Published On: April 11th, 2024

Photo by the Asian American Ballet Project, one of 78 Cambridge nonprofits receiving funding this spring.

With record requests, 78 organizations receive funding this spring

April 11, 2024 | Cambridge, MA

This spring, the Cambridge Community Foundation has awarded a total of $645,410 in grants to support 78 local nonprofits working to address pressing community needs, thanks in part to a record number of investments from donors.

For the Community Fund Spring grants cycle, $369,500 came from the Foundation’s endowment and an additional $161,500 came from donor co-investments, allowing the Foundation to fund seventy-four community-based organizations. An additional $24,410 in grants from the Arrow Street Arts Fund went to three performing arts organizations. Another $90,000 was awarded to Cambridge Volunteers, My Brother’s Keeper Cambridge Taskforce, and Philanthropy Massachusetts’ Summer Fund as part of the Foundation’s multi-year commitments.

“With these grants, we see nonprofits influence lives and it has a domino effect. An organization supports its staff, who then empower individuals, who go on to impact their children, their workplaces, and their circles and community in more positive ways. The return on these investments are people, left a little better than they were before,” said Rev. Lorraine Thornhill, co-chair of CCF’s Program Committee and pastor at Kingdom Empowerment Center in Cambridge.

Each year, the Foundation distributes grants from the Community Fund to respond to emerging needs and strengthen Cambridge’s vibrant nonprofit sector and its capacity to support the community. The organizations receiving grants through the fund this spring are using the dollars to support general operations and programs in education, youth and workforce development, community building and engagement, food security, health and wellbeing, housing, environment, and arts and culture.

The Arrow Street Arts Fund, a partnership between the Foundation and Arrow Street Arts, aims to strengthen the arts and culture ecosystem by providing subsidized use of the newly renovated Arrow Street Arts venue at 2 Arrow Street in Harvard Square. Prior to this spring’s grant round, five performing arts organizations received a total of $31,248 from the Arrow Street Arts Fund in January.

This spring’s grants follow the Foundation’s launch last fall of a new five-year strategic plan, promising strategic investments to support collaborations aimed at solving some of the city’s most pressing problems. The two pillars of the plan are improving economic mobility and strengthening community bonds, or social cohesion.

“The depth and breadth of ongoing needs in our community are clear given the record number of applications we received to the Community Fund this spring—we also saw the impressive power of our nonprofit sector to bring solutions to local problems in their every-day work,” said Christina Turner, vice president of programs and grantmaking at the Cambridge Community Foundation. “Thank you to all the nonprofit partners continuing and new that we funded this spring for your commitment toward a more just, vibrant, and equitable Cambridge.”

Philanthropic partners add dollars to the Community Fund

CCF’s donor advised fundholders and other co-investors increased the funding available to nonprofits by a record 44 percent this spring.

“Our philanthropic partners once again rose to the occasion to pool their resources and help do much more for our community. We’re continually heartened to see donors show up locally,” said Michal Rubin, vice president of philanthropic partnerships, adding that 75 percent of donor advised grants made through CCF go to local organizations. “Giving to the Community Fund is one of the most impactful local investments donors can make. They’re supporting a broad range of nonprofits, responding to the community’s greatest needs, and collectively amplifying the Foundation’s ability to address them.”

This marks the fourth consecutive Community Fund grant cycle with a record-high amount of grant proposals and dollars requested, and the fourth time the Foundation and partnered with its Donor Advised Fundholders and other co-investors to expand the total funds available to respond to heightened community needs. This spring’s Community Fund co-investors include Abram and Debbie Klein, the Cosulich Family Charitable Fund, Daniel Raizen, the Johnson Family, the Lander Family, the Laskin Fund for Cambridge, the St. Onge Family Fund, the Upland Gardens Fund and the Viney Wallach Foundation.

The largest category of the spring Community Fund grants — 24 percent — was for arts and culture organizations. The grants ranged from $1,500 to $25,000, with investments supporting the Foundation’s visionary goals for Cambridge – shared prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness. The decisions were informed by a 16-member volunteer committee of community members who participate in a community review process of each application.

