THE FOUNDATION THEN AND NOW
The Cambridge Community Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the nation, established to make a difference in the lives of Cambridge residents. Created in 1916 to serve as a vehicle for local giving and to address local needs, the Foundation has expanded its commitment to the power of philanthropy and to civic leadership over the past century.
A founding gift from cattleman Jonathan Maynard Parmenter was dedicated to college scholarships, and has since enabled generations of students to study at Harvard College.
As the Foundation’s endowment grew through gifts and bequests, it expanded its range of activity. Since the 1950s, organized grantmaking to support nonprofit organizations has steadily increased. Last year, the Foundation awarded $1.7 million in grants to nonprofits and scholarships. That support has also grown more strategic over time, focused on long-term impact and addressing critical community needs.
Today Cambridge stands as an epicenter of a global innovation economy. Yet many residents continue to struggle, and there are unintended consequences of our growth: escalating real estate costs, increases in evictions and homelessness, and loss of the middle class. Too many youth grow up ill equipped to thrive in the very economy that drives the city and the region.
To address these critical challenges, the Foundation works to support systemic change for shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness. Help us protect our city’s time-tested values. We need community participation to help Cambridge be a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant city for all.