Published On: December 4th, 2018

The Cambridge Community Foundation awards $467,000 in new grants; brings CCF nonprofit investments to $722,000 this fall

Jump to a list of fall 2018 grants

December 4, 2018—Cambridge, MA

The Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) has announced the recipients of its fall 2018 grantmaking cycle, awarding a total of $367,000 in grants to 56 local nonprofits meeting a wide range of social and educational needs, and committing an additional $100,000 to support four initiatives: strengthening the nonprofit sector in Cambridge, preserving and promoting Central Square as the heart of the City, connecting local youth to innovation through trainings, and supporting the growth of businesses owned by local women of color.

This support, in addition to $255,000 in grants to four legal defense organizations in October, brings a total of $722,000 to local nonprofits this fall. CCF’s grantmaking is an important part of its century-long mandate to support the wellbeing of Cambridge and all its residents.

“Listening to the community and responding to its needs is essential for a local philanthropic platform that supports shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness in our community,” said CCF President Geeta Pradhan.

“This year we can clearly see that the need in the nonprofit community far outweighs our resources, but we’re doing what we can and we’re so thankful to all the donors who are stepping up to help bridge the gap as well,” she added.

The CCF received a record number of requests for fall grants in this cycle, 72 proposals totaling $828,111, a 30% increase compared with last year. To bring more community voices and different perspectives into the process, the CCF and Lori Lander and Rev. Lorraine Thornhill, the co-chairs of the CCF Program and Special Initiatives Committee, invited a diverse group of community members to help select this fall’s grantees. The committee included a former mayor of Cambridge, a long-time executive director of a local nonprofit, a representative from the Cambridge Police Department, a lawyer, a local poet, as well as other community leaders and members of the CCF board and its advisors.

CCF 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 and early childhood services, and the arts. It also invests in new and multi-year initiatives that align with CCF’s priority areas: Strong Families, Education & Opportunity, Arts & Innovation and Urgent Needs. CCF grants bridge gaps in nonprofit operating costs, sustain long-standing nonprofits serving vulnerable populations, and help great new ideas grow in Cambridge. CCF donors also contribute to nonprofits through Donor Advised Funds.

In late October 2018, CCF administered $255,000 in grants to four legal defense organizations through the Cambridge Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants to expand legal defense for immigrants facing deportation. This special fund was launched in March 2018 in partnership with Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern’s office and seeded by CCF and its Board of Directors with a $50,000 grant, which included $25,000 from a bequest from Cambridge resident Maurice Anderson to address urgent needs in our community and $25,000 from an anonymous donor. More than 260 residents and several foundations donated to the fund, with gifts ranging from $5 to $50,000. Major contributors included the Louis Fund, the Johnson Family and Why Wait funds of the Foundation, and the Fish Family Fund.  Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC), Greater Boston Legal Services, and Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) received two-year grants totaling $80,000 each to help hire a new attorney or expand their capacity with existing legal staff. In addition, the Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project, Inc. (PAIR) received a grant of $15,000 to reach more Cambridge-connected immigrants.

Fall 2018 Grants


Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition: $35,000

As a founding partner of the CNC, CCF’s investment over the last three years has enabled CNC to advance equity and justice in Cambridge by strengthening the sector, building collective voice and promoting collaboration for social change.

Central Square Partnership – Central Square Business Association (CSBA) & CCF: $30,000

CSBA and CCF share a passion and commitment to the future of Central Square. Both are committed to raising the profile of Central Square as the heart of the city to ensure that it thrives as a business and cultural district; to preserve the surrounding neighborhoods; and to address the social challenges that accompany the vibrant urban environment.

Design Museum Foundation: $15,000

In April of 2018, the NEA awarded a grant of $75,000 for the Neighborhood Innovation Corp (NIC) which will deepen and transform the City’s Neighborhood Service Project (NSP)– a program that involves city youth in community problem solving. Youth work in teams to identify a neighborhood problem and design and implement a solution. The aim is to amplify the program’s impact on Cambridge’s livability and ensure pathways into the innovation economy for the city’s youth.

Start Up Mentors: $20,000

Startup Mentors will focus on women entrepreneurs of color – and help grow their businesses. Entrepreneurs will be recruited from Boston-area feeder programs, through the Central Square Flea Market, and Cambridge Arts Council’s Creative Marketplace. Startup Mentors, will recruit up to 20 women of color to participate in the program from “feeder” organizations.



