Published On: November 26th, 2019
Photo courtesy of Playworks New England

November 26, 2019—Cambridge, MA

The Cambridge Community Foundation announces it will infuse a total of $672,500 into the nonprofit sector in Cambridge, Massachusetts through its fall grantmaking and new investments in focused areas.

Fifty-six local nonprofits will receive a total of $357,500 in grants from the Community Fund to help address a wide range of needs in Cambridge, including hunger and homelessness, and other housing challenges; youth and early childhood education and services, work force training, and services for elders. Grants also invest in preserving our city’s artistic and cultural vibrancy. The Foundation, in partnership with its donor partners, is also distributing an additional $315,000 this fall to strategic investments in three important areas:

Equity and opportunity

  • bolstering out-of-schooltime programs for middle schoolers through the Agenda for Children
  • supporting the expansion of the Becoming A Man (BAM) guidance program for young men into Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
  • investing in Cambridge Housing Authority’s Work Force program over three years to ensure low-income youth in Cambridge can access the award-winning program of educational, job, and career and college prep help
  • expanding the HomeStart program in Cambridge to support low-income residents seeking affordable housing
  • increasing mentorship for women-of-color entrepreneurs through Startup Mentors

Strengthening the nonprofit sector

  • building collective voice and promoting collaboration among nonprofits through a three-year grant to the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition

Supporting legal defense for immigrants

  • providing a second year of funding to increase the capacity of three legal services organizations serving vulnerable immigrants

The Cambridge Community Foundation’s grantmaking is an important part of its century-long mandate to support the wellbeing of Cambridge and all its residents, especially the most vulnerable.

“Our nonprofits are the backbone of Cambridge and it’s incredibly important that we support their critical work to bridge gaps to opportunity,” said Cambridge Community Foundation President Geeta Pradhan.

“We are so thankful to our nonprofit partners for their commitment to our city and to our donors and partners who make it possible for the Foundation to support shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness in Cambridge,” she added.

The Foundation received 65 proposals for Community Fund grants in the fall cycle, requesting a total of $831,450. Proposal reviews and grant recommendations were made by the Cambridge Community Foundation’s Program and Special Initiatives Committee, chaired by board members Lori Lander and Rev. Lorraine Thornhill. This year the committee was comprised of Foundation board members, professional advisors, and staff, and a diverse group of community members who brought different perspectives into the selection process, including an official with the Cambridge Police Department, a representative of Cambridge Public Schools, a leader from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, and a local poet.

The Cambridge Community Foundation distributes two cycles of grants from its Community Fund each year, supporting nonprofit organizations involved in human services, workforce training, housing, hunger, homelessness, elder services, youth services and education, and the arts. It also invests in new and multi-year initiatives that align with the three pillars of the Foundation’s mission: shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness. The Foundation’s grants bridge gaps in nonprofit operating costs; sustain longstanding nonprofits serving vulnerable populations; and help great new ideas grow in Cambridge. Foundation donors also support our nonprofit partners through Donor Advised Funds and other grants.

About the Cambridge Community Foundation: 

The Cambridge Community Foundation is the local giving platform for Cambridge, supporting our city’s shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness, with roots that go a century deep. The Foundation is a convener and catalyst for transformative change in Cambridge, supporting equity and opportunity in the city through civic leadership, grantmaking, and collective giving in partnership with generous donors from the community. The Foundation identifies emerging and critical needs, convenes all sectors of the city, and directs resources where they can make the greatest difference.

Fall 2019 Grants


Agenda for Children Out-Of-School Time: $50,000

This grant supports the Agenda for Children’s Middle School Network (MSN) and the Out-of-School Time Quality Improvement System. The mission of the MSN is to advocate, mobilize, and connect young people, schools, and out-of-school time (OST) providers to ensure the broad participation of Cambridge middle grade students in quality learning opportunities. This mission has guided the MSN’s strategies and efforts to support equitable access to OST programming through which youth benefit from positive relationship building, learning experiences, and skill development. The Quality Improvement System provides direct Quality Coaching support for after-school program leaders as well as full staff teams.

