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Boston Celebrations, Inc. (First Night Inc.)

 1 Design Center Place, Suite 718
 Boston, MA 02210
[P] (617) 439-7700
[F] (617) 439-7701
www.firstnightboston.org
[email protected]
Nicole Francoeur
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INCORPORATED: 1976
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2609422

LAST UPDATED: 05/25/2017
Organization DBA Boston Celebrations
Boston Harborfest
Former Names First Night, Inc. (2015)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

Boston Celebrations, Inc. celebrates Boston's rich diversity of culture, art and maritime history through two major citywide festivals that focus on community engagement: First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest in order to foster community relations, economic development and provide safe, family friendly activities to celebrate two major holidays: New Year's and Independence Day.

Mission Statement

Boston Celebrations, Inc. celebrates Boston's rich diversity of culture, art and maritime history through two major citywide festivals that focus on community engagement: First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest in order to foster community relations, economic development and provide safe, family friendly activities to celebrate two major holidays: New Year's and Independence Day.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Apr 01, 2017 to Mar 31, 2018
Projected Income $450,000.00
Projected Expense $450,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Boston Harborfest
  • First Night First Day

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.


Overview

Mission Statement

Boston Celebrations, Inc. celebrates Boston's rich diversity of culture, art and maritime history through two major citywide festivals that focus on community engagement: First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest in order to foster community relations, economic development and provide safe, family friendly activities to celebrate two major holidays: New Year's and Independence Day.

Background Statement

Boston Celebrations is a private nonprofit organization that produces the largest New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July celebrations of the arts in North America. 

First Night was established in 1976 by a group of Boston artists and community residents who sought an alternative to traditional New Year’s Eve revelry. Since that time, First Night has grown from a small event on the Boston Common to a citywide festival concentrated in Copley Square with special events around the city. With its 40th Anniversary, First Night introduced First Day to continue the celebration of the New Year. Over the years, this unique concept has served as the model for nearly 200 similar arts festivals conducted around the world.
 
Boston Harborfest is the nation's largest Independence day Celebration, taking over the city of Boston for 3-5 days at a time. Celebrating Boston's important history and maritime heritage, Harborfest invites residents and tourists alike to enjoy family-friendly activities in nearly all of Boston's most historical landmarks. Marking it's 36th Anniversary, First Night, Inc. is expanding Harborfest's footprint with the addition of an arts festival, restaurant tasting and live entertainment.
 
In the course of its 40-year history, Boston Celebrations, formerly First Night, Inc., has showcased the substance and breadth of Boston’s cultural community through a wide range of high-quality activities and events for children, families, and diverse people of all ages. With a long-standing commitment to building community and celebrating diversity, First Night, Inc. showcases the arts as a catalyst for unifying people through creativity, imagination, and participation. First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest provide colorful and engaging programs that are uniquely accessible to people of all socio-economic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and abilities, while promoting awareness and understanding of Boston’s considerable artistic resources and rich traditions.

Impact Statement

Boston Celebrations has had major success in the past year building a stronger foundation on which to do business. Boston Celebrations has reignited citywide appeal for beloved traditions by promoting, planning, and most importantly funding First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest. Primary accomplishments include:
  • First Night First Day's celebration of Boston's 40th anniversary of the New Year's Eve celebration while introducing an additional day of family-friendly activities. With over 300,000 attendees throughout the 2-day celebration, First Night was able to gain the positive attention it needed to become the leading New Year's celebration in New England;
  • Carrying on the nation's largest Fourth of July Celebration by welcoming a naval ship and its crew to the city while providing diverse visual and musical art activities for people of all ages, hosting over 15,000 people in Christopher Columbus Park–one of the largest crowds this park has seen;
  • Integrating two of Boston's largest festivals by restructuring finances, board members and organization patterns; and
  • Eliminating a fee for participants by granting free access to the public to all of the activities carried out solely through Boston Celebration's initiatives.
  • With the restructured business model, Boston Celebrations has a better opportunity to report information and plan on a long-term scale the survival of the annual celebrations First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest. Major goals for the upcoming year include:
  • Growing in scale the size of the festivals while creating a central location for the highlighted activities. This will provide a cohesion to the events and allow for recognizable progress;
  • Attributing to the economic development of the city as a major tourist destination;
  • Building relationships with civic and neighborhood partners to promote Boston's well-being and sense of community; and
  • Continuing to keep these festivals open to the public by generating enough funds to cover overhead costs and support of the many talented artists involved.

