See Cambridge Community Foundation on:



An overview of our new report’s findings is featured in The Harvard Crimson.


The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung reports on Cambridge’s new guaranteed income pilot.


The Boston Globe’s coverage on our latest research report, Equity & Innovation Cities: The Case of Cambridge.


Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Cambridge Community Foundation is proud to partner with the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund to support Middlesex County nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis serving our most vulnerable communities. Learn about our June 30th grantmaking cycle and our most recent grantmaking on July 14th.

Our grantees of the MA COVID-19 Relief Fund include:

Nonprofits serving Cambridge:

  • Agassiz Baldwin Community: $20,000 to provide immediate and tailored support for low-income families and seniors in Cambridge. 
  • Cambridge Community Center: $25,000 to support around 1,000 food-insecure families and community members through their Food & Supply Pantry. 
  • Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC): $50,000 to provide food for individuals waiting for state and federal relief, and to help more residents apply for SNAP, unemployment and disaster relief.
  • East End House, Inc.: $25,000 to support basic needs identified through emergency case management and emergency supports to fifty under-resourced children, families, and individual cases. 
  • Enroot, Inc.: $25,000 to meet the immediate needs for 45 local immigrant students and their families in Enroot’s College Success program. 
  • Food For Free: $50,000 to provide free summer produce markets and food deliveries to hundreds of food-insecure households in Cambridge and Somerville.
  • Homeowner’s Rehab, Inc.: $25,000 to provide emergency rental assistance to residents in Cambridge who are in danger of eviction due to rental arrearage and to pay utility bills for households in need.
  • Just-A-Start Corporation$25,000 to support basic needs of low- to moderate-income individuals in Cambridge, Medford, and Somerville through Just-A-Start’s (JAS’s) education, training, housing and economic security programs. 
  • Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House: $25,000 to maintain the food pantry and pay rent arrearages for families in The Port neighborhood of Cambridge who live below the poverty line.

Nonprofits serving Medford:

  • Malden YMCA: $40,000 to serve the Medford community with free groceries, grab-and-go youth meals, and home/doorstep grocery delivery to vulnerable households.
  • Friends of the Medford Family Network Corp.: $10,000 to support the basic needs of Medford families affected by COVID-19, including food, clothing, diapers, toiletries, and more. 
  • West Medford Community Center$15,000 to support the emotional and mental health needs of 150 vulnerable individuals in Medford and Somerville as they deal with the immediate and long-term impact of social isolation exacerbated by the pandemic. 

Nonprofits serving Somerville:

  • Community Action Agency of Somerville, Inc. (CAAS): $100,000 for the Somerville Cares Fund, to assist low-income households in danger of eviction with rent arrearages.
  • Welcome Project, Inc.: $30,000 to provide financial support to immigrant families in Somerville, Medford, and Cambridge who are financially impacted by COVID-19, helping with utilities and other direct costs.

Photo above: Volunteers and staff at the Cambridge Community Center’s Food & Supply Pantry. Photo courtesy of the Center.


The Cambridge Community Foundation is deeply involved in many of the issues that intersect with racial equity, and we’ve pledged to undergo a deep introspection of ourselves and our work, with an intentional lens on racial equity. Read more in a letter from our president, Geeta Pradhan.

We invite you to join us by educating ourselves and one another, being proactive, lifting up leaders of color, and learning about and rallying behind the organizations supporting our Black and Brown neighbors. Click here for a list of resources shared by our community that can help us all on our journey to educate ourselves and take action. 


Help us find people working on innovative ideas in Cambridge

Cambridge Community Foundation is excited to announce our second annual Social Innovation Award competition, Imagined in Cambridge. As a funder of Cambridge nonprofits for more than a century, we are deeply rooted in the community—yet we are confident there are local ideas we don’t know about. Last year, we uncovered five award-winning ideas presenting innovative solutions to pressing social problems and we know there are more. We want to discover and foster the next generation of emerging leaders and ideas that will help shape our mission to support Cambridge’s shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness. Now more than ever, faced with two pandemics in our community—COVID-19 and racism—voices for change are needed.

