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Lynn Economic Opportunity Inc.

 156 Broad Street
 Lynn, MA 01901
[P] (781) 581-7220
[F] (781) 596-8297
Lisa McFadden
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2378885

LAST UPDATED: 08/20/2018
Organization DBA LEO; LEO, Inc.
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Lynn Economic Opportunity (LEO) works to alleviate the immediate impact of poverty while providing pathways toward financial security for individuals, families, and for the strength of the greater community of Lynn, Massachusetts and its neighboring towns.

Mission Statement

Lynn Economic Opportunity (LEO) works to alleviate the immediate impact of poverty while providing pathways toward financial security for individuals, families, and for the strength of the greater community of Lynn, Massachusetts and its neighboring towns.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2017 to Sept 30, 2018
Projected Income $11,747,325.00
Projected Expense $11,636,836.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Early Child Care Birth-to-Five (Head Start)

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

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


Mission Statement

Lynn Economic Opportunity (LEO) works to alleviate the immediate impact of poverty while providing pathways toward financial security for individuals, families, and for the strength of the greater community of Lynn, Massachusetts and its neighboring towns.

Background Statement

An anti-poverty agency, LEO, Inc. works to alleviate the immediate impact of poverty while providing pathways to financial stability for individuals, families, and for the strength of the greater community of Lynn and its neighboring towns. Since 1965, LEO has been a provider of Head Start early education and care. We use a two-generation approach to develop children's preparedness for lifelong learning by also building the skills and resources of their parents.We leverage our own internal programs as a Community Action Agency to provide comprehensive family case management and access to low-income fuel assistance or home weatherization and conservation, while partnering externally to facilitate client access to additional community services to provide a comprehensive, stabilizing approach to the crisis of poverty. A breadth of health, education, literacy, and career programming for family well-being and self-sufficiency is offered for parents of children enrolled in care for birth through age twelve, or for women who are pregnant.Over fifty years, LEO has grown to serve approximately 8,000 people a year and operates four child care sites and home-based early education services. We do not shy away from difficult cases. We prioritize the enrollment of children experiencing homelessness, in foster care, or who have disabilities or parents with disabilities.Our fuel and weatherization programs also prioritize those with the most urgent and complex needs. We are committed to be part of city-wide partnerships and solution-making dialogue and planning to address the driving factors behind poverty to create pathways to opportunity for everyone.

Impact Statement

LEO is proud of its recent efforts to strengthen and expand its network of partnerships to offer a more comprehensive and sustainable approach to combat each unique situation of poverty. Beyond the $1 million of in-kind services and materials provided to Head Start classrooms and children and families, partnerships this year were established within a city-wide framework, to think across organizations to enhance each other's efforts: to work toward measurable increases in income and education levels, and civic engagement in the poorest section of Lynn, MA. Our partners range from Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development to the Lynn Police, to North Shore Community College, etc.
Other accomplishments:
92% of children concluding Head Start and entering kindergarten were assessed as socially and emotionally prepared to attend
90% of children concluding Head Start and entering kindergarten were assessed with proficient English Language Development for school preparedness.
Piloted a new mental health support group for parents with children with emotional and behavioral challenges, and co-current playgroups for those children, each led by licensed social workers.
Transitioned to new internal software for more comprehensive data review of client services across departments, which can be expanded to review available and accessed services across external agencies over the next several years of roll-out.
Established an intermediate level English class for parents, added to the current introductory and level 1 courses.

Needs Statement

Currently, our top needs include:
Additional mental health services for parents and children
New HVAC system to control temperature and reduce energy use, repair costs and other capital expenses to fix deferred maintenance issues
STEM kits for early education intro to scientific thinking
Operating support to increase the wages of early childhood educators and bridge early education budget gaps

CEO Statement

I'm pleased to share that our recent Quality Rating Information System (QRIS) review from the MA Dept of Early Education and Care earned LEO's  preschool site on Commercial Street in Lynn a Level 3: a level that has been earned by just 5.7% of child care centers across Massachusetts, and less than 3% of child care centers in our region of Massachusetts. We're proud to provide the lowest income families a chance at success by providing comprehensive developmental care to their children, and skills and resources to parents to further their opportunities for financial stability.

Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

Areas are determined by federal and state contracted grant catchment areas for services to people with low incomes. Includes Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus, Swampscott, Wakefield. About 90% of our clients are from Lynn, MA.

Organization Categories

  1. Public & Societal Benefit - Public & Societal Benefit NEC
  2. Human Services -
  3. -

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



Early Child Care Birth-to-Five (Head Start)

Low-income full-day center based child care; partial-day center based child care; weekly home visit care provided. Children are prepared for kindergarten socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively, while a two-generation approach includes investment in the skills and resources of parents (health/nutrition education, English language learning, parenting tips and mental health support, access to basic needs, etc.) Care is delivered at 4 age appropriate sites across Lynn, MA for birth-to-3, and 3-5 year olds. 90 staff members work in child care, including a team of 12 family service workers who case manage family goals and needs. 
Budget  $4,000,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families
Program Short-Term Success  By the end of the school year, 85% or more of 5 year olds will be age-appropriately ready in several developmental areas to participate in kindergarten, with parents who are ready to advocate for and provide for their children's future needs. 
Program Long-Term Success  Our vision is a community that is educated, engaged and economically secure. Family support services and early child education through the Head Start mission prepares children and their parents for long term success in school and life, improving their child's ability to reach their potential. Early measurements with tools endorsed by National Office of Head Start measure kindergarten readiness at age 5: cognitive, social, emotional, and physical. 
Program Success Monitored By  Family needs assessment questionnaires; classroom and individual observations; multiple observation and assessment tools used by Head Start educators twice and three-times yearly measure progress socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically. Parent/educator biweekly information meetings and phone calls inform child progress and needs. Nutrition/health team measures weight, height, monitors immunizations and doctor wellness visits, dental health, vision and hearing screenings. 
Examples of Program Success 
1) 85% of children birth-to-five were emotionally/socially on track developmentally by the end of academic year 2015-16, compared to just 71% at the beginning of the year. This is particularly profound given that 68% of children birth-to-three are also challenged by some type of diagnosed disability.
2) A parent who participated in positive parenting/coping skills group said that she could not manage her child's public tantrums, but now feels confident in how to address them, and that those incidents have reduced in number since her attendance in the group.
3.) More than 50 parents participate in intro level 1 and 2 English language learning classes last year, which inspired the addition of a level 3 course. 17 parents are enrolled in level 3 English in fall, 2016. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The largest problem belongs to not just LEO but to the whole community. Access to affordable early child care (or any early child care) does not meet the need of the community. Thousands of children are on waiting lists at LEO and other organizations which are all at capacity. Further, we are challenged by the national trend of low wages for the early child care industry. Federal and state funds allow for wages approx $11-$17 an hour depending on seniority and educational levels, but sadly do not recognize the intense amount of responsibility on the shoulders of the early child care staff. This leaves many positions often unfilled, or as staff earn higher education levels, they exit for better paying jobs. While we made a $90,000 investment in increases last year, they amount to little with 90 staff members employed in education. We are working hard to identify further opportunities to increase their wages.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Birgitta S Damon
CEO Term Start May 2014
CEO Email
CEO Experience --
Co-CEO Executive Officer, LEO, Inc.
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Lilian Romero Chief Program Officer --
Ms. Kristina Tecce Chief Fiscal Officer --


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
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - 5 Year Accreditation --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 120
Number of Part Time Staff 10
Number of Volunteers 30
Number of Contract Staff 8
Staff Retention Rate % 80%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 9
Asian American/Pacific Islander: --
Caucasian: 44
Hispanic/Latino: 52
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 13
Other (if specified): Two or more races
Gender Female: 102
Male: 18
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? No
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 Mr. James Higgs
Board Chair Company Affiliation Woodward & Higgs Insurance, Inc.
Board Chair Term Dec 2015 - Dec 2018
Board Co-Chair Atty. James J Carrigan
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation James Carrigan, Attorney
Board Co-Chair Term Dec 2015 - Dec 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. John Augeri DTA Voting
Mr. Marion Canizaro My Brother's Table Voting
Mr. James Carrigan James Carrigan, Attorney Voting
Mrs. Marilyn Foster North Shore Career Center Voting
Mr. James Higgs Woodward & Higgs Insurance Voting
Mrs. Frances Kellogg-Troutman Catholic Charities Voting
Mr. Jim Low Bridgewell Voting
Mr. Jay McManus Esq. Children's Law Center of Massachusetts Voting
Ms. Diane Perez Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Joyce Reen Lynn Community Health Center Voting
Ms. Kimberly Rowe-Cummings North Shore Career Center Voting
Pastor PoSan Ung Living Fields Voting
Ms. Thelma Velasquez 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: 1
Caucasian: 10
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 6
Male: 7
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 80%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Building
  • Executive
  • Finance

