The Cambridge Community Foundation has awarded $513,000 in grants to 68 community-based organizations this fall to rebuild the nonprofit sector’s capacity, promote equity, and invest in creative solutions that support the economic, social, and emotional wellbeing of those who live in and rely on Cambridge.
Forty-five percent of the available funds are supporting organizations focused on the education and employment needs of people in a rapidly changing workforce. Another 29 percent went to organizations addressing food security, health and housing, or basic needs. Thirteen percent went to the arts and cultural organizations that lift hearts and build community in Cambridge. And, an additional 13 percent funded immigrants, legal services, senior services and environmental and climate justice.
The Foundation received a record total of dollars requested — $912K – signaling the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the added pressure of inflation on nonprofits and the people they serve. The applications also presented “a groundswell of creative thinking in Cambridge,” said Lori Lander, CCF board member and co-chair of the grantmaking committee.
“These grants are an investment in our community; and it’s clear people want to do things– to make change and make things better — and they are looking to the Foundation as a partner to help make that possible,” said Lander.
“It is exciting to see new projects emerging in Cambridge’s creative community,” added Christina Turner, CCF’s director of programs and grantmaking. “There is much work to be done but we are extremely thankful for the nonprofits that are doing this work and proud that we can share in the effort to address community needs and celebrate community strengths.”
The grants range from $1,000 to $20,000, with investments supporting the Foundation’s visionary goals for Cambridge – shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness. The decisions were informed by a 15-member volunteer committee of residents who reviewed each application. The Foundation also awarded multi-year initiative grants to two organizations.
The grants were made possible by the Foundation’s Community Fund, with the additional support of seven Foundation donors who responded to the pressing community needs highlighted in the grantmaking cycle and offered co-investments through their Donor Advised Funds.
“The fall grantmaking cycle is an expression of trust-based philanthropy in action,” said Lander. “Our nonprofit partners know we trust them to make full use of the funds for our community.”
Scroll down for a full list of grant recipients.
Cambridge Community Foundation Grantmaking at a Glance
The Foundation invests in 150+ local nonprofits through the Community Fund each year, in support of shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness in the city.
Community Fund grant decisions are informed by a committee of reviewers comprised of community members, nonprofit leaders, and professionals from universities, the CCF Board, and other sectors of our city. The review process is guided by the Foundation’s program committee.
In a year of heightened need, the Foundation once again invited its Donor Advised Fund community to join as co-investors, increasing the total dollars distributed in response to community needs. They enabled the Foundation to raise the grantmaking pool by 15 cents on the dollar. Fall Community Fund co-investors include the Cosulich Family Charitable Fund, Judith Cranna and Harry Leichtman, Rick Grudzinski and Julie Bowden, Abram and Debbie Klein, Bill and Lisa Laskin, the Matthew Glidden Charitable Fund, Robert B. Straus, and the Upland Gardens Fund.
Beyond the community Fund, the Foundation supports community-based organizations through many grantmaking efforts. In 2022, in partnership with hundreds of generous donors, the Foundation awarded more than $4.4 million in grants, through its Community Fund, Strategic Initiatives, Cambridge RISE, State-funded COVID-19 grants, Imagined in Cambridge! Social Innovation Award and Fund, the Cultural Capital Fund, Cambridge WINS and Scholarships.
Nonprofits in Action: Nonprofit Spotlights
Community Conversations: Sister to Sister, is a nonprofit that brings together established and emerging Black women leaders in healthcare and the community to create ongoing, multigenerational cross-sector dialogue. These conversations explore innovative and sustainable changes to improve health and health provision at the individual, family, and community level. “I rely on Community Conversations as my healthcare community to help me, guide me, through these times” says Kai, a program member.
Cambridge Local First, a non-profit network of locally owned, independent businesses in Cambridge, Massachusetts is bringing people together with the mission of supporting and promoting a thriving, equitable local economic ecosystem. They are developing local incubator activities, including specialized business supports, shaped by and for BIPOC and queer business owners, with the goal of growing and supporting both new and young businesses in the area.