Needs Statement

With a passion to restore Boston's decades-old traditions, Boston Celebrations will work diligently to ensure:
  • Financial stability, empowering us to acquire the necessary resources to accomplish ambitious goals in a timely and efficient manner;
  • A larger base of individual contributors to total $500,000 for each festival, including more major donors, who are invested in the mission of Boston Celebrations to build community and celebrate diversity through the arts;
  • An ever-stronger brand and reputation for presenting world-class annual festivals anchored by prominent and well-regarded artists playing in top-notch venues at surprisingly affordable prices; and an equally strong reputation for our commitment to community and accessibility by the broadest range of audiences possible;
  • Improved systems for attracting new audiences through a variety of entertainment and activities that span the interests of Boston's residents and visitors; and
  • More significant support from stakeholders in the business community, including hotels, restaurants, and stores that understand the economic impact of our festival on the city.

CEO Statement

Boston Celebration's strength lies in its flexibility and resources to act on opportunities as they become available. We have taken important steps to ensure a place for First Night on the cultural landscape of Boston for many years to come. The power of our organization is reflected in the strong reputation we enjoy in the community and in the steady appreciation of our work as expressed by all our partners and constituents. We remain in this position because we have taken a long-term view and kept focus on our operations, costs, and productivity which are evaluated at regular intervals.
 
Everyone associated with First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest is proud of the work we have accomplished. Our new income generating initiatives offer promise for the future. The board and staff of Boston Celebrations remain committed to exploring innovative approaches to generate the income necessary to present creative programming in prominent venues for diverse audiences for traditions that have become signature events in Boston.

Board Chair Statement

 First Night and Boston Harborfest hold decades of tradition with the coming of the 2017-year. The beloved celebrations desperately needed support for their virtually nonexistent financial and business foundations. This was the perfect opportunity for new management to step in and give the festivals the support and attention they needed to grow back into the city’s major family-friendly and tourist attractions. The opportunity for these festivals is abundant as they openly display bordering neighborhoods’ local talent generating millions of dollars in sales for local businesses. Boston Celebrations recognizes that these two festivals not only create the equivalent of over 700 jobs, they also encourage the community to come and work together for the good of society. The divers culture and wide array of activities ensures that people of all ages, ethnicities, genders and socioeconomic status have the ability to attend and participate in the primarily free events in the heart of this flourishing city.

 


Geographic Area Served

Greater Boston Region-All Neighborhoods

Boston Celebrations draws its audiences from every neighborhood of Boston, surrounding cites and towns, the Commonwealth, and neighboring states. Widely regarded for its unique programming, First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest also regularly host domestic and international visitors who have made these annual festivals a destination. Boston Celebrations has recently aimed to focus talent recruitment on local artists from the inner-city areas and surrounding communities, while occasionally hosting out-of-state talent when donated.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Community Celebrations
  2. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Urban & Community Economic Development
  3. -

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

No

Programs

Boston Harborfest

Boston Harborfest brings together local historical and tourism attractions during the weekend celebration of Independence Day. Partners offer special rates and events, promoted through Boston Harborfest while free family-friendly signature programming takes place in Christopher Columbus Park.
 
Faneuil Hall kicks off the weekend's events on Friday with the Opening Ceremonies, including live music, guest speakers and a Harborfest cake. 
Saturday of Independence Day weekend hosts the Arts at Harborfest during the daylight hours, a juried preview of the Boston Arts Festival. Live entertainment plays in cohesion with the arts festival in the park as vendors and partners set up activities for attendees. An evening concert on Saturday night attracts crowds for the culmination of fireworks over the Boston Harbor.
 
