Published On: April 10th, 2018

$535,000 awarded to 62 local nonprofits this spring

The Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) is distributing $535,000 in grants this spring to more than 60 nonprofits, including $130,000 for the Family Independence Initiative (FII), the largest grant in this cycle, to help advance social and economic mobility for local low-income families.  This is the second cycle of grant making this year, bringing CCF’s support of local non-profits to over $1 Million dollars to date.  Every year, the CCF distributes approximately $1.3 Million to support community organizations throughout the city, CCF’s special initiatives, and organizations supported by donor-advised funds.

The only foundation focused exclusively on the needs of Cambridge residents, CCF and its nonprofit partners support a wide range of services, and, this year, focused on addressing the urgent needs of local residents, including immigrant families and workers.

“We are seeing growing community needs related to issues of economic security and immigrant issues that threaten the wellbeing of families, children, workers and the immigrant population in Cambridge,” said Geeta Pradhan, president of the Cambridge Community Foundation.  “We received a record number of requests from 100 organizations seeking funding this spring.  The Foundation and its donors are committed to helping as many organizations as we can and scaling up initiatives such as FII to help families increase economic security and address the greatest needs in our community.”

In addition to supporting nonprofits through grants, the CCF established the Cambridge Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants this spring to provide funding for nonprofits offering legal services to DREAMers protected by DACA and asylum seekers, and to protect children left behind due to the deportation of their immigrant parents.  The Foundation is working to raise $500,000 to address this pressing humanitarian issue.

The Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) is a first-time CCF grant recipient.  According to Anita Sharma, Executive Director of PAIR, the harsh changes in immigrant law policies and anti-immigrant rhetoric have created a dramatic uptick in the need for services and information.  PAIR added three new staff members this year because they had so many requests for legal and education services, resulting in the delivery of 450 community education sessions, alone.

“We have a moral imperative to step up and provide free legal education so immigrants know their rights, know what to expect if detained or put in deportation proceedings, and have access to free legal assistance,” said Sharma.  “This grant means a lot to PAIR.  Our goals are to build and foster relationships with community organizations, like the Foundation, to assist and support these very vulnerable populations.”

The CCF has been supporting nonprofits in Cambridge for more than 100 years, beginning with funding for local, low-income youth to attend Harvard College, which continues to this day.  Nearly half of the nonprofits receiving funding in this spring cycle have been supported by CCF for decades.

Adolescent Consultation Services, Inc. (ACS), received its fortieth grant this year. ACS serves approximately 500 children per year through the Cambridge, Lowell, Framingham, and Waltham Juvenile Courts. The demand for their services is high and referrals continue to increase. “Both the Foundation and ACS are focused on making the most impact with the resources we have,” said Robyn Eastwood, Director of Development of ACS. “By the time these kids get to us, they are in crisis.  To have sustainable, reliable funding means we can continue our work and provide essential services without the added worry of always needing to search for new funding.  We need to grow and this financial help allows us to focus on that growth.”

The Family Independence Initiative is a national nonprofit with a goal of trusting and investing in the initiative and capacity of low-income families, allowing them to move themselves out of poverty.  This is achieved by creating an environment where families come together, empower themselves and improve their lives in their own ways, by setting goals and finding solutions to financial problems, and providing mentoring and access to information and data driven resources.  The $130,000 investment from CCF and its partners this spring will allow FII to expand services to reach an additional 100 Cambridge families this year.  This is the second of CCF’s multi-year commitment to FII, which has engaged 100 families in Cambridge to date.

About the Cambridge Community Foundation:

As the local giving platform for Cambridge– the only foundation focused exclusively on Cambridge– the Cambridge Community Foundation connects sectors across the community, to highlight emerging and critical needs, and catalyze efforts– from fundraising and grant making, to civic engagement– to ensure resources are focused where they can make the greatest difference.  Inspired by Cambridge’s innovation, cultural richness, and generosity, the Cambridge Community Foundation strives to promote shared prosperity and social equity across our community.