Nonprofits move the needle on economic mobility and social cohesion

An anchor institution in the city’s arts and culture sector, The Dance Complex received a $25,000 operating grant from the Community Fund as well as $6,100 from the Arrow Street Arts Fund. The nonprofit is building a long-term vision for its Central Square building (and beyond) to meet community needs far into the future. Since the pandemic, The Dance Complex has doubled down on its community focus, listening to the dance community and Cambridge neighbors about their needs. They’re creating new support systems for artists and free programming series that deal with pressing social issues through the art of dancing.

“As just one example – our new Friday Night Lights series includes mini-lessons followed by a dance party. Some bring together our local street dance scene and world dance genres taught in our building to create a new, evolving dance. We get a full spectrum of people – old and young, multiple backgrounds and abilities, the queer spectrum, and from all races and corners of the world – holding hands and creating a new dance together. It’s a living, breathing metaphor for making the world a better place,” said Peter DiMuro, executive artistic director of The Dance Complex.

Under the category of economic security and mobility, Compass Working Capital got a $15,000 grant to continue expanding its Financial Stability and Savings program, which the nonprofit has run in deep partnership with the Cambridge Housing Authority since 2012. The program has helped 545 Cambridge families save a total of $2,375,000 toward their goals, ranging from emergency savings to home ownership to education and starting small businesses. Cambridge Community Foundation has been a consistent supporter of Compass and CHA’s program since 2014, and thanks to donors’ co-investments this spring, the Foundation gave them their largest grant to date.

“What we love about this program, with CCF’s support, is it has brought philanthropy, government, and nonprofits together to innovatively help low-income families tap into existing federal resources,” said Jimmy Stuart, chief external affairs officer at Compass Working Capital. “We’re grateful for philanthropic support that recognizes that we’ve built something successful these past twelve years and there is still a lot of room to keep delivering impact and enroll more families. And it sends a message to families that this program isn’t going away – the community holds our commitment to them.”

Spring grant recipients


ANIKAYA: $15,250 from Arrow Street Arts Fund

“Migrations,” a site-responsive movement score, focuses on community involvement and outreach by partnering with local organizations to ensure broad audience representation. 

Asian American Ballet Project: $2,500

Audience Development program to connect with community organizations to help reach a broader segment of target audiences.

Asian American Playwright Collective: $2,500

Showcasing new works by Boston-area based Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Boston Dance Theater: $2,500

General operating support to the BDT Company and its artistic programming, including the creation of multicultural-relevant works, educational programs, and Open Studio Presentations.

Cambridge Children’s Chorus: $3,000

General operating support for vocal programs made accessible to children regardless of financial, demographic, or spatial barriers.

CW Taekwondo Boston: $2,500

Financial support to low and mid-income families for movement arts education through taekwondo.

Cambridge Hip-Hop Collective: $5,100

Development of a series of Bridgeside Cypher events throughout Cambridge.

Cambridge Jazz Foundation: $10,100

Support for the 9th annual Jazz Festival, which will take place in July.

Central Square Business Improvement District: $2,500

Rush Hour Jam Sessions.

Central Square Theater: $15,000

Support across two producing seasons that includes three main stage professional productions; companion community connectivity pre/post show programs; a multi-tiered Community & Education Program.

Global Arts Live: $15,100

Planning grant to develop an internship program for the new performing arts center, 585 Arts.

Jean Appolon Expressions: $15,000

African diasporic community classes and the Summer Dance Institute program.

Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre: $7,500

Provide high quality arts programming for Cambridge residents with sequential arts training and Dance for World Community.

Midday Movement Series: $5,000

Justice in Dance Practice Initiative, a transformative suite of programs uplifting BIPOC dance artists.

New School of Music: $1,500

Operating expenses, with a special focus on the scholarship program which helps make music lessons and full-day summer programs accessible to a diverse group of Cambridge families.

Shelter Music Boston: $3,000

Providing live classical music concerts in homeless shelters, recovery centers, and similar sites serving adults and children in need.

The Click: $5,000

The Dance For All program invites adult movers of all identities, economic statuses, and experience levels to explore their creative voices through ballet, contemporary and improvisational dance.