Becoming A Man (BAM): $30,000 (includes a $15,000 donor matching gift)

BAM, a program of Youth Guidance which grew out of the Chicago Crime Lab, is a nationally recognized, school-based counseling and character-building program that guides vulnerable young men to learn, practice, and internalize social-emotional skills, make responsible decisions for their future, and become positive members of their school and community. This year, BAM expands to Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition: $40,000 (the first installment of $120,000 over three years)

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. The Foundation has steadily supported it through strategic advice, grants, and office space.

HomeStart: $10,000 (through a donor’s direct support)

The Cambridge Housing Services’ program helps people experiencing homelessness and housing instability in Cambridge find and keep safe, permanent, and affordable housing.

Startup Mentors: $15,000

Startup Mentors is an outgrowth of the Cambridge Innovation Center and focuses on community-based entrepreneurs, bringing to them the networks and support typically not available at the grassroots level. One of Startup Mentors’ areas of focus is women-of-color entrepreneurs who have established businesses but face the greatest barriers to success. Existing support programs don’t provide them with the continuing help needed for success. Startup Mentors addresses this need with long-term mentorship, training, and peer support.

United Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants: $120,000 (a second-year installment)

The Cambridge Community Foundation, in partnership with Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern and Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, is raising funds to help local immigrants get the legal services they need to legally stay in our country. The Fund distributes grants to local legal assistance nonprofits to help residents from both communities. This fall’s $120,000 distribution brings the Foundation’s two-year total investment to $255,000.

The legal services nonprofits support young adults previously protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who are now at risk of deportation; prioritize cases involving asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors and juveniles, and other highly vulnerable persons including victims of trafficking, sexual, and domestic violence; and provide family legal services to support Temporary Protected Status (TPS) workers.

The $120,000 distributed this fall is the second installment of two-year grants to three legal services organizations: De Novo Center for Justice and Healing, Greater Boston Legal Services, and Irish International Immigrant Center.

The Work Force: $50,000 (includes a $25,000 donor matching gift)

(the first installment of $150,000 over three years)

This fall’s $50,000 grant is the first installment of a three-year commitment of $150,000. The Cambridge Housing Authority’s Work Force program offers comprehensive, seven-year educational support, college prep, and job and career-readiness activities to low-income youth living in public housing, starting in the 8th grade. It includes three major support components: Matched College Savings, summer SAT Prep/College Immersion and Learning Literacy programs, and Post-Secondary Support, which includes an Alumni Coach and Career Development Specialist.


CASPAR: $15,000

Emergency Services Center and Shelter and FirstStep Street staff work on the front lines of the opioid crisis. They support lifesaving work and the hope of recovery to those struggling with homelessness and addiction. CASPAR has a powerful model of addressing both the causes and the effects of addiction, and its intersection with trauma and mental health.

Food for Free: $15,000

Food for Free’s Food Rescue and Distribution program takes food that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it through programs that reach low-income and food-insecure people. This program provides food for Cambridge’s pantries, shelters, youth programs, and meal programs, reaching about 10,000 Cambridge residents and 30,000 people throughout Greater Boston.

Homeowner’s Rehab: $11,000

Homeowner’s Rehab’s Home Improvement Project (HIP) assists low- to moderate-income Cambridge homeowners to acquire home financing to repair, rehab, and improve their homes. HIP provides complimentary technical and construction management assistance. HIP serves families and seniors, homeowners and renters.

Project Manna: $4,000

Project Manna’s Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry is an outreach program for the homeless and hungry in Cambridge and the surrounding neighborhoods. In operation since 1989, it has seen a noticeable jump in the number of clients. The Soup Kitchen is open Monday and Friday and the Food Pantry is offered every other month.

Solutions At Work: $7,500

Solutions At Work now operates out of the Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Harvard Square. Their mission is to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness by providing individuals and families with resources, such as children’s clothing, books, toys, and professional attire for job seekers. They are increasing their outreach to agencies serving homeless and low-income people as well.

Y2Y Network: $6,000

Y2Y Network employs a youth-to-youth model to provide a safe and affirming environment for young adults experiencing homelessness. Guests have opportunities to collaborate with service providers, others with lived experience, and student volunteers to create sustainable pathways out of homelessness. Y2Y believes in youth-driven solutions to homelessness.

