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Ellen M Gifford Sheltering Home Corporation

 30 Undine Road
 Brighton, MA 02135
[P] (617) 787-8872
[F] (617) 787-8870
[email protected]
Dinneen Grably
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2239741

LAST UPDATED: 01/10/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of the Gifford Cat Shelter is to provide a safe haven for abandoned, stray, abused, neglected, unwanted and injured cats with the goal of re-homing and ending the needless killing of community and companion cats.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Gifford Cat Shelter is to provide a safe haven for abandoned, stray, abused, neglected, unwanted and injured cats with the goal of re-homing and ending the needless killing of community and companion cats.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $318,550.00
Projected Expense $297,750.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Cat Sheltering & Adoption
  • Volunteer Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The mission of the Gifford Cat Shelter is to provide a safe haven for abandoned, stray, abused, neglected, unwanted and injured cats with the goal of re-homing and ending the needless killing of community and companion cats.

Background Statement

If only the waifs, the strays, the sick, the abused would be sure to get entrance to the home, and anybody could feel at liberty to bring in a starved or ill-treated animal and have it cared for without pay, my object would be obtained.”

When Ellen Gifford penned these words in 1884, she created a powerful mission and established a legacy of kindness and compassion that has endured to today.

The Ellen M. Gifford Sheltering Home was founded on land belonging to Captain Nathan Appleton, with an initial $25,000 donation from Ellen Gifford. Captain Appleton, a visionary in his time, felt that animals “had a right to their lives and pursuit of happiness”.1

The original shelter was cageless and there was no routine euthanasia. Since much of Brighton was farm land in those days, animals ranged from goats and bulls to dogs and cats. In 1900, Helen M. Winslow describes the original cat building as a house with shelves used as “bunk beds”. Bedding consisted of clean hay. Cooked meat and fish and water were served at feeding stations.

As the character of the Brighton neighborhood changed over the years, so did the shelter. Much of the original land was sold and the shelter eventually housed only cats. In 2009, the original shelter was replaced by a new building.

Today, Gifford Cat Shelter continues to uphold Mrs. Gifford’s original intention. More than 75% of the cats we take in have been rescued from homelessness, hoarders or abandonment. Most of the cats are hungry and frightened. We are committed to providing each cat with safety, food, veterinary care, and lots of love until we find a permanent home for him/her. Gifford Cat Shelter maintains a standard of excellence in caring for and finding permanent homes for cats and the Shelter is an asset to our community.

1.“Concerning Cats” by Helen M. Winslow, published in 1900.

Impact Statement

2011 Accomplishments:
1. Admission of 154 cats in 2011 (with 56 remaining from 2010) demonstrates another year of growth for the Gifford Cat Shelter.
2. A large outdoor fully-enclosed play yard for the shelter cats was completed in 2011. The yard is accessed from the main building and allows for fresh air and exercise in a safe environment.
Cats are treated with flea and tick prevention prior to being allowed into the yard and are only out during shelter operating hours.
3. The creation of an admission/intake area in the basement of the house has greatly improved the intake process.
Goals for the Current Year (2012): 
1. Increase adoptions over 2011
2. Undergo an assessment by an external shelter veterinarian to insure that our procedures and protocols are in line with Association of Shelter Veterinarian's 2010 Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters.  Update protocols and take corrective action as necessary.
3. Recruit additional Board members with specific expertise in areas of veterinary care, fundraising, and finance.
4. Re-branding for more contemporary and professional look, including new logo, website, information sheets, etc 
5. Add a staff position with responsibility for recruitment, management, and training of volunteers.

Needs Statement

Our top need is for donations to help pay for veterinary care for our cats.  Costs range from $50 for an office visit to literally thousands of dollars if a cat needs surgery. 
We are in need of Board members with expertise in the areas of veterinary care (i.e., doctor of veterinary medicine); finance; and fundraising.  
Our information systems and record-keeping methods are antiquated.  We do not have the expertise to research and implement the most effective and cost efficient database/population and client management system.  We need a volunteer or intern who can do this research and make recommendations that are within our budget.
Our shelter relies on volunteers to operate on a daily basis, so we need volunteers to help clean the shelter and to socialize the cats.  Cleaning volunteers are needed 7 days/week from 8AM - 11AM.  Other volunteer opportunities are available in the afternoons. 

