MIT and the Community

MIT is an integral member of its host city of Cambridge, a diverse and vibrant community noted for its intellectual life, history, and thriving innovation climate. With a campus nestled between Central and Kendall Squares, and across the Charles River from Boston’s Seaport District, the Institute is in an optimal position to engage in collaborative endeavors with its neighbors and to contribute to the growing innovation community.

The city’s approximately 110,000 residents, including more than 36,000 college and university students, together form a lively community within its 6.26 square miles (16.2 km2). Cambridge is pedestrian and bicycle friendly, with 82 parks and playgrounds, six subway stations, a commuter rail line, 29 bus routes, multiple shuttles, 44 bike sharing stations, and numerous dedicated bicycle lanes and bikeways, enabling visitors and students to get around the city and the MIT campus without a car.

Service to the community. Since its founding, MIT has maintained a commitment to be a good neighbor and serve the local community. The Institute actively supports nonprofit organizations that address local challenges by providing educational programs, financial resources, representation on boards and committees, volunteer engagement, and the use of MIT facilities. In addition, members of the MIT community support the Institute’s Community Service Fund, which provides assistance for nonprofits where MIT volunteers are at work.

The Institute's Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center provides programming, guidance, information, and support to students, faculty, and staff interested in public service, and serves as a resource for both MIT and the community at large.

Economic impact and innovation catalyst. MIT has a far-reaching impact on the economy of the region. The Institute is Cambridge’s second largest employer and largest taxpayer, representing 14.5% of the city’s revenue stream. MIT pays taxes on its commercial property and provides an annual payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for property that is used for academic purposes and is legally tax exempt. In fiscal year 2017, the Institute made a voluntary PILOT contribution of approximately $2 million to the City of Cambridge and paid approximately $55 million in real estate taxes.

MIT is a magnet for investment and fuels the innovation economy with the research, start-ups, and talent pool that it generates. Kendall Square, at the eastern end of MIT’s campus, is the seat of a thriving innovation cluster in which MIT plays a catalyzing role.

In 2017, MIT received City Council approval to rezone an underutilized 14-acre (0.06-km2) parcel in Kendall Square to accommodate housing, commercial and lab space, retail, open space, and a variety of active community uses. In guiding the redevelopment, MIT’s goal is to make the region’s innovation ecosystem even stronger, creating a dynamic and welcoming place to live and work, which will attract the industries of tomorrow and fuel academic and commercial research collaborations—all of which will help Kendall Square thrive over time by sustaining its creative evolution.

For more information about MIT and the community, visit