Forward Fund 2016 Final Selections

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority’s Forward Fund (the Fund) is a micro-grant program intended to reinvest development funds generated in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Area to fund pilot projects by non-profit organizations, community groups, and small businesses across the City of Cambridge. The Fund supports specific physical improvement projects that better Cambridge’s built environment for the benefit of all the city’s residents, workers, and visitors. 

Announcing the 2016 Forward Fund grant awardees...

NOTE: to view this page as a PDF click here.

To view the 2015 Forward Fund grant awardees click here.

Capital Grants ($38,000)

  1. Magazine Beach Public Boat Dock (Cambridgeport Neighborhood Assoc.)
  2. East End House Kitchen Renovation (East End House)
  3. MBTA Single Stream Recycling Kiosks (MassRecycle)
  4. High Density Bike Parking - an Innovation/Experimentation Grant (Kendall Square EcoDistrict)

Planning and Design Grants ($20,000)

  1. Cambridge Community Center Building Modernization (Cambridge Community Center)
  2. HomePort Gateway Kiosk (Community Art Center)
  3. Russell Pathway Jerry's Pond Public Info Kiosk (Jerry's Point Action Committee)
  4. Community Sign Engagement (The Port Café)

1. Magazine Beach Public Boat Dock


Non-Profit Organization 501(c)3

Catherine Zusy, primary contact
Project Location: Magazine Beach Park

Quoted from the Forward Fund Application Form:

“With Forward Fund monies and their match, we propose to build an ADA-accessible canoe/kayak launch at the end of the Cottage Farm Plant parking lot at Magazine Beach. This launch is a part of the larger Phase II Improvements Plan (by local design firm, Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge (CSS)) that is to be implemented in 2016, prior to overall park demolition and construction —which, we hope, will happen in 2017! (It is on DCR’s 5-Year Capital Plan.) Our goal is to reconnect Cantabrigians with the Charles through boating.

Since 2002 and their Master Plan of the Charles River Basin, DCR has wanted Magazine Beach to become a riverside “destination.” In 2010 Cambridge also featured it in their Riverfront Plan. Over the past five years, the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association has generated tremendous support for park improvements. Our Magazine Beach list includes 778 supporters and has attracted almost 55,000 hits. Our exhibition, Magazine Beach—A Place Apart, is now on view at the State House, following display at Cambridge Arts and Cambridge City Hall.

As the only public canoe/kayak launch on the Charles River in Cambridge and Boston, outside of Community Rowing, this will be a great draw for small boat users. Up the river In Allston/Brighton, Charles River Canoe & Kayak (CRC&K) serves over 1,000 people daily at their rental facility. CRC&K General Manager Mark Jacobson says that he receives regular requests from visitors for a public launch. 

The proposed boat launch will give public access to the Charles once again at Magazine Beach. In the early 1900s it was the favorite river swimming beach; in 2017, we hope it will become the favorite boat launch.”


General Project Schedule

Spring 2016 | CNA will consult with river kayak and canoe users about a best design for an ADA-accessible boat launch
Summer 2016 | CSS will complete the Phase II Plans
Late Summer / Early Fall | DCR will bid out construction of the boat launch
December 2016 | Project completed by the end of the calendar year


2. East End House Kitchen Renovation

Non-Profit Organization 501(c)3

Michael Delia, primary contact

Project Location: East End House, 105 Spring Street

Quoted from the Forward Fund Application Form:

“East End House seeks support from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to renovate the agency’s aging kitchen. Last updated over 20 years ago, East End House’s kitchen and outdated equipment limit the organization’s ability to prepare healthy meals for program participants. The Food Specialist faces many challenges due to the space when cooking breakfast, lunch, and a nutritious snack daily for 54 children in the Child Care Program and during school vacation months for the School Age and Middle School Programs. The agency also offers health and wellness classes to families and seniors in the community. An updated kitchen space would also be used to host cooking classes and nutrition education courses. In order to engage the community around food and provide students with healthy meals every day, East End House needs a more functional kitchen. 

The proposed project will renovate the space and update appliances with working, efficient equipment that can support the scale of cooking that East End House requires. The agency has received $50,000 from an additional funder to begin the renovation process. An additional $10,000 will enable the agency to complete the renovation based on the cost estimate received from a licensed contractor. This renovation will enable the agency to expose youth to a broader, healthier menu thanks to new possibilities with upgraded equipment. Students will be able to participate in hands-on cooking projects, and parents and seniors will benefit from nutrition education and community meals. East End House will become a haven of healthy habits; a place where lasting health begins.”


