Stories of Impact

Harvard values its longtime partnership with the Cities of Cambridge and Boston, particularly our shared history, our efforts to strengthen our communities, our shared achievements, and our commitment to education and creating opportunities that encourage lifelong learning. Harvard is proud to be part of this region, and to contribute in ways that make the communities we call home more vibrant as a result of
the work we do together.

The following stories highlight some of the impactful and exciting collaborations and programs taking place across the community every single day.

                    Click for Featured Stories                             Click for Profiles in Community Support

                    Click for Local Partnerships                         Click for Research & Impact

                    Click for Alumni Making a Difference            Click for More Blogs

Community Education

A year into the coronavirus pandemic, Allston-Brighton and Cambridge small business leaders and nonprofits gathered to examine how they've managed to preserve the vibrant mosaic of businesses that characterize their communities, and consider what the future will look like.

This panel, led by Karen Gordon Mills, Harvard Business School Senior Fellow and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, featured opening remarks by Ayanna Pressley, U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 7th congressional district, and included Joseph Charles, owner of Rock City Pizza; David Maher, President & CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce; Aidan McDonough, Executive Director of Brighton Main Streets; and Rachel Miller Munzer, Big Dipper Hospitality (State Park, Mamaleh’s, Café du Pays/Vincent’s Corner Grocery).

Days before Election Day 2020, a powerhouse group of local women leaders gathered to discuss the importance of civic engagement, local participation, and why voting matters.

The panel, led by Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, included Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, Michelle Tassinari, Director and Legal Counsel of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Elections Division, Eneida Tavares, the Interim Commissioner for the City of Boston’s Elections Department, and Tova Wang, a Democracy Visiting Fellow at the Ash Center at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Read More in the Harvard Gazette

Featured Stories

Person working on laptop

Computer Skills program helps teens navigate digital platforms

The Harvard Ed Portal’s High School Computer Skills Program became more essential than ever this year in the Cambridge and Allston-Brighton communities.

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Fresh Breaths: Portrait of Sabrina by Chanel Thervil

In painting others, Black artists discover a picture of self-care

In the online event, "Portraits in Pajamas," artists Chanel Thervil and Sabrina Dorsainvil explored how artists of color in any media are navigating the new patterns of living the pandemic demands.

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Student working on laptop

When it comes to online learning, safety first

Harvard University IT experts and the Harvard Ed Portal hosted a Zoom event to answer parents' and teachers' questions about safe online learning.

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Photo of Kitchen Team at Breaktime Cafe

Serving up job training

Staffed by homeless youth, Breaktime Café prepares, delivers meals to vulnerable amid pandemic.

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Students at Harvard Center for Astrophysics

From hands-on to virtual

A group of area high school students spent the past year learning how to be scientists through the Harvard-MIT Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP).

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Artwork by student

Local students explore street art and community

Moving online didn't stop the Harvard Ed Portal’s Mural Club: Street Art & Community from being a success.

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Allston-Brighton street sign

27 Allston-Brighton nonprofits awarded emergency response grants

Harvard University announced 27 Allston-Brighton nonprofit organizations and community groups were awarded emergency response grants for their continuing efforts in responding to COVID-19 related community needs.

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Students on virtual field trip

Exploring from home

Virtual field trips through the Harvard Ed Portal have taken youngsters to five of the 10 wonders of the world—all without leaving their home.

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Profiles in Community Support


Allston Brighton CDC

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Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force Logo

Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force

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AB Neighborhood Opportunity Center

Allston-Brighton Neighborhood Opportunity Center

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Allston Brighton Main Streets Light Project

Allston Village Main Streets & Brighton Main Streets

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Food distribution at Brazilian Women's Group

Brazilian Women's Group

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Side angle of church

Brighton Allston Congregational Church

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entry sign for brighton marine

Brighton Marine

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Cambridge Community Center

Cambridge Community Center

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GPA Adult Education Program graduation photo

Gardner Pilot Academy Adult Education Program

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Exterior of Oak Square YMCA

Oak Square YMCA

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Open Door Soup Kitchen

Open Door Soup Kitchen & Grocery Bag Program

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PSF Rose Garden

The Presentation School Foundation Community Center

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St Anthony Parish Food Pantry

St. Anthony's Parish Food Pantry

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West End House Food Delivery

West End House

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Local Partnerships

Artisan Asylum

An Asylum in Allston

Harvard University welcomed Artisan’s Asylum, a local nonprofit arts collaborative, to Allston, where it will make medical gowns used as personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Meals by Chef Hayde

Harvard's Chef Hayde Cooks for the Community

Harvard's Chef Akeisha Hayde has turned her culinary skills towards feeding some of Boston’s homeless community.

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From left: Justin Morgan, Ruhi Nath, Adjoa Anyane-Yeboa

Harvard Chan students connect with isolated local seniors

Amid the pandemic, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health students are connecting with seniors at Roxbury Tenants of Harvard.

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Managing the Future of Work podcast logo

COVID-19 Dispatch: Karen Mills

Harvard Business School Professors Bill Kerr and Joe Fuller talk with HBS senior fellow and former Small Business Administration director Karen Mills, about the effects of COVID-19 on the future of work.

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Andover Hall at Harvard Divinity School

A Joyful Sorrow

Rev. Erica Rose Long, MDiv ’16, and Sarah Byrne-Martelli, MDiv ’02, discuss being on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, partnering with doctors and nurses, and providing comfort and support both to Coronavirus patients and those who care for them.

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Feed the Frontlines

A time of need and a desire to help

The COVID-19 crisis has brought disruption, loss, and jarring change, but it has also fired in many students the desire to help and inspired creative ways to make a difference. New initiatives include Feed the Frontlines NYC, CovEducation, and Bike Harvard.