Recipients of CCF grants this spring include:

Immigrant / Legal Services

KIND Inc. $10,000 for Access to Justice, Kids in Need of Defense serves unaccompanied children who enter the US immigration system alone and strives to ensure that no such child appears in court without representation. Also, in partnership with Cambridge Health Alliance, a paralegal will conduct outreach at teen health clinics and with educational providers.

Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project, Inc. $5,000 for Community “Know Your Rights” for Immigrants which is an initiative to empower immigrants to understand and use their constitutional rights regardless of their immigration status. The PAIR Project provides free legal representation to asylum seekers and immigrants unjustly detained.

Shelter Legal Services Foundation / Veterans Legal Services $4,000 for Veterans Legal Clinics which provide free and accessible legal services to promote self-sufficiency, stability, and financial security of homeless and low-income veterans.

Adbar Ethiopian Women’s Alliance $6,500 for an early reading initiative focused on 2-5 year-olds and a computer clinic that focuses on computer literacy.

Irish International Immigrant Center $5,000 for legal services for immigrant youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Center offers free legal help directly to schools, shelters, community organizations, as well as educating the adults who work with at-risk youth.

Urgent / Basic Need

Bridge Over Troubled Waters $7,500 for Street Outreach and Mobile Medical Van programs to connect runaway, homeless and street youth with services to reduce their risk of long-term homelessness.

Community Servings $6,000 for Nutrition Program for Cambridge Residents Affected by an Acute Life-Threatening Illness.

Cradles to Crayons $5,000 for a partnership between Food For Free and CTC’s Everyday Essentials program which provides clothing, school supplies, and other items children need.

Emerge $3,750 for the Counseling Scholarship Fund, which allows low-income and unemployed people to complete the abuser education program.

FamilyAid Boston $5,000 for the Family-to-Family Project, which supports families at risk of homelessness through flexible funding grants and comprehensive case management.

The Friday Café $2,000 for a welcoming space where homeless and housed neighbors can gather and get to know each other. The café offers food & coffee, rest & resources to people living on the margins, as well as community.

Harvard Square Churches Meal Program $4,000 to assist a four member staff team, three stipended homeless persons, and numerous volunteers, serve nutritious meals to 90-140 homeless and underserved people weekly.

Heading Home $5,000 for the Susan Duley House, which serves single homeless women through permanent, supportive housing and intensive case management.

Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP)/Spare Change News $8,000 to support an Executive Director as HEP improves their business model to avoid financial trouble connected to running a print newspaper in an era of online journalism.

Metro Housing Boston $7,500 for the Center for Hoarding Intervention which provides intensive case management for low-income residents struggling with hoarding disorder and at risk of eviction, as well as training for service providers.

New Communities Services, Inc $5,000 to support a collaboration with the new Cambridge Warming Center to reach out and eventually offer permanent housing to homeless elders and adult disabled persons.

On The Rise, Inc. $7,500 for Keep The Keys, a housing retention program for formerly-homeless women, which provides support groups, home visits and other services to chronically homeless women as they move into their own apartments.

The Outdoor Church of Cambridge, Inc. $2,500 for street outreach to homeless people and services, including providing food, toiletries, clothing.

Solutions at Work, Inc. $7,500 for the Children’s Clothing Exchange, where low-income people can swap outgrown children’s clothing, and SolutionsWear, which provides interview appropriate clothing for low-income adults.

Women’s Educational Center, Inc. $5,000 for the Drop-In Program for Low-Income, Homeless and Abused Women.

STEAM / Addressing Education-Innovation Gap

Cambridge Community Television $15,000 for Youth Media Program, which promotes healthy youth development by providing predominantly under-resourced young people with training and support to express themselves creatively, as well as develop valuable and practical career skills.

Science Club for Girls — $7,500 for the Science Club for Girls, to help the twenty-year old local nonprofit to grow its fundraising base, plan for a fall relaunch of programs, and explore partnership opportunities with organizations that are committed to the mission of fostering excitement, confidence and literacy in STEM for girls from underrepresented communities.