Somewhere in Cambridge we know there is a student, an emerging nonprofit, a group of neighbors, or an entrepreneur tackling a problem, inventing a solution, and/or implementing a program that will improve the quality of life in Cambridge.

We’re looking for original ideas that exhibit creativity, daring, and ambition. We value light touch interventions—programs that can be implemented with small resources and create big impact. Help us find them!

The award winner will receive $5,000 and two runners-up will each receive $1,000. All three also will receive at least one pro bono consulting session with the Foundation and join a growing network of social entrepreneurs in the community.

The 2020 application is now closed. This year’s winner and runners-up will be announced in October.


Adolescent Consultation Services

A recent Foundation grantee.

ACS supports and empowers court-involved children and families by providing mental health prevention and intervention services to help them move forward in a positive direction.

Jessie*: Understanding Herself

Jessie juggles the multiple roles that define her: teenager, adopted from a foreign country, child of divorce, and transgender.

Her life began in a Romanian hospital. Jessie was later placed in an orphanage. By the time she was adopted by an American couple, she had suffered serious emotional and physical neglect, the effects of which have stayed with her. Jessie is very small for her age. It is also difficult for her to develop meaningful attachments to others.

After joining her new family, the impact of Jessie’s early life experiences began to show. She began to act out at home and in school. These behaviors put a strain on her relationship with her mother, Amy. While a certain degree of turbulence often accompanies adolescence, Jessie was struggling to make sense of her past while also trying to come to terms with her gender identity. She had no idea how to explain this struggle to Amy or how to cope with everything on her own. She started to spend her time with older kids and began to smoke marijuana heavily.

Because Amy worried she could no longer keep Jessie safe, she filed a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) application. Jessie and Amy met with an ACS clinician who conducted in-depth interviews, both individually and together. The clinician came to better understand Jessie’s present needs. Rather than diagnosing her with a list of conditions and disorders, the clinician considered Jessie in the context of her life experience and what required immediate attention. As it turned out, Jessie was pretty “tired of” talking about being adopted and how her parents’ divorce had affected her. What she really wanted support and guidance around was how to be true to her identity as a girl.

Along with the regular strains on parent-child relationships during adolescence, Amy was facing the reality that she was losing her son and gaining a daughter. The clinician helped her process these feelings. She also educated her about some of the risks associated with being transgender, including bullying, higher rates of suicide, and mental health issues. The ACS clinician linked Jessie and Amy to separate support groups geared toward both of their needs.

Jessie is still involved with the court, but as subsequent court dates approach, she and Amy have reason to be hopeful. While Jessie still seeks out older peers and continues to use marijuana, her relationship with Amy is slowly improving. The support groups recommended by the ACS clinician have helped. Today, Jessie is happy and energetic. She feels accepted and supported by other kids in the transgender youth support group and her new therapist is a great fit for her. Her ACS clinician continues to check in and offer continued support to Jessie and Amy. Jessie is getting the support she needs to begin to build her self-confidence, make healthy choices, and work toward a positive future.


Ryan*: Driving Through Chaos

Ryan was raised amidst the chaos and violence that seemed to follow his mother, Cheryl. The men in their lives had been abusive and Cheryl was hospitalized more than once with severe injuries. They’d had to move around a lot so it had been difficult to put down roots.

Cheryl eventually found a stable job, a safe place to live, and it seemed like things were looking up. But Ryan had trouble adjusting to this new life. He began to exhibit emotional and behavioral outbursts. By the time Ryan entered high school, these outburst had become quite serious. Ryan disobeyed rules and routinely skipped school. Cheryl began to fear that she could no longer keep her son safe. She filed a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) application with the court. That’s when Ryan was referred to ACS for a mental health evaluation.

An ACS clinician met at length with Ryan and interviewed his family members. She reviewed his school and medical records and consulted with his teachers. It became clear that Ryan’s behaviors were delayed symptoms of the chronic trauma he and Cheryl had experienced.