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Canned food

Helping to feed the community

Harvard continues to donate food for distribution in Cambridge and beyond.

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Research & Impact

Photo of Weaver Ear Savers on mannequin

7 million face shields and counting

The Wyss Institute produces face shields at a pace of up to 400,000 per day, and over 7 million face shields have been shipped both locally and nationally for use in the health care, food service, manufacturing, and academic research communities.

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Image of COVID-19 virus

$16.5 million awarded to projects to fight COVID

A scientific consortium formed to fight COVID-19 has awarded $16.5 million to 62 research projects focused on aspects of the pandemic ranging from vaccines and treatments to explorations of immunity to divining its still-unknown reach across society.

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Medical research procedure

Volunteers juice COVID testing at Beth Israel

An outpouring of volunteers and equipment from the Harvard medical community have helped a Harvard hospital testing lab meet COVID-19’s challenge.

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PPEople First logo

How MBAs are bringing PPE to Boston Hospitals

PPEople First—a group of Harvard Business School students who are bringing critically needed PPE to Massachusetts healthcare workers—has successfully connected the PPE supply in China with the demand in Massachusetts.

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Creating face masks

GSD begins PIH design & fabrication alongside ongoing PPE efforts

As of May 7, the Harvard Graduate School of Design's Fabrication Lab was able to produce 2,200 face visors via 3-D printing, and 3,194 shields via laser-cutting for Mass General Hospital.

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covid-19 close-up

Pilot Project for COVID-19 Testing in Nursing Homes

The City of Cambridge announced a partnership with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard on a pilot project to test for COVID-19 in nursing facilities.

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fabrication lab

Design School turned 3D printers into PPE producers

With more than 100 3D printers, fabrication technologies, and expert guidance, the GSD is creating PPE for frontline medical personnel.

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boston skyline

Harvard to
help track
the virus

Students from Chan School are helping to boost the volunteer public health workforce.

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covid-19 virus

Organized to fight the pandemic

To stem the coronavirus crisis, Harvard Medical School scientists forge ahead on six key fronts.

Alumni Making a Difference

Landscape with clouds

A COVID-19 battle with many fronts

Alumni spearhead public health campaigns, data visualization maps, and outbreak plans for Native American tribal leaders.

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Medical workers wearing face masks

In the trenches

Harvard alumni Judy Salerno, S.M. ’76, M.D. ’85, S.P.H. ’85, Tony Dajer ’78, and Mallika Marshall ’92 are among the thousands of medical professionals working nonstop to care for patients as the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the nation.

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Ofer Levy and David Dowling working on vaccine

Global race to a COVID-19 vaccine

Harvard's coronavirus vaccine efforts by alumni and beyond join the race to develop a vaccine that could help end the coronavirus pandemic.

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COVID-19 street sign

From a care of souls to the care of bodies

Kevin Cranston, M.Div. ’86, and his team of epidemiologists and lab scientists are working hard tracking cases of COVID-19 and helping advise local and state officials on policies to best mitigate its spread.

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  • University Community Rallies to Deal with COVID-19 Crisis

    Harvard faculty, students, researchers, and staff are working alongside hospitals, first responders, state and city leaders, and many more across Greater Boston to support the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Gazette recently spoke with some professors and administrators about the research, projects, and collaborations the University has undertaken amid the unprecedented global health crisis.

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  • Harvard and MIT donate $500,000 to Cambridge

    Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have made matching donations of $250,000 each to the city of Cambridge to cover costs associated with the creation of a temporary emergency shelter at the War Memorial Recreation Center, Field House, and garage.

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  • How Can Law Students Help in the Midst of COVID-19?

    Harvard Law School's Lee Mestre discusses the opportunities for students, other members of the Harvard Law community, and the Commonwealth to be of service during COVID-19.

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  • HLS Clinics Fight for Most Vulnerable Amid COVID-19

    The Harvard Law School's Clinical Program has moved to working remotely with new urgency and challenges.

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  • Free-Cycling from COVID-19

    Harvard students made thousands of donations of non-perishable food, supplies, clothing, and household goods to nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Furnishing Hope, the YWCA, and the Allston Brighton Food Pantry.

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  • At Harvard Graduate Schools, Reinvention on the Fly

    Harvard School of Dental Medicine is providing emergency dental care to patients, and also seeing patients via teledentistry virtual visits, alleviating ER cases that might otherwise go to hospitals.

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  • Harvard School of Dental Medicine: Faculty Q&As

    HSDM Faculty have participated in Q&As offering expertise on a variety of topics such as Putting Public Health First and Weighing the Risk of Smoking during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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  • Mobile Clinics Finding Their Place in Pandemic

    Although Harvard Medical School's Family Van is temporarily grounded, it is hosting call-in hours, contacting clients directly, and distributing pamphlets and other handouts put together by the COVID-19 Health Literacy Project.

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  • Waste Not, Want Not

    Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic steps up its efforts in time of pandemic.

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  • Harvard Guarantee Workers' Pay, Benefits Amid COVID-19 Disruptions

    Harvard announced it would guarantee pay and benefits through May 28 to its employees and contract workers who have experienced job disruptions since March 10.

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  • Facing a Pandemic, Broad Does a Quick Pivot

    How the institute converted a clinical processing lab into a large-scale COVID-19 testing facility in a matter of days.

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  • Option to Serve

    This year's graduating Harvard Medical School students have been given an early degree option to help in COVID-19 fight.

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  • Labs Donate Protective Equipment to Healthcare Workers

    As University facilities have shut down, faculty and staff gathered gear to pass along amid a nationwide shortage.

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Harvard Gazette: In the Community

Explore more stories in The Harvard Gazette about lifelong learning, shared achievements, and opportunities on Harvard's campus and surrounding communities.

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