“The past few years have brought many challenges for local entrepreneurs and the rare opportunity for public investment substantial enough to shift towards more equitable systems,” said Pooja Paode, associate director. “The support from the CCF Community Fund grant builds on other revenue streams, ensuring we have blended funding that is sustainable into the future.”
The Cambridge-based Loop Lab focuses on providing meaningful media arts apprenticeship opportunities to young people of color. In 2023, they will begin a new community-based media arts education program and expand their audio/video and storytelling assistance to Cambridge-based nonprofit organizations in their effort to promote their programs and services to Cambridge residents.
Arts and Culture
The development of a performance piece about belonging and “othering” to be performed in two locations in Cambridge.
Cambridge Art Association $2,500
Professional development programs designed to give visual artists the business tools they need to build successful visual arts practices.
Cambridge Black History Project $3,500
General operations and 2023 projects that include production of a third set of Trailblazer bookmarks, 72 oral histories, and an exhibit of historical photographs collected by members and oral history subjects.
CAMBRIDGE FORUM $2,000
Website redesign and the connected work to reach a new and wider audience.
Cambridge Historical Society (History Cambridge) $2,500
A project to engage American Indian/Indigenous voices of Cambridge and share that history with the entire city.
Central Square Business Improvement District $2,500
The Activating the Edges initiative where BIPOC musicians perform in public spaces not traditionally frequented by buskers.
Dance in the Schools $4,500
Dance and arts programming in the Cambridge Public Elementary Schools with the goals of increasing the number of participating classrooms, adding new dance teaching artists, and enhancing the scheduling system.
Family Opera, Inc. (North Cambridge Family Opera) $2,500
30 to 35 science songwriting workshops in the K-5 Cambridge public schools.
JazzBoston, Inc $2,500
Live, world-class music programming for Cambridge residents in a safe, affordable, and welcoming environment in the heart of the City’s designated Cultural District.
Kendall Square Orchestra $1,000
Two concerts at a venue in Cambridge to provide cultural experiences for participants and the Cambridge community.
Longy School of Music of Bard College $6,000
Ensure that community members can access Longy’s programming at little or no cost.
Playworks New England $4,500
Delivering safe and healthy play during the school day to students, helping improve physical activity and to develop key social-emotional skills that are proven to help children thrive socially and academically.
Soca Fusion LLC $2,500
Ongoing recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.
Steps in Time® $1,500
A student internship
Cambridge Carnival International, Inc $7,500
General operating in expanding and maintaining staffing and operational capacity to support cultural programs.
Tunefoolery Music, Inc. $3,000
Monthly live music performances at the Sancta Maria Nursing Facility.
YWCA Cambridge $10,000
Support and expand internal HR and Finance department capacity.
Bridge Forward Fund $2,500
Scale critical operations and outreach to serve more individuals and families in Cambridge in 2023.
Cambridge Families of Color Coalition $7,500
Meet the need for greater financial literacy education by and for caregivers of Color who are navigating family and educational finances.
Cambridge Local First $5,000
The development of local incubator activities, including specialized business supports, shaped by and for BIPOC and queer business owners, with the goal of growing and supporting both new and young businesses in the area.
Center for Women & Enterprise $5,000
Free and low-cost programming to increase access to entrepreneurship training for low-income women in Cambridge, MA.
Just A Start Corporation $14,000
Career Connect, which provides Cambridge area residents with an educational pathway to sustainable careers in the Biomedical and Information Technology fields.
The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts $5,000
Bolster DEI efforts, build the capacity of CSBBN (Cambridge-Somerville Black Business Network) and to develop the Equity Fund.
Women of Color Entrepreneurs, Inc. $5,000
Widen the circle of entrepreneurship by supporting women of color entrepreneurs who are building great businesses and want help to scale.
