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COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Grants for Cambridge Nonprofit Organizations

caution sign The information on this page may be outdated as it was published 3 years ago.

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The intent of this funding is to provide COVID-19 related assistance and critical supports to the vulnerable and at-risk Cambridge families and individuals served by Cambridge nonprofit organizations. The nonprofits are a critical resource to support vulnerable residents and this continues to be is especially true during the coronavirus pandemic. The Community Benefits Advisory Committee worked collaboratively with the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition to develop and implement the approach to funding for the initial COVID-19 Emergency & Recovery Grants in Summer 2020. The current funding round replicates this approach that prioritizes simplicity, expediency, and equity for eligible entities, as well as maximizing the flexibility of the funding within City and state legal mandates.

The Community Benefits Advisory Committee acts on the Guiding Principles for Community Benefits Funding, adopted by the Cambridge City Council, and makes recommendations to the City Manager for the approval of grant awards with nonprofit organizations to deliver services. Grants must be aligned with the Cambridge Community Needs Assessment.

Contact Information

Please direct all communications and questions to: communitybenefits@cambridgema.gov

Use of Funding

The funding can be used to enable grantees to deliver or redesign services to vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 emergency and recovery; this includes planning work done to prepare for the delivery of services and/or resources necessary for facilitating the delivery of services, and could entail staffing, furnishings, equipment, technology, and/or supplies that enable service delivery that would not otherwise be possible or would otherwise suffer as a result of COVID-19. Services must respond to the needs identified in the Cambridge Community Needs Assessment and are subject to the requirements of the Community Benefits Advisory Committee Ordinance, Chapter 2.127 of the Municipal Code.  

Award Amount

$10,000 per entity – with $6,000 to be distributed following the signing of a grant agreement between the City and the grantee, and the remaining amount to be distributed upon the City’s receipt of a final invoice and brief report about services delivered; the funds must be expended no later than 6 months from the date of the grant agreement, and can be expended sooner.  

Number of Awards

Up to 100.


To be considered for this funding, each entity must meet each of the following eligibility criteria: 

  • Is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or, if not a 501(c)3, has a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It is preferred that a fiscal sponsor be based in Cambridge, but not a requirement.
  • Has a location in Cambridge that directly serves the Needs of Cambridge residents. (Needs as outlined in the bullet below). Organizations that delivered services from a Cambridge location as of March 2020 but were temporarily displaced due to the COVID-19 will be considered.
  • Is able to expend the funds within 6 months of entering a grant agreement with the City
  • Is addressing one or more of the needs of Cambridge residents from the Cambridge Community Needs Assessment that are a direct result of, or have been intensified by, the COVID-19 pandemic. These needs include Affordable Housing and Homelessness; Financial Security; Mental Health: Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse; Food; Civic Engagement and Social Capital; Education; Employment; Safety; Transportation; Arts, Culture, and Recreation; Health; and Built and Natural Environment. There is no added eligibility benefit to organizations that will address multiple needs.
  • Applicants that received a COVID-19 Emergency & Recovery grant from CBAC in Summer 2020 are eligible to apply; if the applicant was a recipient of prior emergency funding, appropriate expenditure of funds may be a consideration when entering a new grant agreement with the City

Application and Review Process and Timeline

  • 2/10/21: Application released
  • 2/22/21: Application deadline - Submissions due by 5:00 p.m.
  • Each application received will be reviewed by City staff to determine if eligibility criteria are met
    • City staff will notify any entity if its application does not meet eligibility criteria.
    • Each eligible application that is received by the application deadline will be assigned a number. 
  • The Community Benefits Advisory Committee will recommend to the City Manager funding for up to 100 eligible applicants
    • If 100 or fewer eligible applications are received before the application deadline, the Committee anticipates recommending all for funding.
    • If more than 100 eligible applications are received before the application deadline, the Community Benefits Advisory Committee will conduct a random lottery drawing during a public Community Benefits Advisory Committee meeting to determine which organizations will be recommended for the 100 grants.

Grant Agreements 

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is awarded a grant will enter into an agreement with the City of Cambridge. Download a sample agreement.

If you are not a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, but you are applying with a fiscal sponsor, the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization sponsoring you will enter into an agreement with the City of Cambridge on your behalf. Download a sample sponsorship agreement.


Application Process 

Please click here to submit your application by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 22. If you have any technical difficulties, please contact communitybenefits@cambridgema.gov

Page was posted on 6/30/2020 12:46 PM
Page was last modified on 7/25/2023 12:31 AM
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