CASPAR: $15,000

Emergency Services Center and Shelter and FirstStep Street staff work on the front lines of the opioid crisis and support lifesaving work and the hope of recovery to residents of Cambridge 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.

East End House (EEH): $30,000

East End House community center uses a holistic approach to promote the well-being, academic achievement, and successful transition to adulthood of children and youth from under-resourced families in Cambridge and surrounding communities. As part of the approach, EEH provides support services to a diverse population, from infants to seniors, to strengthen family and community.

Fenway Community Health Center: $7,500

The Fenway Community Health Center’s Youth on Fire (YOF) program operates as a drop-in center in Harvard Square for homeless, LGBTQ, and other at-risk youth ages 14-24. YOF provides an array of low-threshold services in a safe, non-judgmental environment. This program includes on-site medical and behavioral health care, HIV/STD testing, case management, life skill training, educational workshops, and supported referrals.

First Church Cambridge Congregational Shelter (1st time grantee): $2,500

This shelter serves 14 men, providing safe, clean beds, showers, laundry, meals, emotional support, and resources. A state contract covers about 80% of the shelter’s direct costs.

Food for Free: $15,000

Food for Free’s Food Rescue and Distribution program rescues 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. This local organization serves a significant local population in collaboration with other nonprofits.

Homeowner’s Rehab: $10,000

Homeowner’s Rehab’s Home Improvement Project (HIP) assists low to moderate income eligible Cambridge homeowners to access affordable financing, complimentary construction and program management, as well as educational services. The services HIP offers contribute to the overall revitalization and stabilization of Cambridge residential homes.

HomeStart: $10,000

HomeStart’s Cambridge Housing Services Program promotes the mission of ending and preventing homelessness by helping low-income at-risk families and individuals residing in Cambridge gain access to and maintain safe, permanent, affordable housing.

The Outdoor Church: $1,500

The Outdoor Church provides services outside Porter Square & the “wet” shelter at 240 Albany St. On weekends, they offer over 300 sandwiches & 100 pairs of socks to chronically homeless people with service from over 120 volunteers.

Project Manna: $4,000

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

Solutions At Work (SAW): $5,000

Solutions At Work is spreading the word about their important services to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness by providing individuals and families with resources, such as children’s clothing, books, and toys, professional attire for job seekers. They are increasing their outreach to agencies serving homeless and low-income people as well.

Wayside Youth & Family Support Network (1st time grantee): $2,500

The Shortstop Young Adult Program works to enable homeless young adults to become economically self-sufficient. Residents stay about 12 months – increasing employment, furthering their education, moving on to permanent housing. Services include: case management, educational resources, employment & life skills, budgeting, referrals for health and other supportive services, volunteer opportunities. Wayside’s ShortStop program is one of the region’s few residential programs for homeless youth.

Y2Y Network: $5,000

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.


Cambridge Community Center (CCC): $7,500

CCC is hosting Cambridge Winter Farmers Market (CWFM) for the 6th year. This indoor market is held inside CCC’s gym every Saturday from January to April.

Community Conversations Sister to Sister: $7,500

Community Conversations (CC) Sister to Sister supports women in leadership roles.

CC promotes black women’s health by cultivating community leadership, connecting and empowering intergenerational lay, emerging/novice, and professional stakeholders in diverse conversation and partnerships.

Community Dispute Settlement Center: $10,000

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.

Coordinated Care Program for Political Violence Survivors (1st time grantee) $10,000

Over the past 2 years, vulnerable immigrants in Cambridge and other cities served by CHA have become increasingly fearful of accessing healthcare services and resources. This program coordinates services to address this problem.


Cambridge Neighbors (Cambridge At Home): $2,000

On the Move (OTM) is a subsidized transportation program that supports Cambridge Neighbors members 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.

Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers: $8,000

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

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. Outcomes include: eviction prevented, housing established, accessed appropriate medical care, health insurance established, compliance with medical care, etc.

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, and provide a safe, dignified home for those who could never afford market-rate assisted living.


Cambridge Art Association (CAA): $2,000

Through exhibits of artwork by regional and national artists, Cambridge Art Association (CAA) supports the practice of contemporary artists at all stages in their careers. The CAA also provides free of charge access to galleries, exhibits work in public spaces, and works to eliminate barriers to entry for both artists and art lovers.

Center for Women & Enterprise (1st time grantee): $2,500

CWE 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.