The Dance Complex: $25,000 from the Community Fund; and $6,100 from Arrow Street Arts Fund

General operating support and funding for Roots & Routes Concert, a showcase of diverse dance artists from marginalized communities, held at Arrow Street Arts.

Urbanity Dance: $5,000

Dance With Parkinson’s program that serves the residents of Youville House.

VLA Dance: $5,000 from the Community Fund; and $3,060 from Arrow Street Arts Fund

For Nina, a multilayered project and thank you letter to freedom-fighter Nina Simone.



Asian American Resource Workshop: $5,000

Program for South Asian youth and young adults based in Cambridge and Somerville to learn more about organizing and political education.

Cambridge Basketball Lab: $5,000

Providing Cambridge youth with basketball workouts and mentorship free of charge.

Citizens of the World: $5,000

Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Expos and Tour during April vacation week.

Community Boating: $3,000

The Environmental Science Program (ESP), a popular part of the summer sailing youth program (Junior Program).

Cradles to Crayons: $3,000

Everyday Essentials program, which provides clothing and other basic essentials to vulnerable children.

CYCLE Kids: $2,500

Educational materials in student kits for 542 Cambridge 3rd and 4th grade students.

East End House: $25,000

Promote the well-being, academic achievement, and successful transition to adulthood of children and youth from under-resourced families in Cambridge and surrounding communities.

Green Cambridge: $2,500

Staffing and program materials for the six-week summer program with the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP).

Horizons for Homeless Children: $5,000

High quality play opportunities with trained, caring volunteers.

JOYweavers: $7,500

Accessible day camp that has the staffing and supports to maximize success for children with therapeutic needs.

Maria L. Baldwin Community Center: $10,000

Full and partial scholarships for children to attend after-school and summer programs.

Phillips Brook House Association (PBHA): $4,000

Cambridge Youth Enrichment Program (CYEP), a six-week, full-day summer camp offering academic instruction and summer recreation to low-income children.

Reach Out and Read: $5,100

Provide books, training, quality assurance, technical support, and evaluation to five sites in Cambridge.


Cambridge Carnival International: $7,500

Expanding and maintaining staffing and operational capacity to support cultural programs.

Mass Audubon: $5,000

Free nature education programs and events to connect the Cambridge community to their local greenspaces and each other.

New England Bangladeshi American Foundation: $2,500

General operating support for health and education programming that enhances community well-being among South Asian families in Cambridge.

Upstander Project: $5,000

The Upstander Academy, an immersive learning experience for those who seek a deeper understanding of the history and contemporary reality of the Original Peoples of this land.


Adbar Ethiopian Women’s Alliance: $5,000

Building the organization’s capacity to achieve its mission of empowering low-income and underserved constituents.

Boston Impact Initiative: $25,000

Scaling up a successful model for closing the racial wealth gap and building community wealth and power by investing integrated capital in impact-driven entrepreneurs of color and community-owned projects.

Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC): $25,000

General operating support for CEOC’s many programs, allowing the expansion of wraparound services and programs.

Compass Working Capital: $15,000

Continue and expand comprehensive financial coaching and savings program for families in HUD-assisted housing.

Economic Mobility Pathways: $10,000

AmpUp Program, intensive coaching supporting people as they support their families and themselves, saving, reducing debts, and obtaining education.

Found in Translation: $7,500

Support low-income-earning and/or homeless, bilingual women to enter, build, and sustain careers in medical interpreting that promote language access and equity in healthcare.

Second Chances: $2,500

General operating support to support increased capacity for the clothing donation program.



Actors’ Shakespeare Project: $5,000

Scholarship funding for Cambridge residents in an annual Summer Youth Intensive.

Cambridge Center for Adult Education: $5,000

Supporting, maintaining, and growing organizational operations for community learning.

Community Action Agency of Somerville: $10,000

Free training program that leads participants directly to substitute teaching jobs in early education programs upon completion.

Friends of the Community Learning Center: $10,000

Campus-based coaching program providing individualized coaching support to CRLS and CLC Bridge to College students, enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College and UMass Boston.

Tech Goes Home: $10,000

Collaborate with partners to offer computers, internet, and digital skills training to students, families, workers, and older adults who have been systematically excluded from the digital world.

