Cambridge Nonprofits Receive $30,000 Planning Grants from City’s Community Benefits Fund

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The City of Cambridge announced today that four local nonprofit partnerships will receive $30,000 planning grants from the City’s Community Benefits Fund. The Fund was established to utilize funding from developers, received through zoning amendments or other agreements, to address the unmet needs of Cambridge residents, particularly low-income families with children.

The grants were awarded by the City’s Community Benefits Advisory Committee following a Planning Grant Request for Proposal (RFP) issued in November 2018. The RFP requested that local nonprofit organizations come together to form partnerships to provide services that will address the Cambridge community’s top needs: affordable housing and homelessness, financial security, and behavioral health. Following an evaluation process, the Committee recommended that the following partnerships receive $30,000 each to continue honing their approach and to develop an implementation plan:

  • The Port Arise Institute (Community Art Center, Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, Tutoring Plus), will use an innovative combination of Placekeeping and 2-Generation Strategies to provide opportunities to families, leverage neighborhood assets and address ongoing needs. In collaboration with community partners and service providers, the Institute plans to increase housing stability, provide entrepreneurial training, increase economic assets, support parents, provide individualized support, and build social capital.

  • The Family Stability Project (De Novo, Cambridge Economic Opportunity Commission, Transition House) will offer comprehensive, direct services and targeted training to improve housing stability, financial security, and overall wellbeing for families. The Project’s goals focus on providing a sustainable support system that facilitates long-term, systems-wide improvements in family stability. The proposal also includes training for service providers aimed to improve their ability to support families.

  • The Strengthening Families Together Project (Cambridge Community Center, Agassiz Baldwin Community, East End House) will address the unique needs of children and families, in part through increased focus on positive social-emotional development, therapeutic services, and families services. These services will also address housing and financial stability as appropriate.

  • The Partnership led by the Just-A-Start Corporation (Just-A-Start, Cambridge Family & Children Services, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge Housing Authority, and Institute for Health & Recovery) will use EMPath's Mobility Mentoring model to achieve increased family stability and empowerment through housing resources, job training, financial coaching, health and wellness, and family stability. The Mobility Mentoring model uses one-on-one coaching to assist families in setting and attaining unique goals that will help them progress toward economic independence.

“The Community Benefits Fund is a unique opportunity for Cambridge. Not only does it redirect development funds into social services that will benefit the families in our community, it also encourages local nonprofits, already doing amazing work in Cambridge, to come together and enhance their services through collaboration,” said Lisa Peterson, Deputy City Manager and Chair of the Community Benefits Advisory Committee. “These grants support the partnerships as they continue to hone their proposals, and we look forward to learning more about the impactful services that the partnerships will provide for local families and children.”

Following the six-month planning and development phase, the Community Benefits Advisory Committee will review each partnership’s plans for implementation and make further funding recommendations. Implementation grants are expected to be announced in 2020, with partnerships receiving up to $750,000 to be distributed over a three-year phase. Receipt of a planning grant does not guarantee receipt of an implementation grant.

To learn more about the Community Benefits Fund, visit


Between 2010 and 2018, mitigation funds designated for community benefits purposes were pledged to the City by developers through zoning amendments or other agreements. Over $20 million has been pledged to the Fund, and $7.5 million has been received by the City to date. To distribute these funds as effectively as possible, the City completed a comprehensive Needs Assessment in 2017, which identified and prioritized the community’s most pressing needs and service gaps. The Needs Assessment was adopted by the City Council in May 2017, and a Community Benefits Advisory Committee was subsequently formed to develop a framework that ensures funds are used to address the top-tier needs of the Cambridge community. The initial funding will be targeted toward addressing the needs of families with children who are low-income or in poverty, particularly those headed by single women.

Page was posted on 7/8/2019 4:34 PM
Page was last modified on 2/18/2020 11:25 AM
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