The Sunday of Harborfest weekend invites local restaurants to sell and sample food to attendees during Taste of Harborfest on Christopher Columbus Park. All restaurants are encouraged to sample chowder for the Chowder Contest, judged by attendees who taste their creations. 
Budget  $500,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Artists-in-Residence
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 
Each year, about 1,500 young people are engaged at community-based sites to develop performances and exhibitions, from concept to finished product, under the guidance of professional artist educators. The original work produced in these programs is presented in the neighborhoods where it is created and at the citywide celebration on New Year’s Eve.
Program Long-Term Success 
In addition to fostering appreciation for the arts, this creative process teaches young people the value of teamwork and self-discipline while increasing self-confidence and inspiring self-expression. Focusing on themes that reflect Boston’s diversity, these projects also promote cross-cultural understanding through meaningful teamwork activities that build community pride. In turn, participation on New Year’s Eve unites young people from different communities through the sharing of their collective work in a citywide celebration.
Program Success Monitored By 

Evaluation forms are completed by the young participants, the staffs of the participating community organizations, and the artist/educators. Site visits are made to all programs by the First Night Neighborhood Manager so that feedback can be gathered and progress monitored. Key indicators of success include the overall satisfaction of those served and continuing demand for the program from community organizations. 

Examples of Program Success 
Notable programs culminating at our festival on 12/31/11 included:
  • Chinese Dance/Martial Arts: 40 children and teens worked under the direction of Chinatown artist Chu Ling to create and present a mix of contemporary and traditional dances fused with the martial arts.
  • Over the Horizon: More than 350 young people from Roslindale, the North End, and Charlestown worked with artists/teachers from the Puppeteer’s Cooperative to create larger than life puppets which they showed-off during our Grand Procession.
  • First Night Drum Central: 45 young percussionists from the  Somerville and Roxbury collaborated with master teachers of IntaAfrika and Grooversity to deliver an Afro-Brazilian beat that had audiences dancing the night away.
  • OrigiNation and the O’Shea Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance: 40 girls from two very different companies danced together in one of First Night’s signature pairings, showcasing explosive cross-cultural dancing.

First Night First Day

First Night First Day is a two-day New Year's Celebration. This free family-friendly festival takes over Copley Square and its immediate surroundings as live stage entertainment that highlights Boston's culture and diversity perform both indoors and outdoors. Ice sculptures, street performers and vendors around Copley Square attract attention of all ages. The People's Procession from Copley Square to Boston Common parades local flare and color down Boylston Street, inviting the crowds to join and take their place for the 7pm Family Fireworks on Boston Common. Copley Square reignites after the fireworks in an evening concert, combined with a light and laser show all culminating in the Countdown on Copley with pyrotechnics off of the Fairmont Copley Hotel.
Budget  $600,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Celebratory Events
Population Served Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
more participation by more diverse audiences across the spectrum
Program Long-Term Success 
Through the annual New Year's Eve Festival, Boston will become world-renowned for its celebration of  the arts, community, and diversity which in turn will positively impact our city's year-round reputation for innovation and inclusiveness, benefitting all stakeholders, including all citizens, civic leaders, and businesses.
Program Success Monitored By  First Night measures its success using qualitative and quantitative information gathered both formally and informally. Key indicators of programmatic success include the overall satisfaction of those served, including audiences and artists as well as community, cultural, and business partners. Throughout the year, at regular intervals, First Night monitors its progress in reaching goals and revises its strategies as necessary.

 

Examples of Program Success 
December 31, 2011 marked our 36th annual Festival in Boston. The day-long event attracted one million people of all ages who came out to see five colossal ice scultures, a Mardi-Gras Style Grand Procession, stunning fireworks, and 200 performances/activities in 35 venues. Highlights included:
  • Acclaimed monologist MIKE DAISEY performed a New Year’s themed piece created especially for First Night at the Huntington Theatre: http://tinyurl.com/6uqvuuv

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Each year, there is an increase in the number of requests from neighborhood-based organizations seeking support from Boston Celebrations for cultural programs that will serve their communities and link them to artists and other resources as well as their peers working at various sites around the city. Boston Celebrations is proud of the unique role it plays in opening doors so that our audiences may truly reflect the diversity of this great city. We remain strongly committed to our partners and neighborhoods, and we will continue to capitalize on the long-standing relationships developed with community-based partners.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Dusty Rhodes
CEO Term Start Jan 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Fresh from a stint as the only female general manager in professional football (the WFL’s Charlotte Hornets and the New York Stars), Dusty created one of the first companies of its kind in the country—Conventures. Her ability to marry big picture strategies with critical small detail planning took clients into new territory.

Dusty, having been a keen and competitive athlete, brought her natural leadership ability to bear in this fledgling industry. Building her core philosophy around the concept of “team work,” she and her Conventures team proceeded to educate New England’s companies and institutions about the potential of special events to achieve business and fund raising objectives.
The invitation to her first event provided only latitude and longitude for location. Her creation of “Tribute Dinners” for non-profits became an industry standard. Conventures was one of the first to use live and silent auctions as a fund raising mechanism. Dusty capitalized on the fledgling pastime of running in the mid 70s and built the largest women’s running event in the United States—the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women, now in its 40th year. The three Tall Ship festivals (Sail Boston 1992, 2000 and 2009) that Conventures coordinated rank among the largest public celebrations in New England’s history.
Over 40 years and more than 5,000 events later, Conventures has earned its reputation as New England’s leading special events company through innovation, knowledge of the community and total commitment to doing the job first class.

 

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms. Liz Thompson -- --
Ms. Geri Guardino Oct 1997 --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Mr. David Balfour Director of Special Projects --
Ms. Hanna Demirjian AssistantAccount Coordinator --
Ms. Nicole Francoeur Account Manager --
Mr. Tony Nunziante Director of International Projects --
Ms. Robin Riebel Public Relations Senior Council --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

Collaboration with a broad range of partners is key to First Night’s success in presenting and promoting programs as well as attracting and engaging diverse audiences. Among the lynchpins so crucial to our annual planning are the significant in-kind contributions made by the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority,  media sponsors like WBZ-TV, and our hotel partners.
 
In addition, our cultural partners play an important role, providing opportunities for First Night to offer its button holders free or discounted admissions to local museums, theatres, and other performance and exhibition venues. In this way, First Night augments its festival activities and creates ways for local cultural organizations to highlight their own programs and develop new audiences. These benefits to button buyers often extend beyond the First Night event itself with some partners offering special deals from early December through March. Recent Cultural Partners include The American Repertory Theatre, The Children’s Museum, The Huntington Theatre, The Institute of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Science, and New England Conservatory to name just a few.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Boston Celebrations has the potential to carry on and set the standard for long term traditional city festivals. With their rich histories and mission to support local artists, First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest give families and attendees a safe place to celebrate two major national holidays. In order to preserve these festivals, Boston Celebrations needs the support of foundations and the civic community to:
  • Ensure artists get the recognition they deserve,
  • Families have a chance to celebrate in a safe environment, and
  • The events can continue contributing to tourism and economic development.

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 5
Number of Part Time Staff 15
Number of Volunteers 100
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 18
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 1
Gender Female: 12
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

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

Risk Management Provisions

--

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

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Thomas Kershaw
Board Chair Company Affiliation Hampshire House
Board Chair Term June 2016 - June 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. David Colella Colonnade Hotel Voting
Ms. Catherine Doran Greater Boston Vistitors and Convention Bureau Voting
Mr. Thomas Kershaw Hampshire House Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Zeren Earls Retired NonVoting
Mr. Donald Stanton Morgan Stanley Exofficio
Mr. Edwin Tiffany CambridgeSoft Corporation Exofficio
Ms. Joan Tiffany International Honors Program Exofficio
Ms. Clara Wainwright Retired Exofficio

Board 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): 0
Gender Female: 1
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 82%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 73%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Executive
  • Marketing
  • Nominating
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In 2008, First Night completed the implementation of a strategic plan that had been developed with the Technical Development Association (TDC). As outlined, we worked successfully to create a new financial model, emphasizing income from individual contributions and button revenues while de-emphasizing reliance on support from foundation, corporate, and government sources. Complementary marketing and development strategies were developed to achieve our goals. Over three years, First Night made significant progress in finding more fiscal balance and in building a much needed reserve for the first time in the organization’s history.

