Forward Fund // Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Eligible to Apply?

All projects must be based in Cambridge and demonstrate a tangible benefit to Cambridge citizens. Only projects that demonstrate a direct value to the City of Cambridge and its population will be considered for funding. Neighborhood groups, human services organizations, and civic organizations whose mission mission and work consists of providing services, resources, and support to Cambridge residents while addressing the overarching needs detailed in the City’s Reports: Envision Cambridge and the Community Needs Assessment.

  • Associations that can establish a nonprofit objective

Organizations that can establish a nonprofit objective – that is, groups of individuals coming together with a common purpose that do not have nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Applicants of this type must have an agreement with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor in order to be eligible. The CRA cannot disburse funds to groups without a 501(c)(3) status.

Can funds be used outside of Kendall Square?
Yes. Proposals for projects sited throughout Cambridge are eligible and encouraged.

Will there be another round of Forward Fund grants in the future and if so, how frequently?
2015 was the inaugural round of what is intended to be an annual program of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. The Forward Fund is back for 2019 with up to $300,000 in funding.

Will past Planning & Design grantees receive priority in the next round of funding for Capital grants?
The purpose of the Planning & Design grants were to enhance an applicant's capacity to execute a physical project. To this end, we expect Planning & Design grantees to be more competitive in their eventual application for a Community Infrastructure Capital grant. 

May an entity apply for a Techinal Assistance grant as well as a Community Infrastructure capital grant for the same project simultaneously?
The CRA will only award one type of grant per entity, per funding cycle. Entities unsure of which grant to apply for are encouraged to contact the CRA for further clarification.

If the applying organization is not the property owner of record, can they still apply for a Forward Fund Grant?
Yes. The applying organization must include signed and dated letter from the owner stating the nature of the long term lease agreement and a copy of the lease. Contact information for the owner should be provided. 

Can we propose a project that could be placed in several different locations, and work with CRA after the award to find the most suitable/feasible location?
We do need to have some level of certainty as to where the project is going and that the property owner(s) support(s) it. If you are considering a project that is flexible and will move around the city, we still need to have some level of confidence that it will be moved around to any locations proposed, and how and when that would happen. The more certainty the stronger the application. 

What are you looking for in a matching organization for the capital grant? Can this organization be an LLC?
Forward Fund Grants in the past have required a 1:1 organizational match, for 2019 the applicant should explain in detail how the Forward Fund awarded grant will be leveraged with other resources – which could include another outside funding source or in-kind/volunteer matching resource. There is no restriction on the type of organization that is matching the grant funds. We are not looking for any one particular kind of group--all that is necessary is a written commitment by that group for the matching amount, or for services valued at the matching amount. For instance, you might have an architecture firm agree to provide their design services and some of their staff hours in order to complete the project. In a case such as this, we would simply require a budget detailing the estimated value of all of the committed in-kind services, demonstrating that their combined value is equal to the ask amount of your FF application.


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