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Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell

 At Hicks Farm, 124 Main Street
 Westford, MA 01886
[P] (978) 692-0927
[F] (978) 692-3430
Brenda Gould
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3123186

LAST UPDATED: 01/23/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell (HfHGL) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that works to strengthen families and communities by building and renovating simple, decent, safe, energy efficient and affordable homes. We work in partnership with corporations, like-minded community groups, faith-based organizations and individual volunteers.

Mission Statement

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell (HfHGL) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that works to strengthen families and communities by building and renovating simple, decent, safe, energy efficient and affordable homes. We work in partnership with corporations, like-minded community groups, faith-based organizations and individual volunteers.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2014 to June 30, 2015
Projected Income $1,580,917.00
Projected Expense $1,580,917.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Home Building
  • Veterans critical repairs

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

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


Mission Statement

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell (HfHGL) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that works to strengthen families and communities by building and renovating simple, decent, safe, energy efficient and affordable homes. We work in partnership with corporations, like-minded community groups, faith-based organizations and individual volunteers.

Background Statement

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell has been servicing 15 communities in the Greater Lowell area since 1991. Since its founding, HFHGL has built or renovated a total of 33 homes in 6 towns: Bedford, Billerica, Concord, Lowell, Reading, and Westford, Massachusetts. In addition, 14 homes have been repaired through our Critical Home Repair program which reaches out to our veterans, elderly and disabled. These homes have placed almost 200 men, women, and children into quality housing. An additional 57 homes have been built globally. We know that home ownership provides family and community stability. Data supports the claim of Ron Snider: “Few material things anchor a family more securely than homeownership. A house of one’s own provides security, stability and dignity, and it encourages responsibility, discourages transience and makes one a stakeholder in one’s community.” Habitat focuses on families who make between 25-60% of the area medium income. Our program provides a hand up not a hand out to families desiring homeownership but otherwise would not be able to afford one.

Impact Statement

HfHGL had 3 major accomplishments this past few years. First is our Carter Way project where we committed to build 8 single family homes in a culdesac in Bedford MA. With the help of many volunteers and through engaging a local technical school, we were able to complete and dedicate 4 more houses in FY 2012 with the 8th and final house dedicated in November 2012 (FY 2013). We now have 8 homes built with families living in them and a functioning home owners association. Completing this 8 home project and partnering with these families was a major accomplishment that we are all proud of. #2 was being chosen as a pilot affiliate for the critical repairs program for veterans. We started the program in FY 2012, getting our forms together, doing significant outreach into the communities working with veterans agents, councils on aging and several other civic groups. As a result, we qualified 25 veterans for the initial program and now, two years later, we have completed fourteen projects since 2012. The list has grown and with volunteers, we are striving to complete an additional 5-8 homes in 2015. The program concentrates on repairs such as roofing, insulation, handicap access etc in an effort to work with veterans to keep them safe and healthy in their homes. Like our building model, this is a "hand up , not hand out" program. We are very proud to be able to perform a service for our veterans. #3 was the start of our first neighborhood revitalization project in the Acre area of Lowell MA. We made a promise to build 10 new homes and improve other homes in the area. Since we broke ground in December of 2012, we have completed 6 of the 10 homes, placing 19 children in a safe, decent and affordable home. We will break ground on #7 and #8 in spring 2015 and we are well on our way to creating a neighborhood in this section of Lowell.  Starting in 2014, our 3 major goals were to  1) continue the transformation of a neighborhood in Lowell. Our 2nd goal was to make our ReStore initiative profitable so that we can support the building of 1-2 homes per year. We are well on our way with a projected profit of $45K this year and to date we are well ahead of budget.  Lastly, we have the goal to work in all 15 towns we serve by impacting at least one veteran through our critical repairs program. Now in 2015 we will complete a handicap accessible home on Friendship St Billerica, build a single family home on State St Tewksbury and start construction on a Duplex on Rock St Lowell.  We will also contintue with our Critical Home Repairs and Neighborhood Revitalization.


Needs Statement

Affordable Home Construction - $150,000
Critical Repair Program - $25,000
Capacity Building - $35,000
Advertising and ReStore Signage- $12,500
Fork Lift for ReStore- $7,500

CEO Statement

As a previous board member for 5 years and then before that, a volunteer for 2, I feel that I have come to know this organization very well. I've seen several changes in board members and management but one thing stays consistent as to why this organization is unique. The first is that it is not a hand out but a hand up. Habitat partner families are required to put in sweat equity of 450 hours for a dual income family and they work side by side with staff and volunteers to build their home. Most families end up putting in more hours and also work on neighbors homes. Additionally, the families are required to take  22 hours of a financial literacy class and 6 hours of first time home buyers classes. Between the sweat equity and the education invested, Habitat and the families are truly considered partners. The home is based on an interest free mortgage and the family is required to pay their mortgage and escrows so the house is by no way free as some would rumor. The houses are also deed restricted to stay affordable in perpetuity. Habitat truly is an organization which believes in helping out by giving people the skills and confidence to know that they can become home owners. Another unique area is that Habitat continues to mentor the family in the first year to be there for them if they have questions regarding the house or regarding the community. The home owner is also strongly encouraged to attend a financial refresher course so that they can continue to be good neighbors and stay in their home. Again, another example of a hand up, not a hand out. Lastly, one other area that is unique is that the donors and volunteers actually get to see a completed product. There are many other nonprofits with wonderful and needed causes but many times, the donor or the volunteer, never gets to see any fruits of their labor. With habitat, you work side by side with the family and at the end of about 7 months, you are there congratulating the family on their new home. You get to see them move in and that's what it's all about! Sometimes, you even get to share in success stories where the children of the partner families have exceeded academically or culturally and it's a great reassurance that money and time spent with this organization truly has an impact on families, neighborhoods and communities. Not every organization can say this!

Board Chair Statement

I have spent part of my life on affordable housing partnerships and in the political arena. I've seen committees disagree just for the sake of disagreeing. When I came to Habitat, it was very refreshing. People on the board actually were committed to getting things done in a timely fashion. There was no politics involved, just 8-12 people pulling for the same common goal - to strengthen families and communities through affordable home ownership. Our board has faced many challenges, much like other nonprofits. There is always so much work to do, so much outreach that you want to do and just not enough time since the board all have full time jobs as well. However, this board has been very good at spreading out the workload. The board is made up of people with various skills needed for the affiliate to succeed and we use everyone's talents to do so. We have a real estate atty, a realtor, a CPA, a banker, a reverend, a mayor, a businessman, an entrepreneur and the list goes on. Our success is based on our working together as a team. Everyone contributes and everyone is on a committee so that we spread the work around, which is our major challenge. Additionally another challenge was a change in management and leadership earlier this year. The board pulled together to write up several policies for the employees and do an executive search for personnel. We met often and we met for long nights but the result was final personnel policies and organizational policies and new management. It's this working commitment that rejuvenates me as a volunteer. There is also a consistency throughout the organization that keeps me and others coming back. When asked why people are on the board, everyone pretty much said in one way or another, that they needed a way to give back because they have all been blessed with talents and treasures. They also wanted to give something special to their children - leading by example regarding community involvement. The organization does not just exist because someone wanted a nice statement on their resume; it exists because overall, the board, staff and volunteers believe in the mission and are committed to it. It's easy to get excited when you are working with people like this. Even when there are tough financial times, we remind ourselves of the families that now have homes and the kids that went to college because they were able to study in a safe & healthy environment. We see that the money from each families mortgage goes into building the next home and the kids that grow up in one Habitat home are some of the kids who do alternative spring break and come back and build more Habitat homes. The cycle continues and as board president, I am really thrilled to be making an impact.

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Lowell, Reading,Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, Wakefield, Westford, Wilmington

Organization Categories

  1. Housing, Shelter - Housing Development, Construction & Management
  2. Housing, Shelter - Home Improvement/Repairs
  3. Housing, Shelter - Housing Rehabilitation

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



Home Building

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell services 15 towns in the Greater Lowell/Middlesex County region. Working with the local community, local companies, interfaith community and individual volunteers, Habitat will build affordable simple, decent, energy efficient homes. Partner families earning between 25-60% of the area medium income will provide up to 450 hours of sweat equity to build their home as well as participate in financial classes.