General Project Schedule

June 2016 | Obtain necessary building permits for construction
Week 1 | Demolition, plumbing, electrical
Week 2 | Deliver and install cabinets
Week 3 | Deliver and install new countertops and tile backsplash
Week 4 | Make repairs to heating and ventilation system

Week 5 | Install new appliances

Week 6 | Install new floor tiles, paint kitchen walls


3. MBTA Single Stream Recycling Kiosks


Non-Profit Organization 501(c)3

Jefferson Smith, primary contact

Project Location: Cambridge MBTA Red Line Stations

Quoted from the Forward Fund Application Form:

“MassRecycle would like to expand its already successful pilot program with the MBTA at Alewife Station to bring single-stream recycling bins to Cambridge’s Harvard and Central Square (or Porter) stations. These kiosks are 7-feet tall, built with 100 percent recycled materials and offer riders the space and information about recycling on the go. With the long-term goal of increasing recycling at all MBTA stations, these kiosks offer advertising space so that maintaining this program is not only cost-neutral, it will eventually help to bring in revenue for the MBTA to expand the service to stations system wide. The kiosk advertising space is a 39" X 32" poster placed above the bins. 

While the recycling information below this poster is a permanent part of the kiosk, the advertising space is available for the MBTA to re-sell in order to keep the single-stream recycling program funded. MassRecycle would like to place these kiosks inside or outside of the T stations so that commuters have a place to recycle while boarding the bus or subway, or while passing by their local MBTA station. Please note the letters of support attached with this application from the MBTA to use its facilities for the placement of these kiosks, as well as from Harvard University as a Cambridge-based supporting institution.

These kiosks will allow individuals who live, work or visit Cambridge to reduce the amount of recyclables in the waste stream, decrease the carbon output of waste removal efforts, curb the presence of litter inside and outside of the MBTA stations, and help the MBTA and MassRecycle achieve a revenue generating program to expand this sustainable practice throughout the MBTA system. Central Square and Harvard Square stations see over 1 million riders per month and the amount of recyclable materials collected within these two catchment areas would be incredibly beneficial for waste reduction efforts, lower the overall tonnage of hauled materials and thereby reduce carbon emissions.”

General Project Schedule

April 2016 | Finalize kiosk order (design?)
May and June 2016 | Manufacture kiosks
July 2016 | Shipment, installation

August 2016 | Announcement

September - December 2016 | Monitoring, on-site inspection and progress evaluation


4. High Density Bike Parking


Community Organization

Kelley McGill, primary contact

Project Location: Kendall Square, exact location TBD

Quoted from the Forward Fund Application Form:


To increase the amount of bicycle parking in Kendall Square. 


To encourage bicycling in the Kendall Square neighborhood and the City of Cambridge.To reduce single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips in Cambridge.To pilot innovative solutions that improve bicycle infrastructure in Kendall Square.To make both bicycle parking and the creation of effective bicycle parking more possible in Kendall Square. 


To prototype and pilot a new, innovative, high-density bicycle parking design resulting from the Kendall Square EcoDistrict “Designing High Density Urban Bike Parking” Climate CoLab competition. 

Project Outline

Kendall Square, like many urban areas with a mix of businesses, residents, and institutions, has a range of locations in need of more and better bike parking. Through the Climate CoLab competition, the EcoDistrict sought designs that are flexible enough to be used in different locations and to meet both short and long-term bike parking needs. Out of the competition, one design will be selected on April 22, 2016 that meets this need. In the spirit of innovation, the EcoDistrict seeks to bring the unique, winning design to the public in its horizontal and vertical forms.With the financial assistance of the CRA’s Forward Fund and in-kind labor and site(s) provided by members of the EcoDistrict and Linnean Solutions, the design will be prototyped and piloted in one or two publicly-accessible locations in Kendall Square.”

General Project Schedule

April-May |  The EcoDistrict team will work with the designer to refine, test, and finalize the prototype designs. 
May-July |  Develop the horizontal and vertical prototypes in a local fabrication shop and test. Concurrently, establish pilot site(s) and seek permits. 
July-August | Finalize the prototypes and secure permitting. Begin installation in the site(s). 
August | Finalize the installations and open the parking prototypes for public use. 
September | Survey bike parking users and record suggested improvements for future design iterations. 


Planning & Design Grants

1. Cambridge Community Center Building Modernization


Non-Profit Organization 501(c)3

Darrin Korte / Yerine Lee, primary contacts

Project Location: Location Cambridge Community Center, 5 Callender Street

Quoted from the Forward Fund Application Form:

“Our Building Modernization Project, comprised of three phases, aims to bring our 19th century building into the present. With the completion of Phase 1 in 2015, we began removing hazardous materials, increased fire safety, and renovated gross motor activity areas. We are now planning Phase 2, which will allow us to improve our facility and increase our capacity to serve our community. We will complete the removal of hazardous materials, install a new domestic hot water system, renovate exterior trim and siding, and create a new ADA-compliant front entryway. We will also focus on establishing an energy efficient building through new windows and doors, insulation and air infiltration prevention, and a new high efficiency heating system. During Phase 3, we will complete our master plan by improving the layout of the building, making all floors accessible by elevator, and renovating plumbing, bathrooms, and our kitchen.”