Breakthrough Greater Boston $15,000
The delivery of Middle School and High School Programs that support 7th-12th grade, low-income, students of color in Cambridge on their path to and through college.
Cambridge Camping Association $20,000
Two-day camps designed to close the summer and Covid learning loss gaps, address equity issues around enrichment programs and summer camps and provide a trauma sensitive, caring, and welcoming community.
Cambridge College, Inc. $3,500
The Laptop Loaner Program to keep low-to-moderate income Cambridge students on their educational pathways, despite heightened financial barriers.
Cambridge Math Circle, Inc. $3,500
A citywide math festival in person after two years online and to recruit and train new teachers who can teach in-person at various Cambridge Public Schools.
Cambridge Public Access Corp. $15,000
Create and deploy a mobile media and storytelling lab while continuing to deepen and expand the work at our hub in Central Square.
Cambridge School Volunteers, Inc. $7,500
Expanding the Pacesetters Program at the Fletcher-Maynard Academy, adding 5th graders to the Amigos Learning Center, the Fifth Grade Challenge Math Program.
CitySprouts Inc $5,000
After school and summer Young Leaders Program (YLP), prioritizing the engagement of Cambridge youth ages 11-14 from historically marginalized and low-income communities.
Community Art Center $12,500
Support teaching salaries for childcare providers.
Enroot, Inc. $15,000
Wraparound programming for immigrant high school and college students which includes mentorship, academic tutoring, leadership development, job readiness, post-secondary preparation and access, college success, STEM exposure, and mental health and well-being support.
Friday Night Hype $5,000
Programming that provides safe spaces for students to participate in educational and therapeutic activities with positive role models/mentors.
Innovators for Purpose $10,000
Capacity-building for iFp through the development of two program expansion initiatives: New Futures Lab and Computer Science Integration into iFp Studios.
Prospect Hill Academy Charter School $2,000
The STEAM Saturday program that provides tuition-free, fun, and engaging, out-of-school-time, enrichment classes to K-8 students.
Science Club for Girls, Inc. $8,000
Program expansion to reach more underrepresented girls and gender-expansive youth with impactful, high-quality STEM programming in a combination of virtual and in-person formats.
The Loop Lab $10,000
Serving young people of color in Cambridge through Media Arts apprenticeship opportunities and the pipeline through the Media Arts Youth Program for high school students.
Tutoring Plus of Cambridge $12,500
The operations of elementary, middle, and high school out of school time tutoring programming.
The Cambridge financial aid advising program that connects College Affordability Advisors to students virtually and in person in schools to educate and advise high school juniors, seniors and their families on the financial aid process.
Charles River Conservancy, Inc. $4,000
The advancement of strategic plan goals: Cultivate active engagement with the river; Define the parks as a platform for community and cultural life; Advocate using research and placemaking; and ensure long term organizational and environmental sustainability.
Food Security/Food Access
Food For Free $11,000
Program staff and expenses for hunger relief programs: Food Rescue, Just Eats Grocery Boxes, Healthy Eats (formerly known as Home Delivery), Weekend Eats (formerly the Cambridge and Somerville Weekend Backpack Program), and School Markets.
Urban Food Initiative, Inc. (Daily Table) $6,000
Marketing associated with getting the word out to shoppers who need Daily Table.
Health/Mental Health/Human Services
Bridges Homeward $5,000
General operating costs related to the provision of social services to Cambridge residents, predominantly clients of our Developmental Disabilities program.
Cancer Education and Research Institute, Inc. $1,500
The management of incoming patients’ inquiries and assist with outreach.
Community Conversations: Sister to Sister $7,500
Programming that provides a community of Black women with culturally relevant, equity focused health strategies.