Ryan began the new school year at an alternative high school designed to support his needs. In time, his behavior stabilized, and he began to thrive. He even joined the high school basketball team. The structure and support of this setting, paired with the self-esteem he gained from playing his favorite sport, proved to be a winning combination. Because Ryan had made such strides, the school system began to plan for his return to the mainstream high school. Ryan’s clinician strongly advised against this plan, explaining that Ryan was at significant risk for losing the ground he had gained and reverting to old behaviors.

Upon completing her evaluation, the judge approved the clinician’s recommendation that the report be distributed to everyone who was invested in Ryan’s continued progress. His clinician is working with the Department of Children and Families to advocate for an expansion in the services Ryan and Cheryl receive. The family’s attorney informed the clinician that reading her evaluation helped him develop greater empathy for Cheryl. Ryan now has a larger team supporting him and rooting for his continued success.


Jayla*: Finding Home

Jayla spent a lot of time on her own as a young child. Her father was incarcerated, and her mother, Maria, had to work nights. Frequently, Jayla would phone her aunt, who would talk her through making a simple dinner for herself. Maria also had men in her life who abused substances and at times, these men also abused Jayla and Maria.

Jayla was eventually placed in foster care. She found her foster parents to be good people, but “it’s like living in a foreign country.” She knew they meant well, but everything was just so different. First of all, the food was healthy – not the take-out that she was used to. And her foster parents expected her to eat meals with them, come home every night, and stop swearing. While their home was “nice” and the school was “good,” Jayla, a biracial child, felt out of place in the largely white, upper middle class school and community. She often skipped school to return to her old neighborhood in search of her friends. Eventually, Jayla’s school filed a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) truancy application, which led to her evaluation at ACS.

At age 15, Jayla was quiet and thoughtful as she met with her ACS clinician. After meeting and interviewing Jayla and those close to her, Jayla’s clinician recommended that she be temporarily placed in a group home with the ultimate goal of reuniting her with her mother. Her clinician also recommended trauma-informed therapy for Jayla, and a parent partner, who could provide support and coaching to Maria as they worked toward reunification.

Upon completing her evaluation, Jayla’s clinician followed up with the family and learned that Jayla was already back at home with Maria. Jayla was attending school regularly and doing better overall. Maria continues to work with her parent partner and Jayla has continued with therapy. Their relationship is improving, and Jayla is moving in a positive direction, which is reason to celebrate.


Analisa*: Transforming Conflict into Understanding

Analisa is a 14-year-old young woman who became involved with the District Attorney’s Diversion program. Her charge was domestic assault and battery, the result of a physical altercation between Analisa and her mother, Elena. Analisa was functioning well in all other areas of her life, but she and Elena had a difficult relationship. Elena had sought family therapy, but treatment was not yet scheduled due to long waitlists. An ACS clinician intervened at a critical time, providing family therapy at no cost.

Because even trivial conversations would quickly escalate, the clinician immediately focused on helping Elena and Analisa improve the safety of their communication. As their relationship improved, they both learned new skills and began to practice compromise. The clinician helped Elena to better understand normal adolescent behaviors and to see how her feelings of guilt about being a single mother were affecting her parenting. She helped Analisa learn to understand and gain control over her anger. Both mother and daughter worked hard in treatment and made meaningful strides.

Analisa successfully completed the Diversion program. She was truly diverted from the court: She has no delinquent charges and no permanent court record. Analisa remains at home with her mother, where they continue to build on their progress.

* To protect confidentiality, ACS does not use the names, photos, or identifying features of clients.


Organized in 2014, the SNAP Match Cambridge Coalition works to make healthy, local produce at farmers markets more affordable and accessible to low-income shoppers in Cambridge. A unique joint fundraising effort for the SNAP Match program has doubled the amount of farm fresh products purchased by SNAP families and individuals at the three participating farmers markets in Cambridge.

The Foundation acts as the coalition’s fiscal sponsor.


The city of Cambridge has arrived at a critical moment in its long and celebrated history. The center of a dynamic economy, our community is being tested as new wealth creates new social distances and stresses.