Cambridge At Home (dba Cambridge Neighbors) $2,000 for On the Move which provides subsidized taxi rides to elders in a program dedicated to helping aging seniors stay in the homes and neighborhoods they love.

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services $3,000 for Evening, Weekend and Emergency Home-delivered Meals, which serves elders who require more nutritional assistance than the government-funded Meals on Wheels.

VNA of Eastern MA $8,000 for Senior Supportive Housing and Services to help cover services and supplies not covered by insurance.

Health / Mental Health

Adolescent Consultation Services, Inc. $5,000 for Direct Mental Health Services for Court-Involved Children and their Families including: specialized psychological evaluations, counseling, and advocacy at no cost to families.

CW Taekwondo at Boston $2,500 for Martial Arts Outreach Program, which reaches into the community connecting youth to world-class movement arts education at an affordable price and access to life skills (bullying and stranger danger).

MetaMovements Community Programs $2,500 for Seasoned Salseros, a free program for elders to build community and improve health through Salsa dance and story sharing. Young people participate with the seniors as well.

Parenting Journey $4,000 for Parenting Groups: evidence-based, therapeutic supports that address the the parenting challenges families in poverty face and their impact on wellness.

Self Esteem Boston Educational Institute $2,500 for Success at Womanplace, a program that builds self-esteem and essential life skills of homeless and disadvantaged women so they can recover from drugs & alcohol.

Strategies for Youth, Inc. $5,000 for Juvenile Justice Jeopardy, a computer-based game that uses role plays and scenario-based questions to challenge youth’s assumptions and rethink their strategies when responding to authority figures. The police department, youth centers, and school clubs are interested in using this game with Cambridge youth.

VNA Hospice & Palliative Care $3,000 for Meeting End-of-Life Needs for terminally ill Cambridge residents and their loved ones.

Education / Out-of-School Time

Agenda for Children$50,000 for the Agenda for Children from CCF and its partner, the City Fund, to support Cambridge-based out-of-school time providers and the families, youth and children they serve.

Afterworks $4,000 for scholarships to the afterschool program, providing high-quality care; tutoring and homework help; inclusion and cross-cultural understanding through the arts; and support for working parents.

AGM Summer Fund $20,000 for Cambridge camps.  This donor collaborative was established to steward the fair and equitable distribution of resources to ensure access to summer opportunities for underserved youth.

Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee, Inc. $5,000 for FAFSA Application Completion and Loan Debt Reduction Project, serving racial and ethnic minority households, especially those with limited English Proficiency, first generation college students and low-income households.

College Success Initiative $15,000 for Campus-Based College Success Coaching Program, a city-wide effort to support low-income graduates of CRLS, Just-A-Start Youth Build, and Cambridge Learning Center’s Bridge to College Program to help them complete a college-level credential within 6 years at a rate equal to their higher-income peers.

Discovering Justice, The James D. St. Clair Court Public Education Project $2,500 for a K-8 literacy-based experiential social studies and civics curriculum that gives students a deeper understanding of democracy.

Horizons for Homeless Children $3,000 for 3 Play Spaces in family shelters in Cambridge which are developmentally appropriate and trauma-informed, “kid-friendly” spaces lead by volunteer activity leaders.

Girls’ LEAP $2,500 for Lifetime Empowerment and Awareness Program, which teaches physical safety skills and socio-emotional skills to develop girls’ self-awareness, conflict resolution skills, courage, and self-esteem.

Mass Audubon’s Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary $1,500 for Plants and Animals of Local Environments Project, which takes place at the CPS Maynard Ecology Center at Fresh Pond and serves all second grade classrooms in Cambridge.

Phillips Brooks House Association: CYEP $3,500 for Cambridge Youth Enrichment Program, which offers seven weeks of affordable summer programming to 160 low-income children from three Cambridge housing developments.

uAspire $5,000 for College Affordability Advising for high school seniors in Cambridge. The goal is to ensure matriculation in an affordable postsecondary program.