Community Dispute Settlement Center $10,000
Mediating with consumers and merchants, and landlord and tenants, in the Cambridge District Court with small claims and summary process disputants; work with youth related to their Harassment Protection Orders in the Cambridge Juvenile Court; conflict coaching with Cambridge residents; provision of conflict skills workshops to at least 4 Cambridge-based groups and work with Cambridge schools and youth groups.
Fenway Community Health Center, Inc. $7,000
The ongoing programmatic needs of the Youth on Fire (YOF) drop-in center in Harvard Square.
First Parish-Paine Fund $7,000
Payment for services for clients who cannot pay a fee and would otherwise refuse needed help.
Riverside Community Care, Inc. $7,500
Critical family services led by the Riverside Community Services Agency (CSA) helping children and families in crisis in Cambridge.
Self Esteem Boston Educational Institute, Inc. $3,000
Programs at the Caspar/Baycove Womanplace transitional residential recovery program in Cambridge.
Y2Y Network, Inc $6,500
Program operations and salaries related to Y2Y Network’s Harvard Square shelter.
Breaktime United, Inc. $7,500
The launch of two cohorts of young adult associates in Cambridge for a 3.5-year supported transitional employment program.
Caritas Communities, Inc $5,000
The Caritas’ Resident Support Services program in Cambridge that provides very low and low-income Cambridge residents with the support and resources they need to improve their lives and succeed in permanent affordable housing.
CASPAR, Inc. $15,000
Program operating costs of the Emergency Services Center and Shelters, which spans the street outreach program, emergency shelters, and the winter warming center.
Homeowners Rehab Inc. $10,000
The stabilization of neighborhoods by offering Cambridge eligible owners low interest rate financial and technical resources to maintain their home.
HomeStart, Inc. $10,000
To support programming for people experiencing homelessness and the housing crisis in Cambridge, find and keep safe, permanent, affordable housing.
Material Aid and Advocacy Program $2,000
Meeting unhoused community members’ self-identified immediate needs while working towards long-term solutions.
De Novo Center for Justice and Healing $12,000
The provision of free civil legal assistance and affordable psychological counseling to low-income people, with services helping the homeless and imminently homeless, victims of domestic violence and their children living in poverty, immigrant and refugee survivors of torture and persecution, and people living with disabilities.
Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) $10,000
The prevention evictions and to provide housing and financial stability for low-income families and individuals living in Cambridge and Somerville.
Project Citizenship, Inc. $4,500
Assist permanent residents, achieve citizenship with free, high quality legal services.
Cambridge Neighbors, Inc. $3,000
Scholarships to low- to moderate-income Cambridge elders who live alone and would benefit from critical practical and social supports.
FriendshipWorks Inc. $5,000
An on-going partnership with Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) to connect isolated, older residents to volunteers of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds for the Friendly Visiting program.
Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers $9,000
Cambridge-based Immigrant Integration Services (IIS) and Elder Services Programs (Cambridge Senior Center). These programs increase access and remove barriers to health, education and social services, and a better life, for our ethnically/racially diverse, low-income, mainly monolingual Portuguese-speaking communities.
Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc. $2,000
Emergency shelter, housing advocacy and homelessness prevention services, trauma-informed mental health counseling, nutritional assistance, and other basic needs for survivors of domestic violence and their children.
Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition $50,000
Advance the organization as it aims to significantly increase its revenue and staff capacity to effectively provide resources for member and non-member nonprofits and serve as a unified, influential, and authentic voice for Cambridge nonprofits.
Just a Start $30,000
To support Just A Start in its capital campaign and the development and furnishing of Rindge Commons, a new Economic Mobility Hub, to help Cambridge residents have access to stable housing and pathways to financial stability.
Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House $5,000
To support MFNH in the formulation and implementation of a formal program design, measurement and evaluation process for their services and programs that will be foundational project for MFNH’s maturation in developing quality programs for its next generation of services.
The application for spring community fund grants will open on January 13, 2023. Please visit our website for more information: https://cambridgecf.org/grantmaking/for-nonprofits/.