Youth on Fire: $6,500

Youth on Fire operates as a drop-in center in Harvard Square for homeless, LGBTQ, and otherwise at-risk youth between the ages of 14 and 24.


Cambridge Community Center (CCC): $12,500

Located between Central Square and Memorial Drive, the Cambridge Community Center is a settlement house providing a wide range of services to the community. Its mission is to promote community cooperation and unity and to empower youth, individuals, and families.

Cambridge YMCA: $5,000

The YMCA’s Youth at Risk Boxing is starting a 10-year collaborative program with the Cambridge Police Department, combining an opportunity to learn boxing skills with a chance to build strong, positive relationships with authority figures.

Community Conversations Sister to Sister$7,500

Community Conversations (CC) Sister to Sister promotes black women’s health and wellness by supporting intergenerational connections, cultivating and empowering community leadership, and building novel partnerships between lay, emerging or novice and multidisciplinary professional stakeholders.

Community Dispute Settlement Center: $10,000

Community Dispute Settlement Center (CDSC) has started Cambridge Juvenile Court Harassment Prevention Mediation, a new initiative in response to the needs of youth in the Cambridge Juvenile Court. CDSC also offers community mediation for individuals and families with a focus on divorce, housing, and consumer-related disputes, and conflict skills training.

Good Sports: $1,000

Good Sports donates new sports and fitness equipment to three Cambridge youth organizations serving kids from low-income households.

Guidance Center/Riverside Community Care: $8,000

Riverside is investing in a new building to provide a range of mental healthcare and family services to children, adolescents, and families in Cambridge and surrounding communities for years to come. This grant will go toward operating support.

The Wellmet Project: $4,000

The Wellmet Project provides transitional housing and counseling services for psychiatrically disabled adults and helps facilitate their return to independent living. Wellmet maintains residential homes in Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford.


Cambridge Neighbors (Cambridge At Home)$2,000

On the Move (OTM) is a subsidized transportation program that supports Cambridge Neighbors members aged 75 and older who wish to age in their own homes and communities. Transportation is one of the biggest challenges among older adults. OTM provides reliable, accessible, and affordable transportation for medical appointments, errands, and visits.

Paine Senior Services$5,000

Paine Senior Services (PSS) is the only agency in Cambridge – public or private – that serves all Cambridge seniors regardless of their ability to pay a fee. This program provides 200 hours of services to particularly vulnerable seniors who have mental health, substance use, and/or cognitive issues that make it difficult for them to accept needed community services.

S.C.M. Community Transportation: $3,000

S.C.M. provides transportation for seniors and individuals with disabilities from Cambridge, Somerville, and surrounding cities.

VNA of Eastern Massachusetts: $8,000

VNA’s Senior Supportive Housing and Services allows the VNA to bring homecare to all who need it, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. The VNA provides a safe, dignified home for those who could never afford market-rate assisted living.


Center for Women & Enterprise: $5,000

Center for Women & Enterprise offers a free 10-week Community Classrooms Business Planning program for ten low- to moderate-income women, offering 30 hours each of intensive entrepreneurial training, business management skills, and financial education. Typically, Business Planning participants launch their new businesses within six months of course graduation.

Just-A-Start Corporation: $15,000

Year-round, tuition-free education and workforce training programs help individuals enter sustaining careers and attain economic mobility. The Biomedical and Information Technology (IT) Careers Programs, JAS YouthBuild, and the Financial Opportunity Program help individuals enter sustaining careers and increase their economic mobility.

The Loop Lab: $10,000

The Loop Lab empowers underrepresented groups like first-generation Americans and people of color from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to access careers in the media arts. The Loop Lab provides an employment training program, paid internships, and job placements that are free to all program participants.

Self Esteem Boston: $2,500

Self Esteem Boston’s Skills for Success program helps women in transitional recovery programs develop essential life skills such as goal setting, positive communication, and sustaining accountability. You’re Worth It builds skills and confidence to foster a successful transition to employment and education/training programs.


Agassiz Baldwin Community (ABC): $4,000

Agassiz Baldwin Community’s Equity & Access Fund provides scholarships for children living in poverty to attend ABC’s high-quality programs. Scholarships cover tuition for out-of-school time including afterschool, vacation weeks, camps, and art classes.