Budget  $500,000.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Affordable Housing
Population Served Families Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success     
Program Long-Term Success  Habitat’s success is providing a family with the opportunity to set down their roots and provide a safe, decent home in which they can stay for many years. The stability of staying in one home for a long span enables the family security and for children to prosper. This will effect both the immediate family as well as future generations.
Program Success Monitored By  Having Habitat families remain in their homes and be able to pay off their mortgage.
Examples of Program Success  Words from a partner family: “The sense of teamwork and community amongst the volunteers was amazing” says Joe. “The fact that these volunteers would continue to build one home after the other, working side by side, helping us set up for our new life, was beyond what we could have imagined. As we watch our children and their friends playing outside with the family dog, we realize that we are just like everyone else on our street—we’re home, we’re part of the neighborhood and we‘re truly thankful!”

Veterans critical repairs

In an attempt to impact more families, we have launched a program called veteran critical repairs. The program is designed to help veterans stay in their homes and for us to provide assistance in repairs and renovations that will make the home safe, accessible and cost effective. The program is like other Habitat programs and the family is asked to participate in the program so that it is also a hand up , not a hand out.
Budget  $85,000.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Home Repair Programs
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled People/Families with of People with Disabilities Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 
In year one, we plan do complete 5-10 critical repairs. The projects will most likely be sequential because with only a part time coordinator running the program, it is difficult to be in two places at once. Coordinating volunteers, building supplies and the veterans resources will require our coordiantor to focus on one job at a time. The first will start  by early Sept working out outside issues, then moving in side as the months get colder. EAch project is assumed to take one week to one month because we will be relying on volunteer time and skill sets.
Program Long-Term Success 
Our goal is to impact at least 5-10 veterans and their families in the first year. We will perform a scope of work and then measure our success against this scope of work to make sure that all items are completed. We will also realize success when we know that a family may not have been able to stay in the house but now they can. The program is planned to continue for a minimum of 3 years. EAch year the goal is to increase the families impacted. Working with local veterans agencies, we will have no problem increasing our base and hope to increase to 10-20 and then 20-30 in the following years
Program Success Monitored By 
We use three surveys. The first is a survey with the veteran regarding their ability to qualify for the program (based on need and on financials and on a general or honorable discharge). The 2nd survey is a scope of work to be done and the third survey is a completion survey to make sure that we completed the work to the satisfaction of the veteran and within the boundaries that we originally set.
Examples of Program Success 
Success will be measured by the before and after pictures  and the stories told by the veterans.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Both programs present similar challenges. Since we provide both labor and materials - we continually have to face the challenge of raising money to buy materials and of recruiting enough volunteers to get the job done since we do 90% of our building and repairs through volunteer labor. We are working to improve our website and our social media programs so that we can reach out to the community for both of these areas. We have strengthened our volunteer up software program so that we can attract people with different skill sets and we hope that we will have a good turnout for the veterans program as we usually do for our general builds. Financially we are coming up with new ways to engage businesses and organizations but our strongest asset is team building day opportunities where people can come out to build with us and experience the construction while working with the partner family.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Brenda Gould
CEO Term Start Dec 2011
CEO Email
CEO Experience
Previous to ED position, 5 years as board member serving in various capacities as President, Vice President and Treasurer. Prior to joining board, supported Habitat as a volunteer since May 2005.
ED has worked in large fortune 500 company, small private company and sole proprietorship.
Work experience:
Schooley Mitchell franchise owner 2010-2012
Inside Sales Manager for Agamatrix Inc 2007-2008
Business Operations Manager for lab Water Division of Millipore Corporation 1983-2005
Other includes property management companies in New York State and Massachusetts
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Mr Dana Owens Feb 2008 Dec 2011

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Nonprofit Alliance of Greater Lowell

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Coalition for a Better Acre

Budget Buddies

Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership
Community Teamwork 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

2012 has been a year that we have tried to put policies in place for board governance and operations management. We spent a significant amount of time drafting an employee handbook since this was a document that we did not have in the past. Additionally, we have made sure that each employee has a job description for their current position. There are still policies to complete but we have moved in the right direction over the past year.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 12
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 1,800
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 90%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 5
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
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


