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Member Highlight: Cambridge Redevelopment Authority

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) is committed to implementing imaginative, creative initiatives to achieve social equity and a balanced economic ecosystem. We work in the public trust to bring a human dimension to development improving the quality of life for residents, nonprofits, businesses, employees, and visitors. Our goal is to balance economic vibrancy, housing, and open space to create sustainable communities through new and revitalized development. We are an independent, agile public authority bringing a unique set of redevelopment tools to work in close partnership with the City of Cambridge and other organizations.

What is one interesting fact about your space?

The CRA owns development rights in the Kendall Square district of Cambridge, home to some of the world’s best known biotech and technology companies, and thus some of the most valuable commercial real estate in the country right now. We leverage that ownership to generate significant resources that we use throughout the City of Cambridge. Those resources support capital projects that sustain and expand nonprofit capacity, as well as meet other equity driven urban planning goals. What’s most fun about our work is that we don’t just provide money for projects; we act as an active partner, providing technical assistance or other support to enable nonprofits to carry out capital projects that they otherwise might not have the internal expertise or staffing capacity to complete.

We are also increasingly using our resources to preserve and create affordable spaces for nonprofits to conduct their work in an increasingly expensive real estate market. This led us to purchase 93-99 Bishop Allen Drive in 2019. In 2021 we will complete a major renovation, ensuring that the building continues to support nonprofits in moving their missions forward.

What are your favorite resources that you would recommend to others?

Some of our favorite resources include our local municipality’s website, where we can access a range of local studies about the strengths and needs of our local community. We also rely on the expertise of our local community foundation and nonprofit coalition. The Cambridge Community Foundation (www.cambridgecf.org) and Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition (www.cambridgenc.org) are connected to the pulse of our local nonprofit field, and provide important insight when we’re considering new programs or changes to existing programs for nonprofits.

Some of our other favorite resources supporting nonprofits’ direct work include:

Nonprofit AF and Blue Avocado: https://nonprofitaf.com/ https://blueavocado.org/
These sites both provide the latest in nonprofit best practice for every aspect of the work, with the former strongly focused on ensuring that nonprofits don’t perpetuate racial and economic injustice through their operations.

Catchafire: https://www.catchafire.org/
Vetted pro bono professionals to support nonprofit needs such as graphic design, human resources, fundraising, financial management, and many other areas, offered in a format that makes identifying volunteers fast and easy. Many communities have a local foundation that sponsors the membership, making it free for any nonprofit in that foundation’s target area.

The Agitator: http://agitator.thedonorvoice.com/
Daily blog that acts as a master class for individual donor nonprofit fundraising, with a lot of direct tips and examples provided, based heavily on the science of fundraising and marketing

 

Center Name: Cambridge Redevelopment Authority

Location: Cambridge, MA

Center Website: https://www.cambridgeredevelopment.org/ 

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