 

Building on the successes of that plan, our board and staff quickly reassessed First Night’s position in light of a changing economy and created a new roadmap to navigate the organization through Fiscal year 2012 (ending 3/31/12). At the center of the plan was the formal launching of two new earned-income initiatives (First Night USA and First Night Productions) designed to build more capacity and generate income that would protect First Night from financial uncertainties and an unpredictable economy. Simultaneously, the plan called for us to revitalize and right-size First Night programming in response to changing audience habits and declining button sales.
 
It’s time for a new plan. FY13 begins on April 1, and we need a roadmap that will guide our way to FY16. The First Night board has identified the collection of data/demographics as a priority, and a subset of its members are currently developing systems and coordinating the collection of meaningful data that will feed a spring/summer planning process. 

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Apr 01, 2017 to Mar 31, 2018
Projected Income $450,000.00
Projected Expense $450,000.00
Form 990s

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

2008 Form 990

Audit Documents

2012 Audit

2011 Audit

2010 Audit

2009 Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $1 $72,037 $844,823
Total Expenses $79,637 $143,936 $921,625

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- $15,654 $357,924
Government Contributions $0 $38,640 $20,000
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $38,640 $20,000
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- $428,406
Investment Income, Net of Losses $1 $17,743 $33,833
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- $4,660

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $74,534 $80,088 $752,545
Administration Expense $5,103 $19,156 $41,740
Fundraising Expense $0 $44,692 $127,340
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.00 0.50 0.92
Program Expense/Total Expenses 94% 56% 82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 82% 34%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $12,983 $92,619 $202,068
Current Assets $12,983 $18,085 $123,763
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $37,550
Total Net Assets $12,983 $92,619 $164,518

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 Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

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? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- -- 3.30

Long Term Solvency

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

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Boston Celebrations has the potential to carry on and sustain long term traditional city festivals. First Night First Day and Boston Harborfest give families and attendees a place to celebrate safely. Corporate sponsorships and foundation grants are the sole funding of these festivities which help to:
  • Bring attention to local culture and artists,
  • Provide a safe and responsible environment for people of all ages to celebrate, and
  • Strengthen community relations to advance the city's economic development.
Fundraising is one of the priority of Boston Celebrations. With the guaranteed support of local businesses and foundations, our efforts can be focused on artist acquisition and enhancing attendee experience.
 

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Please note, after ceasing operations in 2013, First Night Inc. relaunched, under the new name Boston Celebrations Inc. in 2016

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

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?

Boston Celebration's long-term goal is to create greater national and international awareness of the two major festivals, becoming a repeated destination spot for local families and travelers alike. Within the next three to five years, First Night and Boston Harborfest plan to attract the attention of corporate and government contributions, as well as the desire for more artists to participate in the festival and share their talents. As our festivals continue to grow, we plan to host talent in high demand to gain prominence as national and international celebrations. 
 
Boston Celebrations hopes to contribute to three major areas of interest by offering citywide festivals:
  1. An increase in the cultural awareness of the city through a diverse array of arts and humanities;
  2. Improve community relations throughout the city by bringing together businesses and members of the community;
  3. Improve economic development as the festivals become major tourist destinations. 
 By offering a variety of locations and activities, Boston Celebrations will be able to highlight various cultural groups around the city to bring about awareness and learning opportunities of the diversity in the immediate community as well as its international relationships. The continued and broadened participation of these groups will attribute to long-term success and can be measured both through the groups' and attendees experience as well as the increased numbers of groups and attendees.
 
 In additino to highlighting Boston's diversity, Boston Celebrations also plans to increase awareness and participation of local businesses. With the participation of local businesses in the festivals, the city can reach a greater sense of community. Recurring participation of these businesses along with their ideas and willingness to propel the festivals' growth will help to evaluate the long-term success of community cohesion. 
 
Bringing together different cultural groups and businesses to work together will lead to more than a festival to help propel tourism, it will create a city devoted to the community's economic development. First Night and Harborfest will become anchor celebrations that remind the community how working together and building a community devoted to the same goals can help propel the economy forward. 
 
