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.
Last week the City of Cambridge hosted a community meeting to provide an update on plans for the Foundry building's programming and design, as well as to get feedback from the community. The selected design firm, Cambridge Seven Associates, presented two possible plans where sixty percent of the space will be community-based and forty percent dedicated to rental space to support building operations. An overview of how the space will be used was provided by the Foundry Consortium, the chosen building operator, and included arts/makerspace, performance space and workforce development and apprenticeship opportunities. Stay tuned for more opportunities to give input and learn more here.
The Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition and the Cambridge Community Foundation invite you to an informal gathering to connect with other organizations, share information about your work and get an update on the status of the release of the city's first request for proposals to the Community Benefits Fund. Through this initial RFP, the city will award grants to Cambridge-serving nonprofit organizations working in collaboration to address housing stability, economic stability and mental health in innovative ways. RSVP here.
When: Wednesday, August 1, 4:30-6:30pm
Where: Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF), 99 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge.