$81,000 In Organizational Investment Grants Awarded To 9 Cambridge Nonprofits

3/9/202313 months ago

Cambridge Arts: Grants: $81,000 In Organizational Investment Grants Awarded To 9 Cambridge Nonprofits

$81,000 In Organizational Investment Grants Awarded To 9 Cambridge Nonprofits

Nine Cambridge cultural organizations have been awarded $81,000 in Organizational Investment Grants by Cambridge Arts and the City of Cambridge. The funding program provides $9,000 grants to each nonprofit to support operational costs, sustainability, and resiliency for local cultural organizations that benefit Cambridge residents.

This year’s recipients are:
• Cambridge Children's Chorus, a division of Boston City Singers
• Cambridge Community Television
• Central Square Theater
• Community Art Center
• The Dance Complex
• Innovators for Purpose
• Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre
• Maud Morgan Arts
• Multicultural Arts Center
(Full organization descriptions see below.)

This is the third year Cambridge Arts has awarded Organizational Investment Grants, which began as part of Cambridge Arts’ covid relief efforts. Rather than funding individual cultural projects, like most Cambridge Arts grants, our Organizational Investment Grants offer our largest financial grants to local organizations to support their ongoing, overall good work. Creating this category just for organizations also helps individual artists by creating more funding opportunities for them in our other grant categories—because of less competition there with substantial organizations.

Overall Cambridge Arts and the City are distributing grants totaling $266,143 to 53 artists and cultural organizations this year through three funding opportunities that Cambridge Arts offered last fall—including Art for Social Justice Grants, Local Cultural Council Grants, and Organizational Investment Grants.

Each year, the City of Cambridge contributes substantial funding to support local artists, cultural workers, and arts organizations through the Cambridge Arts Grant Program. This support is coupled with funding received through the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s statewide Local Cultural Council Program.

Cambridge Arts’ Organizational Investment Grants are awarded on an annual cycle, with the due date to apply usually in mid-October of each year.


Nine Cambridge cultural organizations have been awarded $81,000 in Organizational Investment Grants by Cambridge Arts and the City of Cambridge. The funding program provides $9,000 grants to each nonprofit to support operational costs, sustainability, and resiliency for local cultural organizations that benefit Cambridge residents.

Cambridge Children's Chorus, a division of Boston City Singers
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Our mission is to provide the highest level of musical training and wide-ranging performance opportunities to those aged 4-18, regardless of means, inspiring personal development, celebrating diversity, and fostering goodwill. Our vision is to transform lives, one voice at a time, developing each heart to live with compassion in a world of differences.

Cambridge Community Television
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Cambridge Community Television nurtures a strong, equitable and diverse community by providing tools and training to foster free speech, civic engagement, and creative expression while connecting people to collaboratively produce media that is responsive, relevant, and effective in a fast-changing technological environment. CCTV's studio is in the heart of Central square and we serve the entire city of Cambridge. Most recently we have begun to "pop op" with media trainings and creative placemaking in different parts of Cambridge. We are increasing our organizational collaborations to support this goal of a deeper and broader reach. CCTV will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2023. CCTV’s membership is primarily lower income; members vary in age and ethnicity. Of those who choose to self-identify, approximately 26 percent are African American, 10 percent Asian, 10 percent Latino, and 2 percent of other ethnic backgrounds, with the remainder white. Our members range in age from 12 to more than 90 years of age.

Central Square Theater
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Central Square Theater (CST) is dedicated to the exploration of social justice, science, and sexual politics through theater. Through award-winning productions, the Catalyst Collaborative@ MIT Science Theater Initiative, and youth development programming – CST creates theater where points of view are heard, perspective shifts, and change can happen. Found in 2008, Central Square Theater, the oldest female-led theater organization in Greater Boston, is now one organization upholding the values and theatrical excellence of its origin companies, Underground Railway Theater and The Nora. Under the leadership of Executive Director Catherine Carr Kelly, Artistic Director Lee Mikeska Gardner, Director of Community and Education Initiatives Kortney Adams, and its Board of Directors, CST is an innovator in the nonprofit arts field in collaborative leadership. The model will be expanded, and a national search is currently underway for a Co-Artistic Director to join Gardner in a collaborative quad leadership model. Central Square Theater engages over 35,000 people annually through live performance, rigorous youth education, and community programs with the majority (40%) coming from Cambridge and Central Square neighborhoods. The CST full time and part-time core staff is 40% BIPOC. Annually, CST employs up to 150 artists, educators, and front-of-house staff. The CST board is 42% people of color, and we are aggressively rebalancing by gender and age.

