On the occasion of the launch of our new research report, local speakers shared insights that can inform follow-on conversations and help move us to collective action.
A new research report by the Foundation confirms Cambridge is a leader among the nation’s innovation cities, and through a decade of data, tells the story of how the city’s unprecedented prosperity has benefitted some residents, while others, primarily Black and low-income residents, are being left behind.
Cambridge Community Foundation Recognizes Five Groups with Second Annual Imagined in Cambridge Social Innovation Award
Photo of blackyard, 2020 Imagined in Cambridge Award winner, by Philip Keith for The New York Times. Supporting Grassroots Projects Tackling Pressing Social Issues October 8, 2020—Cambridge, MA At a virtual celebration on October 8, 2020, the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) named the recipients of its second annual Imagined in Cambridge Social Innovation Award, recognizing five grassroots projects that nurture strong communities and tackle systemic barriers to equity and opportunity. Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui announced blackyard, a co-op for Black and multi-racial youth and teenagers that in the words of its founder: “dismantles white supremacy within and lifts up the brilliance of Black, Indigenous, and Brown people,” through homeschooling, arts activities, conversations around equity for youth and teenagers, and supports for youth organizers, as the first prize winner. The program, founded by veteran teacher and Cambridge resident Ashley Herring, was awarded $5,000, and joined by four runners-up—Friday Night Hype, Kids Fete, Our Fire Collective, and Women of Cambridge Cards—each receiving $1,000. The five award winners offer innovative solutions to big social needs, such as supporting Black and Brown youth, promoting social justice and cultural pride, offering mental health supports for youth and teachers, and elevating female leaders. Watch our short [...]
Photo of HONK! parade passing through Porter Square in October 2019 The LA Times recently ran an article called “Wealth and struggle in a liberal bubble that Elizabeth Warren calls home.” The article captured the strengths and weaknesses of our city, which is experiencing stresses similar to San Francisco and other innovation cities. These complex issues of income inequality, housing and homelessness, and traffic gridlock are taxing urban innovation centers to the breaking point. We need national, regional, and local solutions. And Cambridge isn’t sitting on its laurels waiting for the bubble to burst, nor is it losing its soul. Cambridge is a responsive, compassionate city, fiercely protective of its shared values of kindness, diversity, inclusion, and creativity. Yes, our economy is booming, and with that comes unintended consequences. Our rapidly rising real estate values and a shortage of low- and middle-income housing mean more than half of our residents struggle to find affordable homes. One in seven residents lives in poverty. One-third of our public school students of color are unprepared to pursue the jobs our city offers. One out of 10 Black and Latinx households has no internet yet every major tech company has a presence in [...]
S.T.E.A.M. education connects technology, art to create ‘ladders’ for students, adults in search of careers drawing on 21st century skills CAMBRIDGE Just how important is the innovation economy to those who live and work in Cambridge and the surrounding region? Almost 40 percent of the state’s workforce is employed in the innovation sector, far more than any other state. Wages in the innovation sector are typically much higher than average wages, one reason for the robust economy in Massachusetts. Massachusetts itself was ranked the top innovation hub in the country by Bloomberg News earlier this year. In turn, the innovation economy itself is driven by trained talent – employees entering the workforce with critical skills. At the same time, there is a growing need to give young people access to learn the skills that provide access to opportunity and, ultimately, a share in the prosperity innovation generates. One result has been the development of S.T.E.M. education – the letters stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math – which represents the effort to prepare young people, or adults with skills that fit the needs of the 21st century knowledge economy. S.T.E.A.M. takes that strategy a step further by bringing the [...]
URBAN INNOVATION: CAMBRIDGE FOUNDATION PRESIDENT GEETA PRADHAN TALKS ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITY WITH NASHVILLE MAYOR KARL DEAN
Cambridge Community Foundation President Geeta Pradhan will interview Karl Dean, former mayor of the City of Nashville, in a forum open to the public on March 29 in Boston. Dean earned national attention for his efforts to leverage a building boom to connect neighborhoods, expand transit and build greater opportunity for local residents. He is the first Mayor in Residence at the Boston University Initiative on Cities, a program created to advance strategies to help cities serve as centers of economic growth and positive social development. The one-on-one conversation, titled Urban Identity Quest, brings together two civic leaders who have earned reputations as agents of urban change and increased quality of life. He will be interviewed by Geeta Pradhan, a catalyst in efforts to leverage expanded transportation access to increase opportunity in low-income Boston neighborhoods. Her work was crucial to the creation of the Fairmount Corridor Initiative, which brought jobs, housing and economic investment to a nine mile stretch of Boston neighborhoods. She currently serves as president of the Cambridge Community Founding, the only foundation serving all of Cambridge, making grants to local nonprofit organizations and serving as a neutral convener working across sectors to identify critical issues and [...]
CAMBRIDGE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION TOGETHER WITH THE BIOGEN IDEC FOUNDATION AWARDS $84,000 IN GRANTS FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION
Grants will expand and enhance science education for Massachusetts schools CAMBRIDGE, MA—Programming robots to record weather data. Fabricating mechanical parts with a 3D mill. Speaking with astronauts on the International Space Station. These are among the projects that will come to life in Massachusetts public and charter schools in 2015, thanks to Cambridge Community Foundation and Biogen Idec Foundation’s second annual Ignite the Power of STEM competitive grant program. Cambridge Community Foundation, which administers the program, selected 18 grants out of 54 applicants from across the state. Biogen Idec Foundation funded the program, totaling $84,520. The program represents a special partnership between business and the local community. The Ignite the Power of STEM grants support innovative programs that increase science literacy, encourage youth to pursue scientific careers, create classroom excitement and provide hands-on learning experiences in science, technology, engineering and math. Applicant schools had to be represented at the 2014 Massachusetts STEM Summit to be eligible. “I am impressed with the diversity of school programs and creative spirit in their grant applications. Most important are the collaborative efforts they represented. Congratulations to students, teachers, and schools, and thanks to Biogen Idec Foundation for breathing financial life into such STEM [...]