Photo courtesy of Action for Boston Community Development.

New grants help with technology needs, food, housing, emergency childcare, and bills.

March 4, 2022 | Cambridge, MA

The Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) has distributed $228,500 in grants to 17 community-based nonprofit organizations serving low-income and/or immigrant populations in Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford, thanks to $220,000 from the Massachusetts Executive Office for Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) & Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Community Foundations Grant Program for COVID-19 Relief and additional funds from CCF donors. Grants range from $11,000 to $15,000 and include support for urgent needs, including food security, housing and homelessness prevention, emergency childcare, utilities, transportation, and technology for remote school or work.

Government aid has not been accessible for many immigrant and low-income families, particularly for those who are undocumented or recent immigrants, leaving a huge gap in emergency support for the populations hardest hit in the pandemic. This ongoing crisis called on local nonprofits, who are trusted by the community, to bridge the gaps in emergency needs.

“For more than two years, low-income and immigrant families have been struggling with food, housing, bills, and the childcare they need to return to work, and our local nonprofits, who have deep reach into and trust of these communities, are best positioned to assist,” said Geeta Pradhan, president of the Cambridge Community Foundation. “We’re grateful to our State partners for once again generously distributing funds through community foundations like ours to efficiently channel resources to the local nonprofits that continue to step up and meet urgent community needs.”

The grants will support approximately 1,800 households in Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford.

While many nonprofits have added emergency support to their original missions to meet local needs, some also formed coalitions, like the Massachusetts Immigrant Collaborative, to tap expertise and resources across communities and holistically support the populations that trust them. The Collaborative received a $15K grant.

“We’ve been able to empower our community because of trust,” said Luiza Souza, program director of the 15-organization collaborative kickstarted at the height of the pandemic by Rian Immigrant Center, Agencia ALPHA, and the Brazilian Worker Center.

“Families have back logs of rent and utilities, a real need for food, and a fear of eviction,” said Ronnie Millar, Rian’s executive director. “Yet these families are incredibly resilient. They take what they need and if they need less, they ask us to make sure it gets to the people who need it most.”

Another grant recipient, Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) serves immigrants in the Cambridge/Somerville/Medford area including Brazilians, Cabo Verdeans, Portuguese, and others, most of whom speak little or no English and are struggling with insufficient incomes due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.

“Similar to the immigrant population as a whole, the communities MAPS serves were severely and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and the consequent economic shutdown. Two years later, many of our clients are still dealing with unemployment and loss of income and continue to struggle to meet basic daily needs. For many immigrant families, these effects are deepened by a lack of access to the social safety net and exclusion from federal relief efforts,” said Isidro Fagundes, MAPS’ director of communications.

MAPS expects their $13,500 grant to help 60 households prevent eviction, pay utility bills, buy food, and access needed transportation.

This is the third round of grants distributed by the Cambridge Community Foundation in partnership with the EOHED and DHCD to community-based nonprofits in Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford. Past rounds totaling $674,000 were distributed in the winter and summer of 2021.

List of grant recipients:

Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD): $13,500

Bridges Homeward (f.k.a. Cambridge Family and Children’s Services): $11,000

Cambridge Community Center: $13,500

Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS): $13,500

Community Art Center: $13,500

De Novo Center for Justice and Healing: $13,500

East End House: $13,500

Elizabeth Peabody House: $13,500

Hildebrand Family Self-Help Center: $13,514

Homeowner’s Rehab: $13,500

Just A Start Corporation: $13,500

Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS): $13,500

Massachusetts Immigrant Collaborative: $15,000

Metro Housing | Boston: $13,500

Somerville Community Corporation: $13,500

The Welcome Project: $13,500

YWCA Cambridge: $13,500