Published On: January 15th, 2020
Photo courtesy of Cambridge School Volunteers.

Could one of your New Year’s resolutions be to more actively participate in the community? In a big world with many challenges, taking local action is a way each of us can make a difference — by impacting one family, one nonprofit, one cause, or one community. If you live, work, or spend time in Cambridge, consider giving back to the community in 2020. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Gift a little of your time.

Consider using some of your free time to do something positive getting better connected with our community (and have fun). Do you have MLK Day off from work? Invite family or friends to join you at the MLK Day of Service (Monday, Jan. 20 in Central Square) to make valentines for seniors, create fleece blankets and scarves for community members experiencing homelessness, and more.

There are also numerous year-round volunteering opportunities. Those who care about addressing the climate crisis, can join the Charles River Conservancy for clean-ups of public parks and recreational areas. People interested in supporting the next generation can make meaningful connections with youth through Cambridge School Volunteers. You can find more causes where you can contribute your passions and skills at

2. Become an advocate for a nonprofit with a cause you care about.

If you’re short on time, you can still help nonprofits serving your community! There are so many incredible nonprofits that serve Cambridge (here’s a sampling of some of the nonprofits we partner with) — and they’re fighting homelessness and hunger, supporting youth to thrive, invigorating our city’s arts and culture, and much more.

Follow organizations of interest on social media or start a social crowdfunding campaign to support the work that you’re most passionate about; attend their local events, including performances; and tell your friends, colleagues, and neighbors about some of our community nonprofits and how they might get involved, too.

3. Donate surplus clothes that your neighbors might greatly benefit from.

Why not start the new year tidying up your home and making someone else’s life a little brighter? Your unused items might just meet another family’s or individual’s urgent need. Great nonprofits to donate to include Solutions at Work, which provides free professional attire for people experiencing homelessness to wear on job interviews; Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services, which serves isolated elders in our community; or CASPAR, a homeless shelter near Central Square that runs winter clothing and boot drives to benefit people trying to survive on the streets. Contact these nonprofits or others about donating your gently used clothing to ensure that it gets to people who need it most.

4. Get more civically engaged.

While this goal might encompass many things, it can certainly involve taking small steps, like voting on election day, reading your local news source like Cambridge Day and the Cambridge Chronicle or attending a City Hall meeting or event. It could also mean joining the conversation in person or on social media — and getting your voice heard on important issues that affect many members of our community, like immigrants’ legal rights, the housing crisis, or the need for greater equity in educational and workforce opportunities.

5. Give to Cambridge today.

If you love Cambridge, join us! The Cambridge Community Foundation is a century-old civic leader that infuses grants into 150 nonprofits that are involved in all aspects of life in Cambridge, from education and employment opportunities to health and mental health services and urgent/basic needs to civic engagement and arts and culture. By leveraging collective giving, together we can build a stronger Cambridge of shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness. Become a Cambridge Community Foundation donor this year. Go to Cambridge Community Foundation