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2017 to Sept 30, 2018
Projected Income $11,747,325.00
Projected Expense $11,636,836.00
Form 990s

2017 990

2016 990

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

Audit Documents

2017 LEO Audit

2016 LEO Audit

2015 LEO Audit

2014 LEO Audit

2013 LEO Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $10,434,777 $10,397,884 $10,527,978
Total Expenses $10,093,030 $10,006,510 $9,978,714

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $9,958,282 $9,954,584 $9,949,460
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $9,958,282 $9,954,584 $9,949,460
Individual Contributions $185,632 $263,689 $222,587
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $250,263 $114,836 $320,518
Investment Income, Net of Losses $10,733 $7,065 $1,931
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $26,983 $47,156 --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $2,884 $10,554 $33,482

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $8,624,183 $9,006,624 $8,802,575
Administration Expense $1,468,847 $999,886 $1,176,139
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.03 1.04 1.06
Program Expense/Total Expenses 85% 90% 88%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $9,844,439 $9,218,776 $9,057,553
Current Assets $4,476,566 $3,617,001 $2,282,004
Long-Term Liabilities $1,752,636 $1,919,701 $2,803,298
Current Liabilities $1,215,686 $764,705 $846,025
Total Net Assets $6,876,117 $6,534,370 $5,408,230

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
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 Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 2.00

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 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 3.68 4.73 2.70

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 18% 21% 31%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Note: Over $6,000,000 is restricted as pass-through dollars for low income heating assistance, which goes directly to heating vendors on behalf of clients. This leaves a strict budget for early child care for Head Start and after school/summer care. With further private funding, we can be more innovative in how respond to immediate needs, using the most recent best practices and working across agencies with shared goals. State and federal grants are more cautious and can limit our abilities to expand and improve more quickly.  Additionally, LEO concluded its housing program in 2015, noting the serious drain on financials with limited positive outcomes for just a few clients. The new administrative team recognized that the houses with 45 units were in serious disrepair, a disservice to our clients. The properties were mostly sold to another nonprofit and clients continued to receive services from the other agency. The profits from the housing sales were used for emergency capital repairs to our main building at 156 Broad Street, which suffered from significant deferred maintenance. Remaining reserves will be used for other deferred maintenance and replacement of HVAC system, and we will work to maintain a two-month cash reserve as well.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

As noted in Note 1 to the combined financial statements, LEO Real Estate Services, Inc,'s operations were combined with Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc. effective on August 31, 2016 and LEO Real Estate Services, Inc. was dissolved. Please see Note 1 of the 2016 audited financial statement for more detail. 


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?

We aim to improve the education, community engagement and income levels of the lowest-income people in Lynn, beginning with access to basic needs including home heating and child care to stabilize the crises of poverty, and providing opportunities to build skills and resources toward financial stability. Currently, our goals include implementation of a multi-organization management/data system for expanded citywide partnerships for efficient collaboration and comprehensive delivery of a variety of social services to clients. We seek to enhance our investment in strengthening families through further data assessment and goals which measure multiple resources accessed according to family needs.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

A software system accessible from several organizations has been recently purchase to manage action plans toward shared goals and to evaluate shared data. We believe this will improve efficiency and the comprehensive approach to addressing poverty. Internally, our family service workers and social services team are receiving more professional development to deliver more impactful case management for families, with targeted events which address parents' indicated needs such as mental health, healthy cooking, stress management, additional English courses, etc. 

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?