2. HomePort Gateway Kiosk


Non-Profit Organization 501(c)3

Eryn Johnson, primary contact

Project Location: Corner of Windsor and School Street

Quoted from the Forward Fund Application Form:

“The Home Port Gateway Kiosk is a sculptural and functional installation that will welcome people into the Port neighborhood, share information and gather data. The Gateway Kiosk will be located at the heart of the Port in a currently sparsely planted, and often trash-filled pocket-park at the corner of School and Windsor Streets. The Gateway Kiosk will be designed by community members in collaboration with our staff and a visiting lead artist/engineer. The idea for the Gateway Kiosk came through focus groups and community leader meetings held in winter 2015/2016. 

The Gateway Kiosk will celebrate the recent name reclaiming of the neighborhood by featuring a new Port logo designed by local youth. It will include low-tech components such as a mosaic art work, a thank you board and space for flyer postings combined with high-tech components such as an interactive story listening station and sidewalk projections advertising upcoming neighborhood events. The Gateway Kiosk will be created as part of Home Port, a multi-year initiative that uses pop up events, photojournalism, public art, and story collection, to strengthen the Port community. Home Port asks that residents be directly involved in the formation and design of a neighborhood fashion brand, mobile art trailer and the community gateway kiosk. Home Port is guided by a group of neighborhood leaders, carried out by local youth and supported by a team of partners including the City of Cambridge, developers Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Boston Properties and grassroots neighborhood groups including the Port Café.

The Home Port Gateway Kiosk will beautify a currently neglected piece of City property and will bring recognition to a community that is fighting for visibility and voice. The stories shared and information communicated through the Gateway Kiosk will invite newcomers to know the Port neighborhood and will increase pride and civic engagement in longtime residents.”


3. Russell Pathway Jerry’s Pond Public Info Kiosk


Community Organization

Eric Grunebaum, primary contact

Earthos Institute, 501(c)3 Fiscal Agent

Project Location: Russell Pathway between the Alewife MBTA headhouse and sports fields

Quoted from the Forward Fund Application Form:

“The Jerry’s Pond environs has a rich history – both natural and human-made. From marshlands and swamps, to clay pits, chemical manufacturing, swimming hole, Red Line terminus and bicycle, car and pedestrian commuting route, there is much about Jerry’s Pond and the surrounding area to understand, celebrate and perhaps learn cautionary lessons from. 

Today, hundreds of residents from Cambridge and neighboring town pass through the area, understanding and learning little about the natural and human narratives – historical, contemporary and future possibilities. This initiative proposes to create a kiosk with graphics, photos, illustrations and text, which will reconnect us with these narratives. Understanding how the landscape has changed through time will help us better comprehend where we are today and perhaps consider where we might go in the future. 

Inspired by the kiosk at the nearby constructed wetland (past the Alewife parking garage towards Belmont), the purpose of the Jerry’s Pond Public Information Kiosk will be to inform and educate citizens about these histories, narratives and possibilities in a depth well beyond the rusting and tilted plaque which sits along the Russell pathway today. 

The project team will host a series of public design workshops and conversations in the community, recruiting local high school students and college interns to assist. Earthos hosts interns from area colleges, training them in sustainable design practices. This project will enable Earthos to expand these internships to include area high schools students interested in design and place-making.”


4. Community Sign Engagement


Community Organization

Romaine Waite, primary contact

Community Art Center, 501(c)3 Fiscal Agent

Project Location: Community Art Center

Quoted from the Forward Fund Application Form:

“There are two concepts we intend to explore for increasing building public engagement with The Port Cafe with a CRA planning grant:

  • A mobile storage cart which functions as the home for 12-15 LED light projections which are placed around the neighborhood on the date of our pop up meal. The cart itself would function as an advertisement for The Port Cafe, as a a physical manifestation - a welcoming 'gateway' to wherever the Port Cafe was being held. We would base this off of the design here:
  • The second idea is to work with other technical providers to plan the design 10-15 LED light projection signs. (Please see attached illustrations.) We imagine these as laser cut, opaque templates with messages on them*, through which light projected. The light would project The Port Cafe information onto a sidewalk or the side of a building the day of the event. (** See the Central Square theater sign, as an example) This unexpected 'message on a sidewalk' creates an element of surprise and delight. The LED holders with templates would be weatherproof, flexible, light material for portability, which would allow for their temporary, (locked) attachment to a fixed landscape element, such as a tree branch, a sign post or a fence. Their placement on such elements would be temporary.

The Port Cafe is uniquely dedicated to easing the isolating effects of gentrification in the neighborhood. We set up a safe and welcoming environment to make it possible for people of diverse wealth to break bread together. We are committed to modeling a radical hospitality; ie. no barriers between the people serving the food and the people eating the food. The Port Cafe works in synergy with other Port service providers and civic groups who share our vision for sustainable, inclusive community. 

Our proposed project will:

1) Increase the number of people (both new and established residents) who can benefit from meeting one another to build 21st Century community.

2) Create impromptu, visually appealing invitations to gather together to bridge divides of class and race.”