Beyond the 4th Wall Expression Theater: $3,000

This grant covers operating expenses to expand the theater’s spring musical program. The program works with over 120 youth from across the city and from every school.

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston: $4,000

BSAGB will increase access to opportunities for 115 girls (ages 7-15) from Cambridge through relationships with trained Big Sisters in Community-Based Mentoring and Site-Based Mentoring.

Breakthrough Greater Boston (BGB): $12,500

This grant supports Breakthrough Greater Boston’s comprehensive programming that helps low-income students of color in Cambridge on their path to and through college. Breakthrough will make key improvements to their Middle School After-School Program while piloting new programs designed to support students’ transition to and success in college.

Cambridge Camping Association: $20,000

Cambridge Adventure Day Camp (CADC) and Daybreak Day Camp serve 155 under-resourced Cambridge children. Daybreak serves children with social, emotional, and behavioral health needs and CADC will be growing to include 15 additional 12- to 14-year-old campers this year.

Cambridge School Volunteers: $7,500

Cambridge School Volunteers’ Tutoring Center provides free tutoring to Cambridge Rindge and Latin School students, before and after school, in all subjects taught at the high school. CSV recruits, trains, and matches the volunteers. Last year, more than 300 students received their own volunteer tutor through the program.

CitySprouts: $5,000

CitySprouts’ STEM-based Middle School Program introduces students to ecosystems and food systems through garden-based and classroom-based STEM learning. The tuition-free after-school and summer programs guide students through projects that engage them in science and give them practice being leaders.

Courageous Conversations: $1,000

Last year, volunteers organized a five-month program bringing together 64 community members to discuss racial equity and the impact of race on education. This year, they will continue with a local facilitator and increased support from school administrators.

Longy School of Music of Bard College: $6,500

Longy’s musicians provide music access to vulnerable populations, partner with professional arts organizations, and present over 200 free concerts yearly for the community.

Navigation Games: $1,500

Navigation Games is expanding their 3rd grade curricula and teacher development workshops to other grades. Orienteering helps kids get exercise, develop critical thinking, work in teams, and learn about the outdoor environment. Navigation Games’ JK-12 programs include after-school classes, in-school programs, and school teams.

Playworks New England: $5,000

Playworks Cambridge TeamUp Programming operated in three Cambridge Public Schools during the 2018-19 school year, Fletcher Maynard, Kennedy-Longfellow, and Baldwin Schools. This year a Playworks site coordinator will lead, support, and empower the recess team at Fletcher-Maynard to create an inclusive playground for all students.

The Possible Project: $7,500

The Possible Project (TPP) is a three-year after-school program that combines entrepreneurship, STEAM, design thinking, and social and emotional skills to create a fun and powerful curriculum for high school students to prepare them to succeed in the 21st Century. TPP offers a safe, supportive, creative space for students to learn and grow and receive one-on-one career counseling.

Tunefoolery: $2,000

Tunefoolery’s musicians in mental health recovery gain healthy identities as professional musicians, rather than mental patients. Individual and ensemble music and goals coaching, and workshops are offered. Audiences at mental health and social service venues, as well as the general public, also benefit from their enhanced skills. Music can be a powerful therapeutic tool and can empower those served to contribute to society.

Tutoring Plus of Cambridge: $15,000

With this grant, Tutoring Plus’ Elementary and Middle School Programs will create a robust program evaluation tool that examines the impact of social-emotional learning curriculum. Tutoring Plus will also strengthen their math and literacy supports for students and enhance their family engagement practices. 


Cambridge Math Circle: $500

Cambridge Math Circle provides high-quality math enrichment to students in Cambridge Public Schools that don’t have math enrichment clubs. Their mission is to help more students from underrepresented groups experience the beauty of math, and eventually go into STEM careers.

Innovators for Purpose (iFp): $8,000

iFp Studios & Labs provide high-potential, diverse young people opportunities to work on real client-based projects and experiential learning opportunities to develop marketable skills and increase access to postsecondary education.

Prospect Hill Academy Charter School: $2,000

Prospect Hill Academy’s STEAM Saturday is a tuition-free, expanded learning opportunity, focused on providing under resourced students with equitable access to high quality programming to narrow the opportunity gap and improve student life trajectories.

