We’ve awarded $468,000 to 66 nonprofits this fall through the Community Fund
Published On: December 10th, 2021
Photo of Breaktime, a nonprofit addressing youth homelessness.
December 13, 2021 | Cambridge, MA
The Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) has awarded $468,000 in grants to 66 community-based nonprofits to help the sector’s ongoing support of the economic, social, and emotional wellbeing of residents, many of whom are still grappling with the pandemic’s impact.
The grant recipients in this fall cycle of the Foundation’s biannual Community Fund grantmaking include longstanding nonprofit partners that the Foundation has supported for 25, 50, even 100 years as well as new partners addressing timely needs in Cambridge. Organizations focused on education and out-of-school time, urgent and basic needs, and economic security received approximately half of the total funding. Additional issue areas supported by the Community Fund include immigrant services, health and mental health, arts and culture, senior services, civic engagement, the education-innovation gap, and environmental and climate justice. Scroll down for a full list of grant recipients.
“Pandemic recovery remains out of reach for too many of our residents and families and as they continue to struggle meeting basic needs, we must continue to support the essential nonprofits, big and small, that directly assist those who live in and rely on Cambridge,” said Geeta Pradhan, Cambridge Community Foundation’s president. “Nonprofits are the glue that hold our community together and we are thankful for their dedication to Cambridge.”
While the majority of funding came from the Community Fund, the Foundation partnered with several, generous fund holders to increase the total dollars distributed.
Correction: In addition to the $468,000 in grants awarded, the Foundation awarded an additional $40,000 as part of a multiyear commitment to the work of the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition. Our total grantmaking through the Community Fund this fall is $508,000 in 66 grants. We regret this error in our reporting.
A Glimpse at Nonprofits in Action: Tackling Housing Insecurity
Nonprofits like Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to help residents with many urgent needs, including to prevent housing evictions and support tenants in precarious housing situations. In Cambridge strong collaborations between government and nonprofits helped stave off the evictions surge anticipated after the city’s moratorium was lifted last summer.
“What was really wonderful during the pandemic was everyone in the housing field jumped into high gear to keep people housed, pull together resources and information, work more collaboratively, and adapt processes to help as many people as we could,” said Susan Hegel, an attorney at GBLS’s Cambridge/Somerville office. Problem areas for housing security include rising construction costs that delay new affordable housing units; and immigrants previously employed in service jobs who remain unemployed, without benefits or federal subsidies.
Breaktime, a three-year-old nonprofit, is also fighting housing insecurity by helping young adults experiencing homelessness find transitional employment and financial empowerment.
“We call our model the Double Impact Initiative because we help young adults launch careers through purposeful transitional employment, at community-based nonprofits and LGBTQ+, Black- and Brown-owned small businesses, that support healthy, resilient communities,” said Ryan McCarthy, Breaktime’s strategy director.
There has been an uptick in young people in the Boston area experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, according to McCarthy.Additionally, the increases in people needing help have put strains on the systems serving them – making wait times for mental health and housing services much longer for the young adults who need them.
Cambridge Community Foundation Grantmaking at a Glance
Community Fund grant decisions are informed by a diverse committee of reviewers comprised of 20 community members and leaders from nonprofits, arts organizations, universities and schools, the CCF Board, and other sectors of our city. The review process is led by program committee co-chairs Lori Lander and Rev. Lorraine Thornhill.
Through the Community Fund, the Foundation invests in 150+ local nonprofits each yearas well as new and multi-year initiatives that align with the three pillars of the Foundation’s mission: shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness. It also supports community-based organizations through urgent needs funds and field of interest funds.
The Foundation awarded more than $3.5 million in grants during fiscal year 2021 in partnership with hundreds of generous donors, through the Community Fund’s steadfast, biannual grantmaking, the Cambridge COVID-19 Emergency Fund and other direct pandemic response efforts, Imagined in Cambridge! Social Innovation Award and Fund, the United Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants, Cambridge Artist Relief Fund, and the Cultural Capital Fund, launched in partnership with the City of Cambridge and the Wagner Foundation.
Just this fall, in addition to the $418,000 in Community Fund grants, the Foundation also awarded $25,000 to fiveemerging nonprofits through its third annual Imagined in Cambridge! Social Innovation Award;$32,500 in urgent grants to immigrant–serving nonprofits through its United Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants; and$44,000 to 11 local food efforts like neighborhood food pantries, community fridges, and grocery gift card giveawayslast month.
A weekly television program that addresses cultural, political, and practical issues, including proactive COVID-19 vaccine education and outreach activities help boost vaccination rates in Greater Boston.
The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) and its associated Mini-Grants program annually support local cartoonists by providing a marketplace to build their audiences, grants to support the development of new work, and educational programming to grow a public awareness of the knowledge and skills behind every graphic work.
CAA exhibits quality works of art and seeks to enrich lives and engage art enthusiasts and collectors. CAA also provides educational opportunities to its members and others to enhance their skills as artists and promote the appreciation of visual art.
The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra’s mission is to make great music accessible to diverse audiences and to harness the power of music to forge lasting relationships with our community. The CSO’s annual Family Concert will be performed on January 23, 2022.
Comedy performances, community outreach programs, executive coaching, corporate trainings, comedy school, and youth programming, where students from all walks of life learn the power of “Yes, and…” while training in the theater’s signature form of improv, stand-up, and sketch comedy. This funding is for high-school outreach programs.
Kendall Square Orchestra (K2O) is a Cambridge, MA, based volunteer community orchestra founded in 2018 with a mission to connect science and technology professionals through music to spark innovation and support causes related to healthcare, education, and equity.