The Goree Freedom House (1st time grantee): $2,500

The Goree Freedom House is increasing its group organizational capacity so it can support members in the community work that they do, support the exploration and development of goals of individuals in the community, coordinate events, and build partnerships with others.

Just-A-Start Corporation (JAS): $15,000

Year-round, tuition-free education and workforce training programs help individuals enter sustaining careers and attain economic mobility. Programs include: Biomedical & Information Technology Careers Programs for adults, JAS YouthBuild & TeenWork for youth, and the Financial Opportunity Program for all JAS clients.

Self Esteem Boston Educational Institute: $2,500

You’re Worth It is a 12-week program at CASPAR’s Womanplace in Cambridge serving 50 clients. This program builds confidence in the job search process and helps women position themselves for economic mobility toward the goals of empowerment, sobriety and family reunification with 85% of participants increasing their skills.


Community Music Center of Boston: $2,000

Cambridge Public School’s preschool special education initiative: Music Therapy at Special Start is an innovative and high-impact program.

Neighborhood Children’s Foundation: $3,500

The Beautiful Stuff Project invites children to think and build creatively using materials from “Treasure boxes” brought into the classroom. This curriculum enables children to  engage with materials in a way that standardized curriculum does not. Their approach promotes play and encourages STEAM as an integral part of the school day.

Riverside Community Care, Inc. (The Guidance Center): $7,500

Riverside Community Care ensures behavioral health and human service needs are met in communities. Staff development and off-site training increases staffs’ ability to work effectively with all families.



Agassiz Baldwin Community (ABC): $2,500

ABC’s Equity & Access Fund provides scholarships for children living in poverty to attend

high quality programs at ABC. Scholarships cover tuition for Sacramento Street Preschool, Agassiz Baldwin Afterschool (including full day vacation week programs and early release days), Outback Summer Program, and art classes at Maud Morgan Arts.

Boston Symphony Orchestra: $2,500

The Days in the Arts at Tanglewood (DARTS) will take 50 students per week (8 weeks total) to engage in artistic activities and attend cultural performances at a residential camp in the Berkshires. Uniting students from urban, suburban, & rural communities, DARTS fosters an artistic & respectful community.

Breakthrough Greater Boston (BGB): $12,500

Support for BGB’s comprehensive programming that supports low-income students of color in Cambridge 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 & 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 in 2019.

Center for Artistry and Scholarship (CAS): $2,500

CAS and The Design Lab support innovative educators from Cambridge Public Schools to participate in CAS’s Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership (PSi). This support of Design Lab coaching for PSi participants working on Capstone projects has the potential to yield big results for Cambridge’s youth, from increasing mathematical proficiency to expanding music opportunities in CPSD.

Community Art Center: $12,500

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

Navigation Games (1st time grantee): $2,000

These game-based physical and mental fitness programs help kids get exercise, develop critical thinking, work in teams, and learn about the outdoor environment. Their JK-12 programs include after-school classes, in-school programs, and school teams.

Playworks New England: $7,500

Playworks Cambridge TeamUp Programming operates in 3 Cambridge Public Schools during the 2018-19 school year. Students at the Fletcher Maynard, Kennedy-Longfellow, and Baldwin will benefit from TeamUp programming led by a Playworks site coordinator who will consult with recess teams at 4 schools throughout the year to teach and model healthy play.

The Possible Project: $10,000

The Possible Project (TPP) is a 3-year after-school program that combines entrepreneurship, STEAM, Design Thinking, Social & 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 & receive one-on-one career counseling.

Tunefoolery: $1,000

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 the enhanced skills. Music can be a powerful therapeutic tool and can empower those served to contribute to society.

Tutoring Plus of Cambridge: $15,000

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



Cambridge School Volunteers: $7,500

The grant will allow CSV’s Director of High School Programs and new Director of NetPals to collaborate and develop new STEM internship opportunities for CRLS students among CSV’s 15 corporate partners. The budget includes funding for professional development for 3 CSV staff members on Facilitative Leadership for Social Change.

CitySprouts: $3,500

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

InnovatorsforPurpose (iFp): $7,500

The Learning by Doing: Creative Services and Experiential STEM program uses a hands-on multidisciplinary approach that integrates art, design, history and humanities with STEM fields. iFp is rewriting the playbook on how to engage non-traditional STEM learners in STEM subject matter. Learning by doing inspires students to aspire to become a part of the innovation economy, while building access to opportunity, networks and resources.

