Cash Empowers: Rise Up Cambridge bridges gaps for families

Jun 27, 2023
  • Description

The brief by the Cambridge Community Foundation (CCF) reveals the pressures low-income families are facing in a city whose cost of living is 73 percent higher than the national average. CCF found that:

  • Just over 60 percent of Cambridge's Black and African American families with children make half or less of what the Economic Policy Institute considers a living wage.
  • The median income of single mothers is $29,000—just 15 percent of the $191,000 citywide median for married couples with kids.
  • More than half of the people in eligible families are 21 or younger, with the largest share under age 12. That's nearly 4,000 Cambridge children whose circumstances make it hard for them to live up to their potential and become thriving members of the community.

The Rise Up Cambridge program aims to help change these statistics. It is a $22 million City of Cambridge program run in partnership with Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, the Cambridge Community Foundation, and Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee that supports families with children making up to 250 percent of the federal poverty line—$66,250 for a family of four. The program is the only one in the country that's not lottery-based, offering all eligible families $500 cash assistance for 18 months. Funds will be distributed beginning July 1.