achieve that vision by connecting people, knowledge and resources to catalyze change in the city of Cambridge. Grantmaking is an important part of that work and reflects the strength and breadth of nonprofit organizations serving local residents. The spring grants were made in nine areas, including three grants that align with Foundation initiatives. They include: Support for the Family Independence Initiative, to expand a program with a robust record of success in helping low-income families achieve independence and make economic progress by tapping their own insights, hard work and social networks. Three grants to strengthen the idea [...]
S.T.E.A.M. education connects technology, art to create ‘ladders’ for students, adults in search of careers drawing on 21st century skills CAMBRIDGE Just how important is the innovation economy to those who live and work in Cambridge and the surrounding region? Almost 40 percent of the state’s workforce is employed in the innovation sector, far more than any other state. Wages in the innovation sector are typically much higher than average wages, one reason for the robust economy in Massachusetts. Massachusetts itself was ranked the top innovation hub in the country by Bloomberg News earlier this year. In turn, the innovation economy itself is driven by trained talent – employees entering the workforce with critical skills. At the same time, there is a growing need to give young people access to learn the skills that provide access to opportunity and, ultimately, a share in the prosperity innovation generates. One result has been the development of S.T.E.M. education – the letters stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math – which represents the effort to prepare young people, or adults with skills that fit the needs of the 21st century knowledge economy. S.T.E.A.M. takes that strategy a step further by bringing the [...]
New leadership introduces streamlined application process for grantees The Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) announced grants in response to key issues that affect local residents and the community as a whole. Grants reflected six themes or areas of interest, including: Economic Opportunity and Mobility, Educational Opportunity, Hunger and Homelessness, Arts and Cultural Vitality, Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, and Elder Support. Grants were also made with respect to the Environment, and in a category labeled Serving the Underserved. “One overriding goal is to give support to organizations that offer both high quality programs and the ability to drive change in issues that affect residents,” said Geeta Pradhan, president of the foundation. “We are looking to move the needle on key issues.” Pradhan was named to head the foundation in July. She succeeded Robert S. Hurlbut Jr., who retired after more than 20 years overseeing the city’s only community foundation. What once required multiple submissions and a complex set of deadlines for organizations seeking support from the Cambridge Community Foundation was simplified this year. Now there is a single application for four separate funds, and an online form means far less paperwork. Meanwhile, the grants approved by the foundation’s board on November [...]