MIT and the Community

MIT is an integral member of the city of Cambridge, a diverse and vibrant community of approximately 110,000 residents noted for its history, intellectual life, and thriving innovation climate. The city hosts nearly 35,000 college and university students, many of whom live within its 6.43 mi2 (16.2 km2).

Cambridge is pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. Its six subway stations, commuter rail line, 21 bus routes, multiple shuttles, 48 bike sharing stations, and numerous dedicated bicycle lanes and bikeways, enable 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.

Departments, labs, and centers at MIT often create programming to inspire K-12 student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. The Institute is working to increase awareness of these offerings to local schools and ensure equitable access.

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 14.6% of the city’s revenue stream. MIT pays taxes on its commercial property and provides an annual voluntary payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for property that is used for academic purposes and is legally tax exempt. In fiscal year 2019, the Institute made a PILOT contribution of approximately $2.1 million to the city and paid approximately $60 million in real estate taxes.

The research, startups, and talent pool that MIT generates are a magnet for investment, catalyzing and fueling the local innovation economy. Kendall Square, at the eastern end of MIT’s campus, is the seat of a thriving innovation hub. The Institute’s Kendall Square Initiative and Volpe mixed-use development projects will add over 2.5 million ft2 (232,257 m2) of retail, office, and residential space and more than four acres (16,187 m2) of open space. Planning and construction is ongoing, with the first building set to be completed in 2020.

For more information, visit Office of Government and Community Relations.