Published On: March 5th, 2020


Help us find people working on innovative ideas in Cambridge

The application deadline for this year’s award (August 26) has passed and the application is now closed. Thank you to all who participated in this year’s competition. Join us for a live, virtual award ceremony announcing and celebrating this year’s winner on Thursday, October 8 at 5pm! Register here.

Cambridge Community Foundation is excited to announce our second Social Innovation Award competition, Imagined in Cambridge. As a funder of Cambridge nonprofits for more than a century, we are deeply rooted in the community—yet we are confident there are local ideas we don’t know about. Last year, we uncovered five award-winning ideas presenting innovative solutions to pressing social problems and we know there are more. We want to discover and foster the next generation of emerging leaders and ideas that will help shape our mission to support Cambridge’s shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness. Now more than ever, faced with two pandemics in our community—COVID-19 and racism—voices for change are needed.

Somewhere in Cambridge we know there is a student, an emerging nonprofit, a group of neighbors, or an entrepreneur tackling a problem, inventing a solution, and/or implementing a program that will improve the quality of life in Cambridge.

We’re looking for original ideas that exhibit creativity, daring, and ambition. We value light touch interventions—programs that can be implemented with small resources and create big impact. Help us find them!

The award winner will receive $5,000 and two runners-up will each receive $1,000. All three also will receive at least one pro bono consulting session with the Foundation and join a growing network of social entrepreneurs in the community. The winner and runners-up will be announced in October.

You may self-nominate below or nominate someone else by sending us their contact information.

Eligibility criteria for the 2020 Social Innovation Award

  • Program serves Cambridge
  • Must fill out application by due date: August 26, 2020 (by 11:59pm)
  • Individuals, students, groups, entrepreneurs, nonprofits encouraged to apply
  • 501c3 status is NOT REQUIRED
  • Previous CCF Community Fund grant recipients are NOT eligible to apply

Panel of judges

  • Vanessa Ly – Co-founder, Sisters Unchained; 2019 Social Innovation Award winner
  • Sumbul Siddiqui – Mayor, City of Cambridge
  • Rev. Ellis Washington – Pastor, St. Paul A.M.E. Church
  • Peter DiMuro – Executive Artistic Director, The Dance Complex
  • Eric Esteves – Executive Director, The Lenny Zakim Fund
  • Laura Feeney – Associate Director of Research & Training, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America at MIT
  • Lori Lander – Founder, Many Helping Hands 365; Artist; CCF board member (non-voting judge)

To Apply

You may self-nominate or nominate someone else by sending us their contact information.

To nominate yourself: Apply online here.

To nominate someone else: Send the nominee’s name and email address to [email protected]. We will send them an application.

Questions? Please feel free to contact Jenny White, [email protected], 617.576.9966.

The 2020 application is now closed.