Ultimately, success will be determined by growth and quality of activities. As the activities are broadened and bettered, more people visitors will attend the celebrations. A festival with continued improvement and size can lead to a stable pattern of these celebrations, which businesses, artists and attendees can always count on.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

In order to achieve our long term goal of enlarging the festivals to highlight diversity and culture, strengthen community relations and contribute to Boston's economic development, Boston Celebrations will continue to build relationships with all parties involved in the planning and executing process. 
 
Key stakeholders are an important party for First Night and Boston Celebrations. Our stakeholders are the primary funding partners in the events. Building and adding to these relationships can help generate more funds that will secure additional space and entertainment. With more entertainment at a higher quality, Boston Celebrations can more broadly feature the city's cultures as well as attract a diverse range of audience that will increase attendance rates. With constant communication to the stakeholders, our team can gain important feedback about what the donors want to see and do at the event as well as see how their contributions are impacting the community groups.
 
Building relationships with the arts communities will also contribute to the success of the festivals, as they can continuously recommend talent that will draw crowds and give the festivals higher profiles. With new artists constantly emerging, Boston Celebrations can offer opportunities for them to advance their careers, which will reflect the positive influence the festivals have on all parties involved.
 
Drawing quality talent is a major factor of creating a successful running event. It works with all aspects of the event, as the stakeholders are needed to compensate the artists and the artists are a main attraction for attendees and news coverage. Big names will draw attention form major media outlets, who we will work with to promote and cover the events. Their coverage will draw a larger audience from outside local areas, helping to stimulate these festivals as tourist destinations. As more people attend the events, all artists involved will have a larger audience, thus increasing their outreach in the community.
 
The increase in tourism is a driving factor for local businesses to participate in the festivals by offering specials or other activities First Night and Harborfest can promote. As more businesses join in the festivities, the community will grow stronger, working together for the common goal of increasing the city's economic development. More participants will contribute to the growth of offerings to attendees, becoming yet another attractive feature to draw crowds into the city.
 
With businesses, stakeholders, vendors, media outlets, artists and attendees celebrating together, a stronger sense of community can develop throughout all participants. This kind of environment can be enticing year after year, making First Night and Harborfest destinations year after year. Relationships with each of these parties have already been made. Boston Celebrations plans to continue and grow them to help the one term success of the festivals.

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

Boston Celebrations has a team of 8 employees that work on these festivals full-time and an additional 15 people to help manage on-site activities. With volunteers to support our efforts, Boston Celebrations has many hands devoted to the success of the events. Managed by one of the top event planning companies in New England, Conventures, Inc., Boston Celebrations operates solely as a 501(c)(3) with the connections of a well-known and respected corporation. Boston Celebrations has greatly reduced the budget of the festivals due to their over extravagance before new management, but plans to regain the awareness and support to grow into prime national festivals. 
 
The current support of the City of Boston and the Mayor's Office has given Boston Celebrations a credible  source to derive most of the positive relationships we have made. Relationships with preferred vendors have already been established. Knowing that many of these vendors work together on other events, their relationships with each other as well as with our employees has already shown significant progress in the setup, management and breakdown of their respective concentrations. This has given our staff more quality time to build relationships with artists, stakeholders, and particularly media outlets.
 
First Night First Day 2017 was the first year in which the foundation of live coverage for the festival was formed. NBC Boston partnered with Boston Celebrations to promote and air the festival, providing the start to a media relationship that can propel First Night and Harborfest forward with its outreach. In conjunction with our internal PR team, promotion and coverage of the event is gaining more traction each year.
 
The social media platforms for First Night and Harborfest have grown exponentially with the addition of full-time staff generating both paid campaigns and organic content. This attention to detail has brought attention to the events in that respect, more than doubling followers for the events. With the continued activation of these sites year-round, Boston Celebrations can retain its audience more easily and keep them informed of major event highlights.