Can the city preserve a heritage of diversity and inclusion as it becomes a boomtown – the epicenter of a regional innovation economy? Will Cambridge’s prized combination of different backgrounds and perspectives survive?

These questions were among the topics at a forum presented by Cambridge Community Foundation March 1 at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square which included the release of a report titled Boomtown/Hometown: What the Numbers say about Income, Housing and Education in Cambridge Today.

This report draws attention to three powerful trends shaping our city’s future: increasing income inequality, rapidly rising housing costs and persistent educational disparities. Where are these trends taking Cambridge? Can our city-with its booming innovation economy and exceptional community assets-keep its historic commitment to social justice and create a future in which prosperity is shared across the entire community.

(Read the Report)

Tech-cellerate is an initiative of the Foundation

CAMBRIDGE MA (May 23, 2017) – A program that provides laptop computers to low-income Cambridge residents celebrated an important milestone on May 23.  High school students as well as adults building job skills at the Community Learning Center were recognized and given computers at a gathering held at Google Cambridge’s Kendall Square headquarters. The program also honored partners and sponsors of the program. Speakers included Denise Simmons, mayor of Cambridge; Geeta Pradhan, president of Cambridge Community Foundation; and Liz Schwab, head of external affairs at Google.


“Increasing opportunity by creating pathways into the innovation economy is an integral part of our work at the Foundation,” said Geeta Pradhan. “This  program, which started with a generous gift from Google of 200 laptops, has grown through a partnership of organizations all committed to building skills and making connections for residents—high school students and adults—who can benefit from adding skills, access to tools and training.”


Those in the program wrote about how getting laptops touched their lives, “It is very hard to share one laptop with four siblings because they also need to use a laptop as much as I need to, wrote one student. “Even my younger brother, who is in fifth grade, has to use laptop to do his homework. I have to wait for my siblings. It is almost impossible for me to go to bed before 11:30 pm . . . .


Others were excited by the possibilities the tools created.


…Technology promotes interactivity and involvement. It makes everything easier to access. It helps us be more efficient and productive.”


Tech-cellerate started with the gift of 200 lap-top computers and a support fund from Google to the Cambridge Community Foundation. The Foundation built a network of community partners – including the City of Cambridge and Cambridge Youth Programs, Community Arts Center, Enroot, the Herbert and Maxine Jacobs Foundation, Kendall Square Association, the Lemelson-MIT Program, and Prospect Hill Academy Charter School.


“We are delighted to have a part in this program in our neighborhood,” said Google’s Liz Schwab. “Using technology to connect people to opportunities is critical—especially here in the heart of the innovation economy.”


Students who could benefit from access to laptops were invited to join Tech-cellerate through the community partner organizations. Training and individualized projects were developed to ensure recipients would be able to make maximum use of the computers. The program is managed by Romaine Waite, a community activist and entrepreneur.

He first saw the gap in technology among students in The Port, where he lived, and understood the impact that had on their lives. As the world becomes more wired, technology matter more, connecting students to the internet and the world of online knowledge and opportunity.

As the center of the innovation economy, the need to address this gap in Cambridge loomed large and he teamed up with the Cambridge Community Foundation to address it.

About Cambridge Community Foundation

Cambridge Community Foundation was established in 1916, making it one of the oldest community foundations in the country. The only foundation with the whole city of Cambridge in its purview, it is a key supporter of nonprofit organizations, distributing grants to meet local needs and support the aspirations of Cambridge residents. The Foundation provides advocacy and leadership support to deal with urgent local challenges and partners with donors to provide a permanent source of charitable funds for the community.

About Google in Massachusetts


Located in the heart of greater Boston’s technology community and across the street from MIT in Kendall Square, Google Cambridge is our second largest office east of the Mississippi River. We opened a small Boston sales office in 2003, joined a new engineering team in Cambridge in 2006, and opened our current office in 2008. Our Cambridge office has more than 1,000 employees working in sales and many product areas, including search, travel, Android, YouTube, networking infrastructure, and Google Play.


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