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Artists For Humanity, Inc.

 100 West Second Street
 Boston, MA 02127
[P] (617) 268-7620
[F] (617) 268-7358
[email protected]
Susan Rodgerson
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3138434

LAST UPDATED: 12/07/2018
Organization DBA AFH
Greatest Party on Earth
Former Names City Teens Design Company (2001)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes


Mission StatementMORE »

Founded in 1991, Artists For Humanity’s (AFH) mission is to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing underserved urban youth with the keys to long-term economic and personal self-sufficiency through paid employment in art & design. Our mission is built on the philosophy that creativity is a powerful vehicle for social change, and that creative entrepreneurship is a productive and life-changing opportunity for young people and their communities.

AFH utilizes four strategies to realize our mission by offering youth: (1) the respect and responsibility of paid employment that promotes self-esteem and workforce readiness; (2) a safe, meaningful place where teens develop important mentoring relationships; (3) educational enrichment that supports and encourages high school graduation and post-secondary education; and (4) an opportunity to be part of a creative community where they collaborate to produce custom client commissions and public exhibitions.

Mission Statement

Founded in 1991, Artists For Humanity’s (AFH) mission is to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing underserved urban youth with the keys to long-term economic and personal self-sufficiency through paid employment in art & design. Our mission is built on the philosophy that creativity is a powerful vehicle for social change, and that creative entrepreneurship is a productive and life-changing opportunity for young people and their communities.

AFH utilizes four strategies to realize our mission by offering youth: (1) the respect and responsibility of paid employment that promotes self-esteem and workforce readiness; (2) a safe, meaningful place where teens develop important mentoring relationships; (3) educational enrichment that supports and encourages high school graduation and post-secondary education; and (4) an opportunity to be part of a creative community where they collaborate to produce custom client commissions and public exhibitions.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $3,942,355.00
Projected Expense $3,942,355.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Youth Arts Enterprise

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

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


Mission Statement

Founded in 1991, Artists For Humanity’s (AFH) mission is to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing underserved urban youth with the keys to long-term economic and personal self-sufficiency through paid employment in art & design. Our mission is built on the philosophy that creativity is a powerful vehicle for social change, and that creative entrepreneurship is a productive and life-changing opportunity for young people and their communities.

AFH utilizes four strategies to realize our mission by offering youth: (1) the respect and responsibility of paid employment that promotes self-esteem and workforce readiness; (2) a safe, meaningful place where teens develop important mentoring relationships; (3) educational enrichment that supports and encourages high school graduation and post-secondary education; and (4) an opportunity to be part of a creative community where they collaborate to produce custom client commissions and public exhibitions.

Background Statement


AFH began in 1991 with what was then an ambitious and unconventional idea – young people can provide, through their innate talent and vision, creative services to the business community. This concept of training and employing urban teens is now a proven solution to economic disenfranchisement. AFH employs ~250 Boston teens annually in paid apprenticeship in art, design and creative industries.

Since 2004, when we constructed Boston’s first Platinum LEED-certified facility, the Artists For Humanity EpiCenter, AFH has grown exponentially as a youth and cultural community resource, a successful enterprise, and a center for economic and environmental sustainability. The EpiCenter serves our youth apprentices and the greater community as a learning laboratory in arts, creative industries, environmental sciences and renewable technologies. It has inspired us to formalize interdisciplinary arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning – or STEAM! – in our studios. AFH continues to pioneer new youth opportunities in response to the changing needs of our local and global environments.

In the past 26 years, AFH has received many awards*, gained national recognition** and been studied extensively*** as an exemplar of program excellence, effective mentorship and youth empowerment. Our model has been disseminated internationally to organizations that utilize our framework of responsibility, respect and relationships to empower young people in their communities.

* Select Awards include: 2011 Best Practices in Teen Programming award from Boston’s After School for All Partnership; 2010 Neighborhood Builders Award, Bank of America Charitable Foundation; 2010 Massachusetts Network of Nonprofits Excellence in Social Entrepreneurship Award.

** Select recent profiles include: Chronicle (January 2017); WBZ-TV (April 2015); TEDxBoston (July 2010)

*** Universities teaching case studies include: Stanford, Harvard and BU.


Impact Statement


2016 Top Accomplishments:

(1) Employment and Engagement: In 2016, AFH employed 276 under-resourced Boston teens and young adults in our core Youth Arts Enterprise program. We engaged an additional 2,811 youth through information sessions, open houses and ancillary programs.

(2) Experiential STEM Learning through Art, Design and Enterprise: AFH’s success at empowering teens is vivid in the increasingly complex, innovative and high-profile project commissions they have successfully undertaken, and the experiential learning inherent to these. In 2016, our youth contributed to 112 exhibitions, murals and public art installations; and they completed 762 projects for paying clients. As youth completed each project, mentors alerted them to the inherent STEM concepts encountered or utilized; this helps youth see the relevance of STEM disciplines in their artwork and introduces them to STEM careers. In 2016, AFH’s interdisciplinary approach to informal STEM learning attracted attention of the National Science Foundation, which is funding our efforts to widen the STEM pipeline for diverse and under-resourced teens.

(3) High School Graduation/College Access: For the 2015-2016 school year, AFH again achieved a 100% graduation rate for high school seniors working in our studios; and 100% were accepted into post-secondary educational institutions, many with scholarships.

