Our History

The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) is a private, non-profit, community-based organization that has provided a wide range of health and human services to Portuguese speakers and other residents of eastern Massachusetts since 1970. The agency offers a variety of programs that break down language and cultural barriers to health and social services, education and economic opportunity.

MAPS in its present form was created in 1993 by the merger of two other agencies. The agencies, the former Somerville Portuguese American League (SPAL) and Cambridge Organization of Portuguese Americans (COPA), had served area Portuguese speakers separately for more than 20 years. They merged to improve service provision and further unify the Portuguese-speaking community, including immigrants from eight countries around the world. (Please see the COPA historical article about the purchase of our Cambridge headquarters!)

Most MAPS’ clients in the Boston area and northeastern Massachusetts are from Brazil, Cabo Verde or Portugal. The MAPS staff and Board of Directors come from linguistic and cultural backgrounds that reflect the diversity of the agency’s clientele.

Agency offices are located in the heart of the Portuguese-speaking communities of Cambridge, Somerville, Boston, Lowell and Framingham. The agency opened its first Boston office in Allston in 1995 to serve the large growing Brazilian population in that neighborhood. The agency expanded its service area northward in 1997, opening its new Lowell office at the urgent request of the city’s Portuguese-speaking community. A second Boston office opened in Upham’s Corner, Dorchester in 2001 to serve the surrounding Cabo Verdean community. In 2006, MAPS opened a part-time office in Framingham to provide services to the large Brazilian community of the MetroWest area. The MAPS Allston Office moved to Brighton in 2012.

MAPS also continues to provide advocacy, leadership and community development services to Brazilian, Cabo Verdean and Portuguese residents of eastern Massachusetts.