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

Progress and success of Boston Celebrations will ultimately depend on the size of the event both with participants and attendees. More attendees at First Night and Harborfest will be received as positive feedback that those attending enjoy the event and want to return. With more attendees, we can plan to have more available space for performances, and, in turn, more artists and activities to contribute to the festivals. Sponsors can guarantee more eyes on their brand, thus creating more awareness of their contributions to the community.
 
Boston Celebrations also always looks for feedback from those involves in order to better the events in the future. Through surveys, social media posts and direct correspondence, Boston Celebrations collects reviews from vendors, artists, attendees, businesses, stakeholders and internal staff members. Each of these responses are taken into consideration during the planning process for the next festival to ensure we are pleasing as many people as possible. 
 
Reviews have led us to reinstate a chowder competition during Harborfest as well as bring back more indoor activities to First Night. As we continue to refine the activities at these festivals based on business and attendee feedback, we restructure the events a little at a time for more positive attention.
 
Other measures of progress come from businesses and partners that participate in the festivals.  For instance, a Harborfest partner in 2016 and was able to give out 30,000 bananas to promote its service, calling it a raging success. Additionally, the Boston Public Library saw the largest crowds in its known history during First Night 2017 as it was a popular indoor destination for entertainment. We are seeing growth in these festivals each year, which is attracting more businesses to participate.
 
As we continue to refine and grow the festivals, we plan to attract more businesses to contribute to the community development. With statistics from these businesses, we will be able to more accurately track progress from year to year.
 
Progress is also tracked through press coverage. Boston Celebrations tracks the range of reviews in all outlets, taking into consideration all of the compliments and complaints. The amount of coverage is also an indicator of progress, one that we have already seen pick up within one year. Relationships with various media outlets have led to broader promotion as well as event coverage. As this continues to grow, progress will be measured by the amount of stories as well as the tone of the stories.

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

Despite only managing these festivals for just a few years, Boston Celebrations has received a wide audience with multiple interests. Within one year of hosting First Night First Day, we were able to expand our footprint from all outdoor activities to over 6 indoor spaces solely dedicated to entertainment. This brought out larger crowds than expected, requiring us to refocus our crowd control and venue management. This is clear progress towards growing the event and showcasing Boston's cultural and artistic diversity. With all talent coming from the Greater Boston Area, many artists were able to perform in front of some of the largest crowds they've known. Many received positive attention through our media partners, giving their musical careers heightened attention.
 
Other participants that have benefited from these festivals are the local partners and businesses involved in joint promotion. During Harborfest, most activities are hosted by Boston's historical and tourist sites. Was they all come together to promote the nation's Independence, we have seen a great sense of community strengthen under Boston Celebration's management. With regular meetings to keep partners informed and brainstorm ideas,  business leaders have supported many initiatives outside of the festival to continue tourism and economic development in the city. Boston Celebrations would like to continue this trend by inviting more businesses to become a part of the celebration and benefit form the strong community forming. 
 
One of the main observations Boston Celebrations has noticed for immediate success is the centralization of activities. In previous years, First Night and Harborfest took over the city with no set location to start or end. Within the first year of managing the festivals, Boston Celebrations has found great success by setting a location for each event: Copley Square for First Night and Christopher Columbus Park for Harborfest. With these centralized locations, attendees are able to find a source of information as well as start and end their days at the same location for a sense of cohesion. By setting a predetermined location, we are able to more accurately monitor attendance at each event, able to see its growth over the years. Copley Square and Christopher Columbus Park have seen some of the largest crowds in their histories, and it is only expected to grow.
 
Despite the increased number of attendees, Boston Celebrations still plans to keep these festivals free and open to the public. This has been the most significant challenge, as creating an environment to host so many people has become increasingly difficult to keep within budget. Recruiting and retaining sponsors is a major focus of the fundraising committee, as this is the primary source of funding for these events. Boston Celebrations continues to look at solutions, including donation sweepstakes for attendees to contribute for a change to win exclusive experiences and memorabilia.  
 
Our team continues to brainstorm ways to keep up with the demand of the audiences, particularly towards entertainment (fireworks, ice sculptures, stage entertainment and street performers) with its limited budget. With participation from more partners and stakeholders, community relationships will foster and make positive contribution to these growing events.