Community Art Center, Inc.
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Founded in 1937, the Community Art Center (CAC) is a neighborhood institution committed to our mission: to cultivate an engaged community of youth whose powerful artistic voices transform their lives, their neighborhoods, and their worlds. We believe in the power of young people. We believe in the power of artistic expression. We believe in taking care of ourselves and each other. We believe in creating positive change in our neighborhood & beyond. Art is the mechanism we use; but we do much more than arts education. We provide social and emotional support, the presence of trusted adults, transportation, and up to three healthy full meals daily. The CAC began in a basement at Newtowne Court, functioning as the community center for Newtowne Court and Washington Elms, two of the oldest public housing developments in the United States. In 1999, the CAC moved into a space across the street from Newtowne Court, and still serves many residents of the Newtowne Court, Washington Elms, and other public housing developments in and around the Port neighborhood. CAC began as a grass-roots organization and remains that way over 80 years later. Our programs are effective because of our constant and consistent communication with our community. These conversations allow us to tailor our programming to support the specific needs of our children and families. One alumnus said "The Arts Center is like the family that never left the neighborhood. It's like coming home."

The Dance Complex
Grant Award: $9,000.00
The Dance Complex enables the creation, study & performance of dance of all kinds, from all cultures. We sustain artists, audiences & the community through programs that connect movement, ideas & personal histories. We encourage the wonder & curiosity of dance for all. Our unique programming engages all who want to dance. We offer classes, performances & professional development opportunities in a safe, inclusive environment especially for those with disabilities, the movement impaired, the LBGTQ communities, elders & inter-generational groupings, the business & arts sectors, immigrant families, & those who have been marginalized due to race or income. The Dance Complex operates with an artist-centric administration & a financial system that supports artists-as-entrepreneurs offers subsidized studio rental rates & ensures low class fees to the public.

Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre
Grant Award: $9,000.00
José Mateo Ballet Theatre (JMBT) is Eastern Massachusetts’s 2nd largest dance organization, serving people throughout Greater Boston. Cuban-born, Artistic Director/choreographer, José Mateo founded the company in 1986 with a vision to increase accessibility to ballet, reach nontraditional participants and engage a diverse population of students, audiences, and artists. JMBT has forged a new model for a ballet organization through innovative programming, artistic excellence, and extensive community outreach. JMBT’s mission is to: Create new ballets of excellence that are stimulating and culturally relevant to diverse audiences Create an innovative approach to ballet training that welcomes diversity and ensures unanimous participation and achievement by all students Create sustainable, inclusive, and engaging outreach programs that make ballet accessible to participants of all racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds Reposition the role of dance in our culture and expand its purpose in the education of youth and enrichment of community locally and beyond.

Innovators for Purpose
Grant Award: $9,000
Innovators for Purpose is a Cambridge-based nonprofit that inspires high-potential diverse young people, 2 Innovators for Purpose, especially those from untapped populations (people of color, girls, children from first-generation immigrants, and low-income families), to discover their passions, develop innovative mindsets and acquire marketable skills. Using a hands-on multidisciplinary approach that integrates art, design, and humanities with STEM, we have reimagined how to engage today’s learners. In collaboration with mentors, students work on real projects learning how to navigate ambiguity, communicate across disciplines and create unique solutions that delight clients and end-users. Through our learning experiences, iFp unlocks young people's potential empowering them to drive their own communities forward. Founded in March 2014, iFp instituted its first program at Fletcher Maynard Academy located in Cambridge’s most economically challenged area. Using iFp’s design process, students examined the question “How Might We be Part of a Changing Neighborhood?” Since then, our programming has empowered students to move beyond asking that question to actively participate in the change. Over the past 8.5 years, we have worked with over 500 hundred students and 50+ collaborators. We invest deeply in building long-term relationships with students and their families to ensure access to opportunities, networks, resources, and support necessary to change student lives.

Maud Morgan Arts
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Maud Morgan Arts sprang from the vision of two forward-looking women, Wendy Prellwitz and Terry DeLancey, in 1992. They recognized the need for an art center in Cambridge for children, families, and professional artists. The 19th century carriage house standing behind the (formerly known as) Agassiz Baldwin Community with its expansive yard and overarching trees became this opportunity. The proposed art center was named in honor of Maud Morgan a neighborhood resident and noted artist. Maud Morgan was an artist of great talent and vitality who gave generously to younger generations and her community. Her spirit continues to guide the art center. In 1999 the city of Cambridge issued a zoning permit to ABC to operate an arts center at 20 Sacramento Street. The capital campaign was launched and eventually raised $1.2M of the $1.4M goal. Contributions came from foundations, institutions, families, community leaders, neighbors, artists, and friends of Maud Morgan. An unanticipated legal challenge delayed construction until the fall of 2010. At that point, the capital campaign reached its goal, the permit to build was issued, and construction began. In 2010 Maud Morgan Arts opened its doors and students of all ages enrolled in classes and workshops. Programs have continued to evolve, and the pandemic challenged us deeply, but also provided us with opportunities to adjust our program structures to better meet the needs of the community.

Multicultural Arts Center
Grant Award: $9,000.00
The Multicultural Art Center is a non-profit corporation founded in 1978 as an arts center focused on helping diverse populations better understand one another. In 1985 we moved into our home at 41 Second Street in East Cambridge. Since our founding, we have worked to bring the arts to the people of Cambridge, to provide opportunities for artists of diverse backgrounds, particularly artists of color, and to be a standard-bearer of the arts in our community. Our mission is to present multicultural visual and performing arts programs to educate the community about diversity, and to make our facility available to artists or groups that might not otherwise have access to a professionally equipped facility or the cultural mainstream.