Through its first two cycles, our Imagined in Cambridge! Social Innovation Award identified 10 winning ideas offering innovative solutions to big social problems – but behind the scenes, we heard more than 100 creative project ideas, each deserving a chance to grow and help our community.
That‘s why we recently launched the Imagined in Cambridge! Fund, a microgrant opportunity for all past award applicants that to date has awarded $14,000 to support 28 local, social innovators – 20 of which identify as BIPOC-led. Behind each $500 microgrant is a unique, creative person or group fueled by social justice, creativity, culture, building community, and more. Scroll down for a full list of microgrant recipients.
Innovators have put microgrant dollars to use, in a variety of ways, to help advance their project to “the next level”. Cambridge resident Tony Clark, whose idea to launch a podcast called ‘The People’s Classroom’ to engage more citizens in local civic life, used the funds to purchase podcast equipment. Classical musician Dana Ianculovici paid forward her microgrant to hire a local composer to workshop an original musical performance, The Wizard is Us!, which she hopes to present to the Cambridge community this fall. Other innovators leveraged funds to get the word out about their work by building a social media presence, covering print costs, or making website fixes. A few projects, including Good Bank, Kings Table, and Cambridge mutual aid network are turning around the dollars to give to community members through cash grants, intern stipends, or artist fees.
We’re incredibly grateful to Verizon and a Cambridge family whose founding generosity seeded this Fund to help advance burgeoning ideas that better our community. And we thank the many donors who, through the power of collective giving, continue to grow the fund with gifts of all sizes.
“At Verizon, we care about helping people realize their potential,” said Verizon Community Engagement Director Cathleen Finn. “Cambridge is known for innovation, and we’re glad to support efforts like the Foundation’s that help spur innovation at an early stage, when people really need support to develop or scale their ideas.”
Together with Verizon and all the Fund’s supporters, we celebrate these extraordinary innovators and look forward to seeing their projects grow and thrive in Cambridge – and beyond. Look out as we spotlight more of their stories in the weeks to come.
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Today, the Foundation supports more than 150 local nonprofits annually, conducts research and initiates cross-city conversations, and serves as a collaborative philanthropic partner to donors, nonprofits, businesses, and engaged citizens, helping to address community needs.