The Cambridge Community Foundation’s (CCF) mission is to connect people, knowledge and resources to catalyze change and improvement in Cambridge. We aim to foster a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive Cambridge with a culture of giving and opportunity for all. To fulfill this mission and vision, the Foundation provides funds to a broad and balanced group of nonprofit programs that contribute effectively to the well-being of the people of Cambridge, offers donors an opportunity to invest in their community through a variety of responsibly-managed funds, and generates civic leadership through convening, dialogue and research.

The Cambridge Community Foundation’s Board of Overseers is charged with establishing this mission and the policies that enable the Foundation to achieve it.  The board is also entrusted with managing all Foundation property for the purpose of building and maintaining its philanthropic endowment and operations to meet the mission.

Major Board Responsibilities

In order that the Foundation fulfill this mission, members of the Board of Overseers are expected to provide stewardship in the following vital areas:


The Board conducts the corporate affairs and exercises all corporate powers. Particular management tasks are delegated to the Foundation’s president and board committees, but the ultimate direction for the organization remains with the board. Because of this legal responsibility, members of the board must perform their duties with care and act in good faith.


The Board has ultimate responsibility for the financial solvency of the Foundation. Board members are expected to:

  • Review the Foundation’s budget and audited financial statements at least annually
  • Participate in setting fund development goals for the Foundation
  • Support the Cambridge Community Foundation as a donor by making the Foundation a philanthropic priority; serve as an ambassador in the community, to share the impact and importance of  the Foundation, and to attract a broader supporter/constituency base; and, provide counsel and resources that benefit both the organization’s operating position and long-term granting potential;
  • Make the Foundation a priority in annual giving for operations and civic leadership, as well as making a major commitment in support of increased grantmaking , either through a philanthropic fund or a planned gift.


The Board is responsible for setting all policies of the organization. First and foremost in this area, the Board is the custodian of purpose, responsible for seeing that the Foundation’s mission lies at the heart of all work undertaken. The Board also establishes by-laws, sets goals and objectives and approves plans and programs for the Foundation. In all this work, the Board seeks to position the Cambridge Community Foundation as a source of innovative civic leadership in Cambridge.

Employment of the President

The board is responsible for: hiring, setting compensation for, evaluating, terminating, and participating in search efforts as needed.

Public Relations and Interface with the Community

Each volunteer Board member brings community representation to the Board, and brings particular knowledge, skills, or viewpoints to the organization. Interpreting the programs and activities of the Foundation to a range of communities is a responsibility of each Board member. As a representative of the Foundation, Board members are expected to be able to speak knowledgeably about the major programs and funding needs of the Foundation  and to stay abreast of issues in Cambridge in which the Foundation is engaged.

Less tangible is willingness to:

  • Work in effective group process;
  • Respect requests for confidentiality;
  • Participate in frank and honest discussion with respect for diverse views.

Board Terms and Management

  • Term of service: no more than two, consecutive five-year terms
  • Quorum: One half of the overseers shall constitute a quorum with voting decision by majority of the quorum present
  • Organization:  The board elects a president and treasurer serving terms determined by the board and organizes a committee structure to meet its fiduciary and operational oversight responsibilities

Board Powers and Responsibilities


General Powers

  • Oversight of the Foundation’s assets
  • By-laws, enacted by the chair for its own governance and amended or repealed from time to time as deemed necessary
  • Administration, activities, policies and development of the Cambridge Community Foundation
  • Power to invest funds given directly to the Foundation for administration
  • All the necessary powers to fulfill these responsibilities

Power over Income and Principal

  • To select and determine charitable objects and purposes
  • Select annually or more often recipients and the amount to be distributed

Additional Powers

  • To modify any restriction or condition on distribution of funds
  • To replace any trustee, custodian or agent for breach of fiduciary duty
  • To replace any trustee, custodian or agent for failure to produce a reasonable (as determined by the Board) return of net income and appreciation with due regard to the safety of principal over a reasonable period of time


  • Regular attendance at four Board meetings (September, December, March, June and meetings of teams/committees on which one serves), plus one four-hour strategy session each year
  • Participating in two or more site visits to funded agencies annually
  • Avoiding the reality or appearance of conflict of interest in financial and grant decisions
  • Participating in a periodic Board self-assessment survey and discussion