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement

The Gifford Cat Shelter is a unique and special place, providing a cageless and homelike shelter environment since 1884! There are many stories that illustrate what makes it special – from the near-blind kitten who required round the clock medication to the starving stray with
frostbite who needed feeding every two hours to the mother cat protecting and caring for her kittens while searching for food on the city streets. All of these cats are now happy and healthy in wonderful homes. But while I reminisce about these successes, more and more homeless
cats are arriving every day.

From the Board perspective, the biggest challenge is to balance the desire to help every cat with the real limitations of finances, personnel, and physical space. The Gifford Cat Shelter goes the extra mile to care for cats with treatable illness or special needs. Recent admissions include strays that were lost or abandoned, cats that were removed from abusive situations, and cats whose families just could not longer keep them. Our dream is to expand our physical space and staff, while becoming a model of excellence in implementing the recent published national standards for the operation of animal shelters. To do this, we need to increase our income through fundraising and develop a larger community of dedicated supporters. We are currently carrying out a three year fundraising plan and working to attract more supporters through use of social media, print media and community outreach opportunities.
In 2013, we will begin the assessment phase for a larger fundraising campaign to assure the shelter’s long-term security and improve and expand upon services.

I chose to volunteer at Gifford because I love cats and wanted to help homeless cats. I am extremely proud of the shelter’s history and the mission of its pioneering founders and am grateful to be part of continuing that mission. Over the years, I have come to appreciate the
love and care that Gifford staff and volunteers give to each cat. Cats give us unconditional love and friendship. Our goal is to keep them safe and healthy for as long as it takes to find a permanent loving home.

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.

Organization Categories

  1. Animal Related - Animal Protection & Welfare
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Cat Sheltering & Adoption

Admission of homeless cats, provision of food, medication and care, and placement into permanent homes
Budget  $120,000.00
Category  Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Protection & Welfare
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
Adoption of admitted cats
Program Long-Term Success 
Decrease in the homeless cat population in the Greater Boston area
Program Success Monitored By 
Adoption rate and length of shelter stay
Examples of Program Success 
Adoption of special needs cats, including those with health problems

Volunteer Program

Gifford Cat Shelter relies on active and committed volunteers to achieve our mission.  Our Volunteer Program begins with an application, continues with an orientation, and is brought to fruition by matching the volunteer with activities that suit his/her interests and skills. 
We accept children and adolescents as volunteers with parental consent and supervision. 
We also have long-standing relationships with technical high schools, job training programs, Perkins School, and the Carroll Center for the Blind to allow their students and clients to gain job skills through volunteering at our Shelter.  
Volunteer activities include Shelter cleaning and maintenance, yard work, socializing and caring for cats, special/fundraising event planning and execution, marketing, and community awareness events (e.g., tabling and adoption events).  
Budget  $300.00
Category  Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Protection & Welfare
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Families
Program Short-Term Success 
Every morning cleaning shift (7 days/week) will be staffed with 3 committed volunteers. The Shelter will continue to be maintained as a healthy, clean environment for cats and for human visitors.
Every cat in the shelter will receive a minimum of 15 minutes of positive individual interaction with a person (e.g., petting, brushing, play time) per day.
Program Long-Term Success 
Long-term success would be the establishment of well-run and committed volunteer committees of 5-7 people each to oversee the functional areas for which we do not have dedicated staffed (specifically, event planning, fundraising, and social media marketing). 
Daily social interactions with humans (i.e., volunteers) will result, over time, in better socialized cats who are more appealing to adopters.  Our adoption rate will increase and the average length of stay in the Shelter for each cat will decrease.
Program Success Monitored By  We currently track volunteer hours using self-reporting methods (sign-in cards).  The newly created position of Assistant Shelter Director is charged with creating a more cohesive and structured Volunteer Program, including tools for assessing volunteer engagement and satisfaction.
Examples of Program Success 
We continue to receive a steady stream of volunteer applications.  We have successfully increased our morning cleaning volunteer crew to include at least two volunteers most mornings.  Our goals is to have three volunteers in the morning on all days; two represents an increase over the number of volunteers we had weekday mornings just 5 months ago before  the Assistant Director started. 
We have successfully staffed tables at three different Petco stores during their monthly adoption weekends nearly every month for the past 18 months.  
Several of our very shy cats -- cats who would hide when people came in to the room -- have benefited from daily, structured socialization by one of our trained volunteers.  They spent 7 months scared and shy but after two months of regular social interactions with a volunteer they welcome attention from people and purr when petted. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Deborah Schreiber
CEO Term Start Oct 2009
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience
Attorney specializing in animal welfare issues
Professor of law at Bentley University
Many years of feral cat colony care and trap-neuter-return of feral cats for Cat Connection in and around Waltham, MA.
Community Liaison with Waltham Police Dept. for Cat Connection
Community presentations related to stray and feral cat issues. 
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


  • Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC) - Member of state-wide animal welfare networking and action-oriented coalition
  • Animal Rescue League of Boston - Transfer of cats from their facility to ours if deemed not highly adoptable in their environment
  • MSPCA - Transfer of cats from their facility to ours if deemed not highly adoptable in their environment
  • Charles River Alleycats - Intake of cats they have rescued from the street who are deemed "stray" (versus feral) and adoptable but for whom CRA does not have a foster placement available.
  • Independent cat trappers and rescuers - Intake of cats they have rescued from the street who are deemed "stray" (versus feral) and adoptable
  • Bay Cove Academy, Perkins School for the Blind, Carroll Center for the Blind, BeaverBrook STEP - program to have students and clients volunteer at the Shelter to learn job skills.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 50
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 2
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

General Property Coverage
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair MS. Lisa L Sacchetti
Board Chair Company Affiliation No Affiliation
Board Chair Term Nov 2010 - Nov 2012
Board Co-Chair Ms Ann M Gurka
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation No Affiliation
Board Co-Chair Term Nov 2010 - Nov 2012

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Jennifer Fleming community volunteer Voting
Rachel Geller community volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 0%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $318,550.00
Projected Expense $297,750.00
Form 990s

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

2008 990

Audit Documents

2015 Financial Statement

2014 Financial Statement

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $266,141 $266,359 $224,330
Total Expenses $297,326 $358,113 $286,739

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $0 $0 $0
Individual Contributions $258,306 $233,387 $176,847
Indirect Public Support $0 $0 $0
Earned Revenue $9,575 $12,000 $12,066
Investment Income, Net of Losses $14,268 $20,972 $35,417
Membership Dues $0 $0 $0
Special Events $0 $0 $0
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $-16,008 $0 $0

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $270,608 $332,608 $266,547
Administration Expense $26,718 $25,505 $20,192
Fundraising Expense $0 $0 $0
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.90 0.74 0.78
Program Expense/Total Expenses 91% 93% 93%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $823,331 $852,441 $945,736
Current Assets $169,127 $184,611 $92,331
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $13,071 $10,997 $12,538
Total Net Assets $810,260 $841,444 $933,198

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 18.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 12.94 16.79 7.36

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Gifford Cat Shelter has faced some financial challenges in recent years.  In 2008-2009, the main shelter building (which was an original 1880's structure) had to be entirely replaced.  Since this was not expected, the Board of Directors felt that there was not adequate time to conduct a capital campaign.  The goal was to cut back on services (admitting homeless cats) for as brief a period as possible during the construction.
The building was partly financed through a grant.  The remainder of the expenses were met through use of reserve fund money.  At the same time, market losses depleted the reserve fund.
Since opening the new building in the fall of 2009, fundraising efforts have increased each year in an attempt to continue to serve the homeless cat population and begin to replenish our reserve fund.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS 990s. Contributions from Foundation and Corporations are included under Individuals when the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?