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, independent small buinesses, retailers, inventors, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, civic organizations, and more are are all eligible to apply for funds.

  • Individuals

Funds cannot be used to support activities that benefit only the individual applicant. Individual applicants must show that a public benefit results from the project for which they are applying, must have a letter of collaboration and support from a Cambridge 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor in order to be eligible. The CRA cannot disburse grant funds to individuals. 

  • 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 2018 with up to $125,000 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 Capital grant. 

May an entity apply for a Civic Experimentation capital 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.

What if I am an independent artist and not associated with an organization or business?
Artists are encouraged to apply and 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.

If I have a fiscal sponsor, what type of proof of relationship will I need?
A signed and dated letter from the sponsor stating the nature of the agreement will suffice. Contact information for the sponsoring group should be provided. 

If the project is in a public open space, like a plaza, do we need permission from the owner or the city prior to submitting the application?
The CRA does need documentation of support as part of the application. That is listed on our website as eligibility criteria #5: "The applicant must have control over the proposed installation site, or have a letter of support from the property owner". Proposed projects on CRA or City land will also be entertained.  If the applicant is suggesting usage of City of Cambridge property for the proposed project, we need documentation that the applicant has communicated with a relevant City department and can demonstrate a letter or email of interest/support from a staff member. If the applicant is suggesting the use of CRA owned property please kindly email us before submitting your application and we will evaluate whether your idea is theoretically possible on our property before you move forward.

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. 

Can the project be floating or located on the water's edge, for example on the Charles?
Yes the project can be on the water's edge as long as it's on the Cambridge side of the Charles.

What are you looking for in a matching organization for the capital grant? Can this organization be an LLC?
There is no restriction on the type of organization that is matching the capital 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.

If an applicant was awarded a Forward Fund grant in the past, but due to financial constraints was not able to complete the previously awarded project, will the applicant be eligible to apply for a 2018 Forward Fund grant to assist in completing the project?

Yes. 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.

Can a portion of the grant be used for the design aspect of the project?

Yes, 2018 applicants may use up to 10% of their grants on the design aspect of their project.


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