Board Chair Mr Jim Silva
Board Chair Company Affiliation Attorney and local/regional government officia
Board Chair Term June 2012 - June 2015
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Stacey Alcorn ReMax Prestigue Voting
Andrew Barlow no affiliation Voting
Paul Barrett NetScout Systems Voting
Patrick Chieh Foley Hoad LLP Voting
Robert Correnti Selectmen, Billerica Voting
Robert Moodie no affiliation Voting
Peter Mullin no affiliation Voting
Paiman Nodoushani No Affiliation Voting
Elvira Paulino Lowell Community Charter Public School Voting
Pastor David Rinas Trinity Lutheran Church Voting
Melissa Robbins Deschenes & Farrell, P. Voting
James Saltonstall no affiliation Voting
James Silva no affiliation Voting
Marshall-Ben Tisdale no affiliation 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: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 11
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 72%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Board Development / Board Orientation
  • Board Governance
  • Building
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Human Resources / Personnel
  • Legislative
  • Nominating
  • Real Estate
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our board has been in transition over the last couple years to move from an operating board to a governance board. In the last couple years, more specifically in the past year, they have put in many hours trying to make sure that we have specific policies in place that will allow the operations to run smoothly so that they can concentrate on becoming more of a governing board. We have had some changes of leadership in the staff and so the board has had to be more involved on the operations side than was preferable but now they have the staff in place and the policies and committees in place so that we can now move the affiliate to the next level.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2014 to June 30, 2015
Projected Income $1,580,917.00
Projected Expense $1,580,917.00
Form 990s

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

Audit Documents

2014 audit

2013 audit

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 2014 2012 2011
Total Revenue $1,895,258 $1,227,109 $649,181
Total Expenses $1,636,420 $1,535,282 $463,759

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- $126,465 $78,092
Government Contributions $0 $0 $42,650
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $0 -- $42,650
Individual Contributions $866,090 $218,852 $162,476
Indirect Public Support $0 -- --
Earned Revenue $920,809 $791,744 $212,717
Investment Income, Net of Losses $93 $153 $82
Membership Dues $0 -- --
Special Events $108,266 $77,596 $110,783
Revenue In-Kind -- -- $42,282
Other $0 $12,299 $99

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2012 2011
Program Expense $1,482,365 $1,328,949 $344,786
Administration Expense $55,011 $59,072 $48,173
Fundraising Expense $99,044 $147,261 $70,800
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.16 0.80 1.40
Program Expense/Total Expenses 91% 87% 74%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 10% 35% 18%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2012 2011
Total Assets $2,635,280 $2,136,100 $2,424,291
Current Assets $1,874,613 $1,921,646 $2,364,599
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $111,641 $128,889
Current Liabilities $253,889 $105,766 $68,536
Total Net Assets $2,381,391 $1,918,693 $2,226,866

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
NetScout Systems $50,000.00
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
ReMax Prestige $27,500.00
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
Cisco Systems $26,500.00
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) 0.0%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? 0.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Anticipated In 3 Years
Capital Campaign Purpose The affiliate has been working to try to start a capital campaign in order to build a continual stream of revenue. We currently do not have a plan in place.
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 7.38 18.17 34.50

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 5% 5%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our affiliate engages an outside cpa firm to audit our financials and policies.
Overall, Habitat gets donations upfront to cover the cost of the homes.
These donations are reflected as income in the year received, which is
almost always not the year of sale (takes us average of 7-9 months to
build).  The expenses for the houses are put into inventory as we do the
work on them, so they are not expensed in the year incurred. Two additional items come through our P&L (infrastructure & land) but we do not include them in the calculations for setting the house price due to habitat rules.
Therefore there is not only a mismatch of income vs expense in our fiscal year, but also several costs not covered in the sell price.

In the year of sale, we record the sale and the cost of the house.  Our selling price for the house is limited by Habitat and affordable housing rules and is also based on the income of the purchaser. We never sell above cost and we always lose money on the financial statements. To add to this, we sell our houses interest free.  However, the financial statements and IRS regulations require us to treat  a portion of the selling price as interest. Thus the HUD statement might say $160,000 but selling price on the P&L will only be $110,000.  $50,000 goes into deferred interest (an example, not a real transaction).

As an example see FY 2012:  our house sales on the P&L were $591,774 but the costs were $942,397 a “loss” of $350,623.  However, the $942,397 (give or take) was collected in donations in prior years to cover the costs of the houses.  So, over time, we do not lose money on the sale of the houses  but we look like we lost money in the year of sale. 

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s, with additional details provided by the nonprofit.


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?