The Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition (CNC) wishes to express its enthusiastic endorsement of the twelve Commitments put forward by the Building Equity Bridges (BEB) movement in December 2019, calling on Cambridge Public Schools to become an anti-racist district. Over the past two years, BEB — a joint effort of the Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) and the Cambridge Education Association — has engaged over 200 youth, families and teachers to name entrenched barriers to equity. This community-based process resulted in twelve commitments that include making anti-racism and racial equity training mandatory at every level, and elevating direct youth power.
Many of the CNC's member organizations work directly with students of color in Cambridge and understand the harm caused to them on a daily basis by racism in our schools and around our community. Other CNC member organizations work with adults of color in Cambridge who also experience the personal pain and economic consequences of racism in their daily lives. Cambridge is not unique in its struggle to honestly address racism. But we have an opportunity to respond in a uniquely courageous way and break new ground together as a community.
The twelve BEB Commitments are the product of an enormous effort which centered the experiences of youth and adults of color. They provide a bold, valuable framework for dismantling racism and pursuing equity in our school system and wider community. We are lucky to have such a dedicated and diverse group of community members leading and organizing this effort. The CNC is grateful that Cambridge Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kenneth Salim, endorsed these commitments in a December Op-ed and that the Cambridge School Committee passed a resolution on Tuesday, January 21 endorsing them, as well.
CNC members are similarly committed to anti-racism work within our own organizations and recognize how important it is that we mirror and complement the efforts that will be undertaken by the District. We recognize that in order to do this, and ensure our decisions and programs are also guided by an anti-racist lens, we must engage in the same difficult reflective work and build institutional capacity to do so on an ongoing basis. In an effort to advance such work across the nonprofit sector, the CNC will continue leading conversations among nonprofit leaders regarding the implementation of a similar set of Commitments for CNC members.
The CNC wishes to thank the young people, families, educators and providers involved directly in the Building Equity Bridges movement. We encourage all individuals invested in the Cambridge community to courageously combat racism in their personal and professional life, and to find a place in our community wide efforts in pursuit of equity.
The Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition advances equity and justice in the community by strengthening the Cambridge nonprofit sector, building collective voice, and promoting collaboration.
Managing Director, Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition (CNC)
Note: This piece was published as an op-ed by the Cambridge Chronicle and Cambridge Day.
CNC Member Organizations
CNC is excited to partner with the Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse on Cambridge Volunteer Week. Beginning with a kick-off volunteer workshop on April 16, the week will include neighborhood-based workshops for prospective volunteers, featuring local nonprofits (see schedule here). It will end with a board member recruitment fair on April 23 (more details to follow). If your organization is interested in presenting on your volunteer needs at a workshop, please contact Laurie Rothstein. Space is limited.
Right now, one primary area of CNC's focus is the 2020 Census. The stakes couldn't be higher. For the decade ahead, not only does it determine how many seats in the House of Representatives — and Electoral College votes — each state gets, it also impacts how billions per year of federal funding is invested in critical services like neighborhood improvements, public health, education, social services, and transportation.
Nonprofits are key to Cambridge's mission of counting every resident to secure a fair allocation of government resources. Please check out the City's Census website, with resources like city and federal census job applications, posters to print in many languages, and FAQs covering issues such as immigrant status and confidentiality.
On December 2, the Cambridge City Council held a roundtable/working meeting that included discussion of findings from the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program Study Report, conducted by Early Childhood Associates (ECA) in partnership with UMASS Donahue Institute (UMDI). Implementing a Universal Pre-Kindergarten program will significantly impact community based early education providers and the young families they serve. CNC wants to be sure our community is aware of these discussions, and is interested in hearing feedback and collecting comments from the Cambridge nonprofit community. Read more on the topic here and send feedback to email@example.com.
We are thrilled to report that CNC was awarded a grant from the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) in the amount of $40,000 per year for three years. This investment will allow CNC to build its own capacity and expand both our network and the resources we can provide for members and other Cambridge nonprofits. We are grateful for this deep level of support that is a continuation of our longstanding relationship with CCF, our fiscal sponsor, founding partner and the local giving platform, supporting shared prosperity, social equity and cultural richness in Cambridge.
CNC has moved to the Link at Kendall Square, located at 255 Main Street, 8th Floor. While we will miss our colleagues from our former home in the Cambridge Community Foundation at 99 Bishop Allen Drive, we are excited about this new space, which has connected us to new organizations, and a new partnership with TSNE MissionWorks. Learn more about the Link here.
CNC created a survey for City Council candidates in an effort to better understand their positions on issues of importance to nonprofit leaders in our city. The survey questions were drafted with feedback from CNC member organizations and guidance from the CNC steering committee. Read the responses here.
Earlier this month, the Cambridge City Council voted to table the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay petition, ending the discussion on this important proposal this council term. CNC is disappointed that the council was unable to pass the overlay, which was aimed at helping affordable housing developers create new affordable units more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas where there are fewer affordable housing options for residents. Learn more about the overlay here.
On August 1 the Cambridge City Council ordinance committee continued its review of the 100% affordable housing overlay proposal. CNC maintains its strong support of the overlay, which is aimed at helping affordable housing developers create new affordable units more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas where there are fewer affordable housing options for residents. CNC joined the call for passing the overlay proposal as a means to create more affordable housing during public comment and submitted this statement. Learn more here.