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.


1916 - FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED The Cambridge Foundation, one of the first community foundations in the U.S., is established as a community trust by the Harvard Trust Company “for the purpose of assisting citizens of Cambridge and others in providing for wise and general charity.” The first bequest, the Parmenter Fund, is established to provide scholarships for needy students. Continue Reading 1931 - COMBINED FUND ESTABLISHED The first Combined Fund is established so that, in addition to starting a fund, donors have the option of giving a gift of any size that is pooled so that it can be “invested with economy” and grants can be disbursed at the discretion of the Distribution Committee, which consists of “Cambridge citizens who are chosen for their knowledge of philanthropic affairs and community needs.” Continue Reading 1938 - COLLABORATION IS FORMED The Cambridge Foundation and Cambridge Community Services (the local Red Feather agency / community chest) form a collaboration to support programs of agencies serving the community. Continue Reading 1954 - PUBLISHED FIRST ANNUAL REPORT The Cambridge Foundation publishes its first annual report, reporting to the public on its stewardship of funds totaling $627,000 and grants awarded in Early Childhood Services: $550; Youth Services: $4,925; Senior Services: $350; Community Services: $3,500; Emergency Outreach: $903; in addition to $19,765 in scholarships awarded by the Parmenter Fund. Continue Reading 1964 - ENDOWMENT EXCEEDS ONE MILLION DOLLARS The Cambridge Foundation’s endowment exceeds $1 million. Continue Reading 1966 - GRANTS AWARDED Grants awarded in Early Childhood Services: $2,705; Youth Services: $7,630; Senior Services: $1,865; Community Services: $14,523; Emergency Outreach: $900. Continue Reading 1976 - GRANTS AWARDED Grants awarded in Early Childhood Services: $3,650; Youth Services: $13,500; Senior Services: $2,207; Community Services: $15,300; Emergency Outreach: $1,000; Arts and the Environment: $750. Continue Reading 1986 - COMMUNITY ADDED TO NAME “Community” is added to the organization’s name in order to better describe the work of the Foundation. The mission of the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) is redefined: “To stimulate the establishment of endowments to serve the local community now and in the future. To address community needs by providing leadership and resources.” Grants awarded in Early Childhood Services: $9,500; Youth Services: $43,800; Senior Services: $12,732; Community Services: $32,200; Emergency Outreach: $14,000; Arts and the environment: $2,500. Continue Reading 1991 - CELEBRATES 75TH ANNIVERSARY The Cambridge Community Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary. Mayor Alice Wolf proclaims a week in May as “Cambridge Community Founda- tion Week” commemorating 75 years of service to the community and honoring CCF supported agencies. CCF becomes fiscal agent for the Kendall Community Group, a unique business-community collaboration between corporations in Kendall Square and human service agencies designed to support local youth programs in Area 4. KCG’s mission is to provide financial, in-kind, and volunteer support to the Community Art Center, the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, and Tutoring Plus of Cambridge, as Continue Reading 1992 - CONVENER OF CAMBRIDGE FUNDERS CCF becomes the convener of Cambridge Funders, which provides an opportunity for Cambridge private and corporate foundations, universities, and banks to network, share ideas on grant making and explore collaborative possibilities while building a broader base for community understanding and philanthropy. Cambridge’s selection as one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” and recognition of the Let’s Talk campaign by the National Association of County and City Health Officials reinforced the potential for such teamwork. Together we were making a difference to the City’s most vulnerable learners, not to Continue Reading 1993 - FIRST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR The Cambridge Community Foundation hires its first full-time executive director, after many years of sharing staff with Cambridge Community Services, in order to increase its effectiveness in providing financial support to the City of Cambridge. Continue Reading 1996 - GRANTS AWARDED Grants awarded in 1995–1996 in Early Childhood Services: $10,500; Youth Services: $45,000; Senior Services: $13,160; Community Services: $40,000; Emergency Outreach: $26,500; Arts and the Environment: $9,500. Continue Reading AGENDA FOR CHILDREN DEVELOPED The Cambridge Community Foundation, along with various city departments and over 80 neighborhood groups collaborate in the development of the Agenda for Children. The first goals of this initiative are to promote literacy among children and their families and to assure youth access to supervised activities in nurturing Continue Reading 2001 - AGENDA FOR CHILDREN PLEDGED CCF pledges $100,000 per year for five years to support the Agenda for Children’s out-of-school time and early childhood literacy initiatives. Continue Reading 2002 - LEADERSHIP FUND ESTABLISHED The Leadership Fund is established to provide ongoing support to the Foundation’s administration. Its purpose is to provide the financial resources to ensure CCF’s lasting role as an institution essential to the well-being of Cambridge. Continue Reading 2006 - GROWING BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS The Cambridge Community Foundation has grown leaps and bounds from its modest beginnings. In the past 10 years alone the Foundation has experienced growth of over 150% to the endowment (currently $19.3 mil- lion), and 128% in grants (currently $666,444 from 60 funds) with over 183 agencies served. Grants awarded in 2005–2006 in Early Childhood Services: $58,500; Youth Services: $243,200; Senior Services: $34,466; Community Services: $148,440; Emergency Outreach: $77,500; Arts and the Environment: $62,000. CCF continues to increase its role as a support for Cambridge-serving organizations, a convener of coalitions that identify Continue Reading 2015 - LONGTIME CCF DIRECTOR HONORED About 280 supporters and community leaders gathered last month to honor Bob Hurlbut, Executive Director of the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF), who has announced his retirement after 21 years. The May 13 tribute at the Microsoft NERD Center raised around $220,000 in support of the newly launched Hurlbut Legacy Fund for Cambridge. “I was overwhelmed and it has been my good fortune to work with so many good people in Cambridge – agency heads, donors, and those who really care about the city,” Bob Hurlbut said. “It is they who deserve Continue Reading 2015 - GEETA PRADHAN NEW FOUNDATION PRESIDENT   The Board of Overseers of the Cambridge Community Foundation has named Geeta Pradhan to be its president.  She comes from the Boston Foundation, where she oversaw community impact and grantmaking in Education, Health, Jobs, Housing & Neighborhoods and the Arts. Pradhan also played a leading role in a range of initiatives and collaborative ventures, including work on the Fairmount Corridor Initiative, a project on a grand scale which seeks to create greater opportunity for Boston’s low-income neighborhoods by improving transit access as well as housing and community economic development through the arts, entrepreneurship, Continue Reading