Community foundations emerged in the early 1900s – a time of great wealth and disparity in America resulting from the impacts of industrialization and urbanization and the effects of war on cities. In Cambridge, a group of civic leaders established this community foundation in 1916. Our essence is best captured in the quote below:
The community foundation is a community partner that creates a better future for all by pursuing the community’s greatest opportunities and addressing the most critical challenges, inclusively uniting people, institutions and resources from throughout the community, and producing significant, widely shared and lasting results. [Taken from the FRAMEWORK for Community Leadership by the Community Foundation, Council on Foundations, Washington D.C.]
A defining aspect of this organization is its role as a neutral convener holding the vision of a vibrant, thriving and connected community. We seek to accomplish this in three principal ways: as a grantmaker, a partner in philanthropy, and as a civic leader. Our civic leadership role, consistent with the quote above, will focus on being a convener of people and ideas, a connector across populations and sectors, and a catalyst for positive change.