The Young People’s Project: $15,000

Programs offered to Cambridge students working to close the racial academic achievement gap.


Charles River Watershed Association: $2,500

Cambridge initiatives: combating invasive species, enhancing water quality, supporting green infrastructure, and fostering climate resilience.

Climable: $2,500

Staffing costs for community engagement initiatives, outreach materials and resources, venue rentals for workshops and events, and stipends for community members participating in workshops.


Spoonfuls: $8,000

Food recovery and hunger relief operations in Cambridge.

Project Manna: $5,000

Provide meals from the soup kitchen and offer groceries to families from the food pantry program.

Project Restore Us: $2,600

Cooking classes with the teens, paired with the distribution of staple goods and produce to the community.

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine Massachusetts: $5,000

Food rescue programming which rescues high-quality excess food and delivers it to direct-service organization partners.

The Outdoor Church: $1,500

Outreach and distribution of sandwiches, drinks, snacks, socks, and other sundry items to unhoused, homeless, and street-involved community people weekly.



Adolescent Consultation Services: $10,000

Providing direct mental health services to children and their families who are served by Cambridge Juvenile Court.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters: $8,000

Street Outreach and Mobile Medical Van Programs to runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth in the city of Cambridge.

Cambridge Health Alliance: $3,500

The preparation of The Brief Addiction Science Information Source (The BASIS) and outreach to Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) healthcare providers and patients.

Carroll Center for the Blind: $2,000

Comprehensive vision services to those who live, learn, and work in Cambridge.

Community Servings: $7,500

Nutrition program for Cambridge residents affected by critical or chronic illnesses.

Emerge: $5,000

Program to enable people with low incomes to address abusive behavior toward partners and children.

Harvard Square Churches Meal Program: $4,000

Toiletry products through the weekly Thursday night meal program.

Rian Immigrant Center: $10,000
Work with Cambridge immigrant youth, families and individual Cambridge residents to significantly increase their potential for success and stability through immigration legal advice and representation.

Women’s Educational Center: $6,000

Essential services and support to women and individuals identifying with womanhood.



Cambridge Neighborhood Apartment Housing Services: $8,000

Summer youth programs, increasing Liberation Libraries and Books & Bites program support.

Furnishing Hope of Massachusetts: $2,500

General operating support so all families and youth referred by Cambridge agency partners will be provided with furniture, home goods, moving, and set-up services to create a safe and comfortable home as they transition from homelessness into stable housing.

Heading Home: $5,000

General operating support for an agency that provides 200+ Cambridge-based residents experiencing homelessness with pathways to self-sufficiency, working to end both immediate and systemic homelessness.

Hildebrand Family Self-Help Center: $7,500

Children and parents experiencing homelessness will be provided with emergency shelter, supportive programs, community connections and resources, and stabilization services for two years post-shelter.

Material Aid and Advocacy Program: $3,000

Meeting unhoused community members’ self-identified immediate needs while working towards transformative systemic change.

Metro Housing | Boston: $15,000

Program costs in the Housing Supports program that provides a portfolio of housing services tailored to the unique needs of low-income Cambridge residents.

On The Rise: $6,500

Creating a safe and supportive community that fosters self-determination and wellbeing for women, transgender, and nonbinary people on their journey through and beyond homelessness.

Transition House: $10,000

General operating support for high-quality housing continuum services and community partnership programming in Cambridge.

Y2Y Network: $10,000

General operating to maintain operations at Y2Y Harvard Square.


Cambridge Volunteers: $20,000 (third installment in a five-year, $100K commitment)

Strengthening civic life in Cambridge by championing local volunteer opportunities and supporting an effective and inclusive volunteer corps.

My Brother’s Keeper Cambridge Taskforce: $50,000 (final installment in a three-year, $150K commitment)

Strategic planning efforts will expand and operationalize the Empowerment Program for high school-aged youth.

Philanthropy Massachusetts: $20,000 (part of a three-year, $60K commitment)

The Summer Fund aims to positively impact the lives of thousands of underserved youth in Greater Boston through summer enrichment activities provided by direct service nonprofit partners.