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 105,000 residents, including more than 46,000 college and university students, together form an 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, 39 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% 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 2016, the Institute made a voluntary PILOT contribution of approximately $2 million to the City of Cambridge and paid approximately $50 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 2016, MIT took a bold step to advance innovation by launching The Engine, a new Cambridge-based accelerator focused on solutions to the biggest, toughest problems facing the world. The Engine will provide affordable workspaces, access to specialized equipment and expertise, and streamlined business services, including support for legal, accounting, operating, and technology licensing for locally based startups that require “patient” capital investment to bring their ideas to market.

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