the CRA forward fund 2018:
creating community resilience
Purpose and goals
The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority hopes to offer awards to a diverse set of entities whose proposals are both feasible and supportive of economic vitality, livability, and sustainability in Cambridge.
The CRA's Forward Fund is a micro-grant program intended to support specific physical improvement projects that better Cambridge's built environment for the benefit of all the city's residents, workers, and visitors.
The Fund's objectives are to:
- Advance the CRA’s mission to implement creative initiatives that promote social equity and a balanced economic system.
- Support innovative proposals that craft resourceful projects to take advantage of local knowledge in order to maximize potential benefits.
The goals for the Forward Fund grant program are to support projects by applicants that promote inclusive, collaborative, and a resourceful processes within the City of Cambridge as defined below:
- Inclusive: Projects that meaningfully engage key stakeholders, and/or provide a venue to engagement. Applicants should be thoughtful identifying those needs to create the intended change and including those directly affected by the problem.
- Collaborative: Applicants are encouraged to undertake joint efforts with partners willing to share ownership and decision-making regarding a project and the program the project may facilitate.
- Resourceful: Projects should use existing resources and assets creatively to make the most of what a community already has and build upon them.
The CRA especially seeks proposals that lead to a community innovation or new partnerships that help foster means of creating Community Resilience. The Forward Fund seeks proposals that lead to projects that present a breakthrough in addressing a community need or opportunity for connections in effective, equitable, and sustainable approaches.
Grant applications are due Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
Funding approvals announced by Wednesday, May 9, 2018.
The CRA will distribute up to $125,000 for 2018. Grant awards will have a maximum of $25,000. The CRA reserves the right to allocate funding flexibility depending on the quality of the applicants.
Also, for the first time in the Forward Fund grant program, grant funds of up to $5,000 will be made available to past awarded projects that may need an infusion of capital to assist in completing their project.
TWO Award Types
Applicants may apply for one of two award types. The award categories are:
CIVIC EXPERIMENTATION CAPITAL GRANTS
Funding Level Requested: ($5,000 - $25,000)
Awards would be offered to applicants piloting innovative specific physical improvement projects that encourage, enable, or execute a physical innovation, avant guarde placemaking, or tactical urbanism in a public and civic space, whether publicly or privately owned.
COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE CAPITAL GRANTS
Funding Level Requested: ($5,000 - $25,000)
Awards would be offered to applicants seeking to fund a physical improvement project that serves a civic facility that provides public services and facilitates community connections or meets a neighborhood need regardless of innovativeness. This may include a building or infrastructure project for a non-profit or a Cambridge-based independent small business with a neighborhood function that touches a significant amount of the population. Projects involving private property will need to specifically demonstrate the "publicness" and civic value of the investment. If the proposal is for the grant to be part of a much larger project, it will need to demonstrate that the CRA investment is filling a critical gap in the viability of that project and demonstrate how that money will be used for a particular project element related to the Forward Funds purpose and theme.
All Grants require a 1:1 organizational match - which could include another outside funding source or in-kind/volunteer matching resource. Grants are to be paid 50% at the time of award, and 50% at the completion of the project. Funds are primarily for specific physical improvements, but up to 5% may be used for associated programming.
For Exapmple: Due to the required 1:1 match if the ask is $10k, the total project value is expected to be $20,000 and above. If the ask is $7K, the total project value is expected to be $14k and above, etc. In-kind matches, such as pro-bono work by an architecture firm, for example, must have a letter that specifies a statement of value of those in-kind matching services.
Grants require a 1:1 organizational match - which could include another outside funding source or in-kind/volunteer matching resource. Grants are to be paid 50% at the time of award, and 50% at the completion of the project. Funds are are not to be used for programming. only for specific physical improvements. Up to 10% of the awarded grant may be used for the design aspect of the project.
Who should apply
The Fund is intended to use resources generated in Cambridge, combined with talent and organizational capacity within Cambridge, to ultimately benefit the city in new and imaginative ways. Eligibility is intentionally left open to any nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Neighborhood groups, human services organizations, independent small buinesses, retailers, inventors, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, civic organizations, and more are all encouraged to apply. An agreement with a Cambridge based 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor will need to be provided if the applicant is not a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Please read the FAQs for further detail.
Previous awardees and applicants are encouraged to apply for a 2018 Forward Fund. Awarded projects that have yet to be completed due to rising construction cost or other factors, will be eligible in 2018 to submit proposals for up to $5,000 to assist in completing previously awarded projects.
Projects must meet all of the following yes/no criteria in order to be eligible:
- Located within Cambridge.
- Achieves a physical improvement that does not require any additional ongoing funding from the CRA or the City to operate or maintain. Only 5% of funds may be used for associated programming.
- Request does not exceed award maximums.
- All applicants must explain and/or how the project relates to the CRA mission and operating principles.
- The applicant must have control over the proposed installation site, or have a letter of support from the property owner included in their proposal.
Please see our FAQ page. All interested parties with questions not answered there are encouraged to contact the CRA.
Contact: Carlos Peralta, Program Manager
Telephone: 617-492-6800 x14