Prospect Hill Academy: $2,000

Prospect Hill Academy is improving its middle & high school robotics program with additional and more varied robotics equipment. This will allow the program to serve more students and promote the development of key computer science and robotics skills, such as programming, problem solving, engineering design, building skills, and collaboration.



Community Legal Services and Counseling Center: $10,000

CLSACC provides free legal assistance and affordable psychological counseling to people with low incomes and critical needs.

Enroot: $12,500

Enroot’s holistic program for immigrant students in Cambridge will be able to expand to serve 100 high school students, 18 recent high school graduates, and 150+ volunteers.

Project Citizenship (1st time grantee): $2,500

In Cambridge, there are approximately 10,000 qualified applicants who would benefit from the protection/opportunities provided by citizenship. Project Citizenship seeks to reach out to Cantabrigians who are reluctant to apply for citizenship and schedule workshops, provide legal expertise in their application process, and serve as the legal representative at citizenship interviews.


Charles River Conservancy: $2,500

CRC’s Conservancy Volunteers Program provides opportunities to work along the Charles River parklands supporting resource-strained Department of Conservation and Recreation. Funding supports 5 free “open-to-all” community volunteer opportunities in Cambridge for volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to perform vital maintenance work and build ownership of their urban green spaces.

Many Helping Hands: $5,000

Many Helping Hand’s 9th annual Cambridge MLK Day of Service is Jan 21, 2019.  This event will engage 3,000+ volunteers in hands-on service projects helping 10,000+ people in need. MLK Day of Service will take place in 5 locations in Central Square.



Cambridge Arts Council: $7,500

The Cambridge Arts Creative Marketplace (CACM) identifies and promotes an intentional marketplace where residents, artists, arts organizations, and corporate communities connect to support increased cultural identity and economic vitality for the arts in the city.

Cambridge Performance Project (CPP): $2,000

CPP was created in 1985 to bring dance, music and theater to Cambridge Public Schools. They continue to work with elementary level students in after- school programs. CPP currently offers ballet, hip-hop, creative movement, drumming, theater games, puppetry, clowning and yoga in 8 Community Schools, taught by 12 professional artist/teachers. After-school performance programs are well-known for positive impact on student success.

Cambridge Symphony Orchestra: $1,500

Through this grant CCF supports the free Pops on the Lawn Concert to be presented in Danehy Park on Sunday, 6/23/19. For the past 10 years, CSO has presented a free concert-in-the-park for families in Cambridge with the past seven being in the economically, ethnically, and racially diverse North Cambridge neighborhood. These concerts are central to CSO’s mission of community outreach.

Family Opera: $2,500

The CPS Science Songwriting Workshops feature English composer, conductor, educator and science enthusiast David Haines, who will lead 48 science songwriting

workshops, 4 at each of the K-5 Cambridge schools. Working with teachers, Mr. Haines inspires students to integrate music, language arts and the science curriculum through their own compositions, some of which are performed by the NCFO Science Chorus.

Jean Appolon Expressions: $2,500

The Jean Appolon Teen Apprentice and Intensive Program aims to educate local teens in the art of dance, specifically Folkloric Haitian and Modern, and to foster resiliency through social connections, movement, and music. Students gain an appreciation for Haitian and Afro-Caribbean culture and are given the opportunity to grow their dance skills with an understanding of the role of art in social justice.

Multicultural Arts Center: $4,000

The Multicultural Arts Center presents multicultural visual and performing arts programs to educate the community about diversity. The center is looking forward to providing increased access to arts events through affordable ticket prices.

New School of Music: $1,000

NSM’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.

Steps in Time (1st time grantee): $1,500

Steps in Time brings ballroom dance to senior centers, subsidized senior housing, assisted living and memory care communities. The Sunday Soiree is a monthly social dance, free and open to the public, hosted by Steps in Time at The Dance Complex. Soirees give program participants & the general public an opportunity to gather and dance socially in a positive, welcoming environment.

About the Cambridge Community Foundation: As the local giving platform for Cambridge, the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) supports the city’s shared prosperity, social equity and enduring cultural richness, with roots that go a century deep.  The Foundation strives to deeply connect sectors across the community, to highlight emerging and critical needs, and catalyze efforts– through advancing philanthropy, grant making, and civic engagement– to ensure resources are focused where they can make the greatest difference.


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