Economic Security / Employment

Family Independence Initiative — $130,000 for FII to scale up their support of Cambridge-based families by investing in the initiative and capacity of low-income families, allowing them to move themselves out of poverty.  The CCF and its partners are supporting FII in their goal to engage 400 Cambridge-based families by 2020.

CommonWealth Kitchen $7,500 for CWKendall, a retail storefront in Kendall Square that will be offered to CWK’s member businesses that are owned primarily by low-income women, immigrants, and people of color. CWK is a nonprofit food business incubator focused on breaking down barriers to economic mobility.

Compass Working Capital $7,500 for Family Self-Sufficiency Program, which supports families that receive assistance through Cambridge Public Housing to build assets and financial capabilities as a pathway out of poverty.

Found in Translation $3,500 for Language Access Fellowship Medical Interpreter Certificate Training and Job Placement Program, this innovative nonprofit enables low-income and homeless bilingual women to launch careers as professional Medical Interpreters and at the same time addresses a major language barrier to health care by providing interpreters.

Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House $15,000 to build capacity for Wrap-Around Services to strengthen and empower community by addressing economic, social and political inequities that shape the lives and futures of Port residents.

Early Childhood

Community Action Agency of Somerville $10,000 for Early Childhood Teacher Training Program, which trains parent volunteers as paid substitutes, providing them income and a career path while increasing the number of trained teachers.

Families First $4,000 for Power of Parenting, a parenting education program with an interactive curiculum that increases the number of program hours provided & the impact on under-resourced families.

Math Talk $5,000 for Math Talk APP + MathScapes, which support parents and teachers to engage children 3-7 in developing an understanding of core STEM concepts and provides geolocation specific prompts in public spaces.

Civic Engagement / Volunteerism

Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse $20,500 to find, inspire, inform and match adults who wish to volunteer with satisfying and needed volunteer positions serving Cambridge residents and providing workshops for volunteer managers.

The Port Café $2,000 for coordination in a space which connects neighbors from the Port community through food and community building.

Arts & Culture

Actors’ Shakespeare Project $2,500 for Community Engagement Programs such as free pop-up performances in public venues and reduced tickets for low- income residents for performances of Much Ado About Nothing.

Cambridge Center for Adult Education $2,500 for Blacksmith House Poetry Series which includes 8 programs in fall & spring. This spring’s series will devote its 1st reading to “Emerging Writers’ Night.”

Cambridge Jazz Festival $2,000 for a festival expansion to include a Saturday program featuring women in jazz.

Central Square Theater $10,000 for Community Connectivity and Education, helping launch Youth Underground’s new multi-year civic theater project and audience outreach for a co-production with The Front Porch Arts Collective.

Dance Complex, Inc. $12,500 for All In Movement, a pilot that removes barriers to dance. In addition to new workshops and access classes, AIM brings movement arts focused on health, empowerment, esteem-building to the neighborhood.

Gallery 263, Inc. $2,500 to grow the Gallery’s capacity to ensure it can continue to provide high-quality, low cost artistic programming to the community for years to come.

José Mateo Ballet Theatre $5,000 for the 9th Dance for World Community Festival Week, June 5-10, 2018 in Harvard Square, including a Dance on Film series, panel discussions, workshops and a full day of free dance performances and classes.

Multicultural Arts Center $4,000 for the Arts & Community Dialogues Program, which uses the arts and facilitated dialogue to discuss issues that engage and impact the community.

Shelter Music Boston $2,500 for Transformative Concerts at CASPAR Emergency Shelter which are the work of highly skilled professional musicians. Monthly performances create a sense of community built on the relationships developed between shelter guests, shelter staff, and musicians.

Survivor Theatre Project $2,000 for 2018 Healing Through Creative Arts Workshop Series, which aims to expand public awareness on sexual violence and promote access to healing resources for survivors of sexual violence.

For more information, please contact:

Lauren Marshall

Director of Marketing and Civic Engagement

Cambridge Community Foundation


[email protected]