The School promotes vibrant and inclusive programs impacting Cambridge and beyond by providing music to vulnerable populations, partnering with professional arts organizations, and presenting high-quality, accessible arts experiences including free public concerts and academic programming.
Cambridge Forum hosts free public discussions that inform and educate, so people can better explore the varied issues and ideas that shape our complex world, with an upcoming series highlighting Cambridge’s Black history.
Supporting 100 diverse adults to build civic engagement skills through our 3-month, 2-3 hour/week community leadership programs. Members then translate their learning into sustained action and systems change as part of our lifelong community of practice.
Working to end young adult homelessness through purposeful transitional employment and financial empowerment. This funding will help launch transitional employment partnerships with nonprofits in Cambridge.
An inclusive economic empowerment organization helping women business owners and aspiring female entrepreneurs launch and grow their business by providing greater access to the resources, tools, and support they need.
“You’re Worth It” at the CASPAR/Baycove Womanplace transitional residential recovery program in Cambridge helps clients build skills and confidence to foster a successful transition to employment and education/training programs.
Dedicated to the economic and social growth of immigrant communities in Boston, SAWC will use this grant for basic resource distribution (food drive, grocery gift cards) as well as to build a more robust organizational framework, increase marketing, and expand our educational sessions on mental health, technology, and income generation.
Support for Cambridge-based women of color entrepreneurs who are building great businesses and want help to scale, by providing long-term mentorship combined with tailored programming, peer support, and curated access to potential lenders and investors.
Support for the Passport to Black-owned Businesses event in Cambridge and Somerville on Small Business Saturday, as well as to the administrative costs associated with building the capacity of the Cambridge-Somerville Black Business Network as it grows and provides more resources to its members.
Empowering Womxn and People of Color in the media arts to develop careers in audio/video through job training and job placement. This grant supports the Loop Lab Media Arts Apprenticeship in 2022 for young people of color, with a focus on Cambridge residents.
Day and overnight summer camp, school-year programming and workshops for families and caregivers who work with children impacted by trauma or disability. This grant will help cover day camp costs and support scholarships for youngsters to attend overnight camps throughout New England.
This grant will support students who need academic support by providing them with a tutor in one or more areas, primarily: before-school drop-in math, the after-school Tutoring Center, the College & Career Mentor Program.
Expand afterschool and summer Young Leaders Program to a 3-year progressive leadership development experience, prioritizing the engagement of Cambridge youth ages 11-14 from historically marginalized and low-income communities.
The TeamUp program at the Fletcher Maynard Academy in Cambridge to support equitable access to play while building on the foundational health and social-emotional needs of vulnerable elementary school students, helping them heal from trauma, reconnect in school, and recover lost learning.
The Nature Connection’s mission is to improve the wellbeing of individuals and communities through the therapeutic use of nature. Goals are to improve participants’ psychological and social wellbeing while fostering environmental responsibility and an understanding of the human-nature relationship.
To ensure low-income cancer patients, immigrants and non-immigrants, receive high-quality care and effective cancer education through the CERI Personalized Patient Program and multi-language, simplified education programs.
Engaging diverse stakeholders within the underserved Black community in creating ongoing, multigenerational cross-sector dialogue that transforms the healthcare conversation and explores innovative and sustainable change to improve health and health provision at the individual, family, and community level.
Immigrant high school students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) and high school graduates in the College Success Program benefit from mentoring, post-secondary planning, job readiness training, internship opportunities, leadership development seminars, college success coaching and tutoring, and social-emotional support in a robust, 4–7-year wraparound model.
A multifaceted program for high-potential young people, especially those from underrepresented groups, to discover their passions, develop innovative mindsets and cultivate the skills to solve the problems they care most about.
Fostering excitement, confidence, and literacy in STEM for girls from underrepresented communities by providing free, experiential programs and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women-in-STEM mentors.
Math enrichment for K-8 students, focused on the children of Cambridge from groups underrepresented in STEM, with a goal to encourage students to enjoy solving challenging problems, and to be able to go into STEM-related careers when they get older.
Integrated services to individuals and families to empower them to overcome challenges, reach their potential and achieve their goals. The funding will bring high-quality math enrichment to elementary and middle-school students in Cambridge from underrepresented groups.
High-quality support and advocacy for children, adults, and families to develop and nurture safe, permanent relationships and maximize individual growth. Grant funds will support general operating costs related to our provision of social services to Cambridge residents, predominantly clients of our Developmental Disabilities program.
Casa Myrna delivers solutions to end domestic and dating violence through intervention, awareness, and prevention. This grant is for emergency assistance to domestic violence survivors and their families in Cambridge who continue to experience negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fenway Health advocates for and delivers innovative, equitable, accessible health care, supportive services, and transformative research and education. This grant’s purpose is to assist Youth on Fire in providing services to homeless and unstably housed youth.
With a mission to share in solving longstanding community problems using technology, Nananke aims to build micro houses and sustainable stationary housing using upcycled plastics and other recyclables.
Breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness by providing individuals and families with resources and opportunities to strengthen their self-confidence, achieve self-sufficiency, and participate in helping others. This grant supports their Children’s Clothing Exchange.
The Cambridge Community Foundation helped create the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition in 2015 with a mission to advance equity and justice in the community by strengthening the Cambridge nonprofit sector, building collective voice, and promoting collaboration.
We are the local giving platform supporting shared prosperity, social equity and cultural richness, with roots that go a century deep.
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.