Science Club for Girls: $8,000

Science Club for Girls partners with schools and community organizations to engage underrepresented communities in high-quality, interactive out-of-school STEM programs and mentoring that begins in kindergarten and continues through high school.


De Novo Center for Justice and Healing: $10,000

De Novo provides free, civil legal assistance and affordable psychological counseling to help low-income people access the most basic necessities of life: safety, income, health, and housing.

Enroot: $13,500

Enroot matches immigrant students with mentors and academic tutors while staff provide case management and leadership development workshops that set students up to succeed. Programming is for high school and college students in Cambridge.

Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS): $8,500

MAPS’ Immigrant Integration Services assists Portuguese-speaking clients with basic needs (housing, employment, legal services, and citizenship). The Senior Center provides linguistically/culturally competent services and activities, reducing isolation and promoting health and independence for low-income community elders.

Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR): $7,500

PAIR ensures the due process rights of immigrants through high-quality and reliable pro bono programs. PAIR serves more than 1,600 asylum seekers and detained immigrants.

Project Citizenship: $5,000

Project Citizenship will provide free, high quality legal services and other assistance to Cambridge residents who are permanent residents (“green card” holders), to help them apply for and achieve U.S. citizenship.


Charles River Conservancy (CRC): $3,000

CRC’s Conservancy Volunteers Program provides opportunities to work along the Charles River parklands supporting resource-strained Department of Conservation and Recreation. Funding will support three, free “open-to-all” community volunteer opportunities in Cambridge for residents of all ages and backgrounds to perform vital maintenance work and build ownership of their urban green spaces.

Magazine Beach Partners: $2,500

The Magazine Beach Youth Stewardship Program is debuting the summer of 2020. Over the past years Magazine Beach Park has been revitalized and in order for the improvements to last young park stewards need to be cultivated.

Many Helping Hands 365: $5,000

Many Helping Hands 365’s 10th annual Cambridge MLK Day of Service will be January 20, 2020. This event will engage more than 3,000 volunteers in hands-on service projects helping over 10,000 people in need. The MLK Day of Service will take place in five locations in Central Square and involve nearly 90 nonprofits and city programs.


Belmont World Film: $500

Belmont World Film’s 17 Annual Family Festival is for children ages 3 through 12, featuring narrative, documentary, animated film programs in other languages from around the world – based mostly on children’s books – plus animation workshops by a world-renowned animator.

Cambridge Art Association: $2,000

Cambridge Art Association is in the process of expanding their educational programs, to meet the needs of the community. These programs help to fulfill their mission of building a vibrant community through visual art.

Cambridge Community Chorus: $1,500

The mission of the Cambridge Community Chorus is to give people who love to sing an opportunity to rehearse and perform challenging choral works. This non-audition chorus is dedicated to enriching the community through its performance of choral music, and to making participation and performances enjoyable and affordable to all.

Cambridge Symphony Orchestra: $1,500

The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra (CSO) will host a free Pops on the Lawn concert in Danehy Park on Sunday, June 28, 2020. For the past 11 years, CSO has presented free concerts-in-the-park for families in Cambridge featuring songs from movies, Broadway, jazz, and more.

Community Art Center: $13,500

The Community Art Center’s comprehensive approach to arts learning encourages artistic growth and personal development, helps youth create art that addresses community issues, and promotes social justice. In addition, meaningful youth leadership roles exist in all program areas so CAC youth are prepared to lead both internally and externally.

Dance in the Schools: $3,000

Dance in the Schools brings Dance Teaching Artists into Junior-Kindergarten through 4th-grade Cambridge Public School classrooms. These artists integrate dance and creative movement into the academic and arts curriculum.

New School of Music: $1,000

New School of Music’s Performance Outreach Program and Scholarship Fund provides quality musical instruction and access to musical experiences throughout our community. This program includes free workshops, free public concerts, performance opportunities for all students, free community events, and need-based scholarships for all programs.

North Cambridge Family Opera: $2,500

The North Cambridge Family Opera’s Science Festival Chorus, comprising 50 adults and children from the community, annually commissions and performs a program of 15-20 songs about science, as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.


For more information, please contact:
Lauren Marshall
Director of Marketing and Civic Engagement
(617) 576-9966
[email protected]