Summer Newsletter

June 2024


Dear Friends,

Did you see our big news in May? CEOC was awarded a ten-year, $750,000 grant from Cummings Foundation—as one of 150 nonprofits chosen to share in Cummings’ $30 million major annual grants program.

One of the things that’s so special about this program (which has thus far given $500 million to more than 2,000 recipients) is that the majority of grant decisions are made by community volunteers, including top executives and experts from business, nonprofit, education, and government. Being selected by community leaders for results they have seen firsthand is the greatest vote of confidence we could receive.

You can read more about this transformative grant below. Thanks once again to Cummings Foundation and their volunteers, as well as to all of you who help CEOC fight poverty in Cambridge every day.

All the Best,

Tina Alu

Executive Director

P.S. In case you missed it last month, please click here to see our 2023 Annual Report!

Cummings Foundation 10-Year Grant Award

For the past three years, a Cummings Foundation grant has helped CEOC offer clients greater opportunities to thrive through direct cash grants.

The Foundation's generous new 10-year general operating grant is an investment that will allow us not only to sustain our vital services and advocacy, but also to expand programming to better serve our community and enhance our efforts to create lasting change and improve the lives of those we serve. Click here to read the full news release.

New Ethiopian Elder Group

Thanks to the North Cambridge Senior Center and CEOC Program and Advocacy Coordinator Yemi Kibret, Ethiopian seniors have a new “Ethiopian Hour” community group where they can connect and support each other. Discussion topics have included immigration issues, SNAP benefits, knitting, English classes, and wellness.

Yemi, who came to the U.S. from Ethiopia as a teenager, took this picture of a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony the group hosted. We’re looking forward to seeing how the group grows and continues to choose meaningful topics and activities for future meetings.

Cambridge RISE Initial Findings

The successful launch of last year’s Rise Up Cambridge guaranteed-income program was due in large part to experience gained through a 2021 pilot program called RISE (Recurring Income for Success & Empowerment).

Now, thanks to a recent research report, we have conclusive evidence of the positive results of these guaranteed-income programs—namely that participants experienced significant improvements in financial health, higher rates of employment, increased time for parenting, and enhanced educational outcomes for children.

Currently, Rise Up Cambridge is providing nearly 2,000 families with $500 per month for 18 months, the first non-lottery guaranteed-income program in the country.

New Financial Freedom Parties

This summer we are launching CEOC’s Financial Freedom Party program, a series of fun, peer-led get-togethers to promote financial literacy in the community.

Facilitators completed their training this spring and will host parties with the help of CEOC staff members, using activities and inspiration from the financial capability toolkits they each received.

Our six facilitators speak Spanish, Amharic, Bangla, Haitian Creole, and Arabic and are residents of Cambridge who are ingrained in their communities. 

Welcome, Zeke Levy!

Food Pantry Manager Zeke Levy joined CEOC in May, bringing a wealth of local nonprofit and civic experience to our team, including outreach and case management at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, as well as food distribution at their food pantry.

A Cambridge resident and father of two young children, Zeke was drawn to CEOC’s community focus. “I have been that family in need and a patron at food pantries,” he says. “I am as much one of them as I am the one serving them.”

CEOC info table

Upcoming Summer Events

Come meet the CEOC team out in the community! Staff and volunteers will be available to discuss our services at these upcoming events:

Community Learning Center

June 6 & June 10, at 6:30 pm

Central Square Farmers Market

June 17, June 29, Aug 12, from 12–4 pm

Just A Start Family Fun Day BBQ at Squirrel Brand Park July 20, from 1–4 pm

Stay tuned for more dates throughout the summer!

Juneteenth Parade

Come join your neighbors in honoring and celebrating Juneteenth on Wednesday, June 19.

The parade begins at 10:00 am at Mass Ave and Pleasant St. in Central Square and will end at Riverside Press Park on River St. between Blackstone St. and Memorial Drive, followed by speakers, music, and activities through the afternoon.

Cambridge Economic

Opportunity Committee


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