On Wednesday November 28, the City of Cambridge and the Community Benefits Advisory Committee held an information session to provide details on the recently released RFP. Attendees learned about the application process, data from the Community Needs Assessment and also had the chance to connect with one another around those topics. Learn more about the process here.
Last week Cambridge Agenda for Children Out-of-School-Time hosted a meeting between OST leaders and Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Salim, where providers learned more about the school district's exploration of changes to the school day, and the strategies they are employing to integrate feedback from the OST community into the developing plan. During the session, participants had the opportunity to respond to a few ideas that have emerged at this point in the process. The Cambridge Agenda for Children is hosting a second session for OST providers who work with K-5 youth and families on November 9, 12pm-2pm, as part of their symposium. Learn more about this work and register for the session here.
At the November 5 City Council meeting, the City Manager will request an appropriation of $5,000,000 for Community Benefits grants. Once this appropriation is made, the planning grant RFP can be released.
The Community Benefits grant process will occur in two phases: a 6-month Planning Phase; and a 3-year Implementation Phase. The Community Benefits Advisory Committee (CBAC) will select and recommend to the City Manager up to five partnerships to receive a 6-month planning grant. These grants will provide partnerships with up to $30,000 to formulate and refine their approach, culminating in the development of a Plan for Implementation. At the completion of the planning period, CBAC will review Plans for Implementation and recommend to the City Manager, up to five partnerships for funding. Grants will be up to $750,000 per partnership, distributed over a 3-year period. Learn more here.
On Wednesday October 24, over 80 nonprofit, city and community leaders came together for the CNC Summit, hosted by Google, to explore how we can collectively create a more equitable Cambridge. The morning began with the panel discussion of a local cross sector partnership that highlighted the Cambridge Domestic and Gender-based Violence Prevention initiative. The panel was introduced by State Representative Marjorie Decker, moderated by Rev. Irene Monroe and included Risa Mednick, former Transition House Executive Director, Cambridge Deputy City Manager, Lisa Peterson, Cambridge Police Superintendent Steven DeMarco, and Hannah Lodi, Director of Leased Housing, Cambridge Housing Authority.
While the initiative focused on domestic violence, the discussion highlighted several characteristics that can assist different types of cross sector collaborations in achieving their goals. These include: a deep commitment from leadership that transcends transitions, embedding changes in policies and practices that impact service delivery, and key institutions making significant financial investments to sustain the work. Cross- sector collaboration is messy and challenging. It is only by remaining focused on the long term goals, that we can achieve the system changes necessary to solve entrenched social problems.
After the panel, participants broke into small groups to discuss what they learned and explore opportunities for further collaboration. We ended the morning with a call to action for more nonprofits to officially join the CNC as members.
The City of Cambridge encourages and promotes involvement by residents in the decision-making process through participation in a variety of boards and commissions. There are currently several commission vacancies, and the CNC sees this as an opportunity for residents who are not typically included in these discussions to be heard. Please encourage your clients, program participants and communities to apply. Learn more here.
There are two community conversations on Envision Cambridge planning scenarios taking place on September 12 and September 20, 6-8pm. The different scenarios will guide future land use decisions by balancing goals of housing, jobs, urban form, and impacts on traffic, the environment, and tax rates. Read more details here.
Thank you to everyone who was able to join the CNC and the Cambridge Community Foundation for the Nonprofit Meetup on Community Benefits. Over 25 nonprofit leaders made new connections, while hearing an update on the Community Benefits application process and timeline. Read more details here.
The Birth to Third Grade Partnership continues to make progress in the areas of increasing access to preschool through scholarships, improving program quality and supporting family engagement. For FY19, the Partnership increased the number of preschools enrolling scholarship children from 8 to 15, covering a total of 50 scholarship slots. All 9 center based preschool programs in the quality improvement pilot will be applying for the next highest QRIS level next year, and 9 family childcare providers will begin their own quality improvement pilot beginning in August. In addition, the Partnership is currently assessing the supports needed for providers to better engage families, and will use this data to inform programming moving forward. Learn more here.
This week Agenda for Children convened a group of over 20 staff from nonprofit organizations and the City of Cambridge, to hear from CPS Superintendent Salim about the exploration of a longer school day, and to give feedback on how this could impact out of school time programs and their students. Feedback meetings for different stakeholder groups will take place through fall 2018, and mark the beginning of a multi-year decision making process. The CNC will continue to follow this work and share information and opportunities to give input as it moves forward. Read more details here.
Thank you again to everyone who participated in the Community Benefits Listening Sessions and contributed to this important discussion. The City of Cambridge compiled the questions and comments from these sessions and beyond, and yesterday released a summary document, Listening Sessions: Feedback and Comments. Learn more about the Community Benefits process here.