Through the Bob Shea Memorial Fund, a friend's memory lives on

Through the Bob Shea Memorial Fund, a friend's memory lives on image

Bob Shea, a homeless man, lived on the streets of Cambridge for 30 years. He served three tours of duty with the army in Vietnam. To those lucky enough to know him, Bob was something more: a protector of the weak, a raconteur blessed with an almost encyclopedic memory, a man with an eye for beauty and grace in unlikely places.

For Cambridge Community Foundation Board Member Phil Johnson, founder and CEO of PJA Advertising + Marketing, Bob was above all a friend.

Phil helped where he could – dollars for food or drink, gift cards to the AMC movie theater, new sneakers, calls to the Veterans Benefits Administration. Sometimes mistaken for charity by others, Phil responded, “I never saw this as anything more than a friendship.”

To honor his friend, Phil created The Bob Shea Memorial Fund, a donor advised fund at the CCF, dedicated to all those who live on the margins of society as a result of extreme poverty, personal misfortune, addiction, and tragedy.

“I established the fund at the Foundation because it was the perfect place to achieve my vision of helping people with the fewest material and interpersonal resources, who deserve our greatest compassion and attention,” said Phil. Phil’s wish is that the funds be used for direct and immediate relief for people living on the street, allowing them to access the material benefits that all of us enjoy: food, clothing, and access to entertainment and culture in the form of books, movies, music, and travel.

Recent grants from the Fund have been awarded to CASPAR (Cambridge And Somerville Programs for Addiction Recovery), for purposes such as providing unhoused community members with solar powered phone chargers, haircuts at local barbershops, and movie theater tickets.

The Bob Shea Memorial Fund is a donor advised fund at the Cambridge Community Foundation.

(EIN #: 046012492)

If you would like to mail a check, please write "Bob Shea Memorial Fund" in the memo and send it to: Cambridge Community Foundation, 99 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Please note that gifts from IRAs to donor-advised funds are not eligible for treatment as Qualified Charitable Distributions for federal tax purposes.

For more information, or for other ways to donate, please contact Michal Rubin at

We are grateful to partner with CCF Board Member and Chair, Phil Johnson, on the Bob Shea Memorial Fund. Phil may contact donors to the fund with notes of gratitude and periodic updates. If you do not wish to be contacted in this regard, please email: