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.

                    Featured Stories                             Profiles in Community Support

       Local Partnerships                                    Research & Impact

Alumni Making a Difference                                   More Blogs

Featured Stories

Monuments Reimagined, "belong"

Creating Community through Public Art

A group of artists and public art professionals joined a community conversation about the importance of public art, how communities are addressing public art that may no longer reflect community values, and what the future of public art looks like.

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Massachusetts Hall in 1857

Exploring Harvard's History

In March 2020, the Harvard Visitor Center was confronted with a new challenge: "How can we welcome people to Harvard in the passionate way we have so far, with these new circumstances?" Together they created the virtual student-led tour.

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Summer Explorations program participants travel to the Harvard Ed Portal to pick up their program supply boxes

The exploration never stops

In the middle of summer vacation, local students excitedly hopped onto Zoom ready to explore topics from biodiversity, to the seasons through art, to theatre and acting through the Harvard Ed Portal’s Summer Explorations program.

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Puzzle Me Allston-Brighton mural

Summer in the Arts

The Harvard Ed Portal has geared up for multiple arts and culture offerings for all ages throughout the summer, including activities for youth, concerts, an interactive mural, and public art exhibits.

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The Folding Chair: Book Discussions on Leadership and Ambition

Folding Chair Book Club

The virtual series invites members of the Allston-Brighton and Cambridge communities to join together and discuss a common book.

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Stone replicas of an ox and a tiger

A Trip to the Museum, Virtually

Harvard student archaeologists virtually join grade school classes to bring students on a "field trip" from their computer screens.

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mindfulness series

Memory, Social Justice, and Mindfulness

Hosted by the Harvard Ed Portal, Memory, Social Justice, and Mindfulness was a re-imagined one-off course based on a four-part Ed Portal program hosted last year.

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Woman working out virtually

Health and Wellness for the Community

Recognizing the challenges around staying active and practicing self-care, the Harvard Ed Portal began to look for ways in which to be a resource for those seeking health and wellness opportunities.

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Community Education

Public art has the potential to make a community a more vibrant and welcoming place. Free and accessible to all, it also has the power to provoke debate about our shared cultural experience. As engaged citizens call for the removal of certain public monuments that evoke harmful systems, the conversation about the role of public art in our communities gains momentum.

This panel, including City of Boston Chief of Arts & Culture Kara Elliott-Ortega, Harvard Graduate School of Design professor Sara Zewde, and Cambridge-based artist Katherine Megumi Shozawa, came together for a discussion (moderated by Art in Between co-founder Brian Hone) focused on the future of public art and its potential to express our collective public values.

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

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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  • 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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  • Serving Up Job Training

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

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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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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