Top 3 Goals for 2017:

(1) Equip ~250 Boston teens with increased self-discipline, responsibility and advanced 21st Century skills development in creative design, STEM concepts, business, technology, management and communications.

(2) Strengthen earned income capacity and develop operating reserves.

(3) Increase community engagement, thereby building new partnerships and diversifying audiences for youth-created works.


Needs Statement

1. Expand facility to double youth employment in creative industries; incorporate vocational training; and strengthen partnerships with innovation leaders

2. Secure capital funds for facility expansion and new technology

3. Increase earned income, working toward self-sustainability, through the marketing and sale of youth-created design services and artistic products

4. Increase contributed income to fund expanded programming through new and diversified funding sources

5. Build operating reserves

      CEO Statement

      Social change is possible. I see it every day at Artists For Humanity. Here, young people from communities across Boston and representing our City’s beautiful diversity, congregate to work, solve problems and create – together. Here, they are part of a community. No, here they are building a community, and it’s stunning and respectful and innovative.

      The AFH experience – of earning a fair wage to work and learn – represents a promise to under-resourced teens that they can find equity in their lives and can strive toward a better future. AFH teens bring this sensibility to their work in the studio, and they carry it to their schools and homes.

      At AFH, teens work as part of a team, collaborating with mentors and each other to create fine art and design, while deftly using technology to research ideas, build models and innovate design solutions. In the process, they gain the skills to prepare them for productive futures in the innovation workforce. The vitality our teens and their work bring to AFH is underscored by sales of their creative services, which represents 40% of our annual operating revenues. At AFH, teens truly operate as a community where everyone has a voice, everyone’s ideas are valued, and everyone shares responsibility.

      We, as a society, can learn a lot from the AFH experience. AFH teens have figured out how to work together, how to learn from each other, how to listen and respond. Our teens represent the movement toward greater understanding and a more equitable community.

      Board Chair Statement

      We at Artists For Humanity believe that young people are our future and that we must invest in them. The futures of each of us, and our communities and our world are all intimately connected with those of today's youth. We have a crisis however, in providing and steering our youth into productive options for living – this at a time when our communities find themselves in greater need of prepared and educated members to meet the challenges of the day. The many problems of our modern world demand creative and often sophisticated and complex solutions; solutions that will have to come from creative, innovative, educated, productive and motivated members of our communities. An investment in youth is an investment in the future.

      Geographic Area Served

      In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
      City of Boston- Citywide (please select all areas as well)
      City of Boston- Allston/ Brighton
      City of Boston- Back Bay
      City of Boston- Beacon Hill/ West End
      City of Boston- Charlestown
      City of Boston- Chinatown/ Leather District
      City of Boston- North Dorchester
      City of Boston- South Dorchester
      City of Boston- Downtown
      City of Boston- East Boston
      City of Boston- Fenway/ Kenmore
      City of Boston- Hyde Park
      City of Boston- Jamaica Plain
      City of Boston- Mattapan
      City of Boston- Mission Hill
      City of Boston- North End
      City of Boston- Roslindale
      City of Boston- Roxbury
      City of Boston- South Boston
      City of Boston- South End/Bay Village
      City of Boston- Harbor Islands
      City of Boston- West Roxbury
      AFH youth participants come to the EpiCenter from every neighborhood of Boston including Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, Hyde Park, South Boston, East Boston, Roslindale, Jamainca Plain, Chinatown, and Allston/Brighton.

      Organization Categories

      1. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs
      2. Employment - Job Training
      3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Visual Arts

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

      Under Development


      Youth Arts Enterprise

      AFH’s Youth Arts Enterprise is one of the largest youth employers in the City of Boston, with 250 under-resourced teens employed in the program each year during out-of-school hours. Youth work with professional artists and designers on innovative projects that promote active learning and advanced skills development in creative products, industrial design and digital media. They interact directly with clients on corporate commissions, and gain business, communication, client negotiation and workforce readiness skills in the process. AFH further prepares youth for today’s knowledge-based economy by ensuring they have access to computer literacy, technological training, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) concepts. And we support their academic endeavors with tutoring and college readiness supports. These experiences open doors to successful, self-sufficient futures by inspiring youth and equipping them with the 21st century skills to plan and realize their futures.

      Budget  $2,842,222.00
      Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Business
      Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations Minorities
      Program Short-Term Success 

      Youth Arts Enterprise short-term outcome indicators.

      I. Youth demonstrate life and employability skills

      • Improved critical thinking skills
      • Greater ability to choose positive over risky behavior
      • Improved financial literacy skills

      II. Youth persist and advance in high school or other educational program

      • Increased school attendance
      • Improved grades across areas of study where youth need the most help
      • Increased aspiration to go to college
      • Enhanced ability to assess and plan for their future

      III. Youth are more aware of their value and potential

      • Increased awareness of their career potential
      • Increased awareness that creativity is a valued resource

      IV. Youth demonstrate capacities to operate as professionals in business setting

      • Increased skills to communicate business ideas with confidence
      • Increased abilities to give and receive critique
      • Improved technical competence
      • Increased STEM skills

      V. Youth demonstrate increased abilities to contribute to the creative economy

      • Increased skills in art techniques and design technology
      • Improved observational skills as a way to creatively and critically analyze the world
      • Increased knowledge of creative industries and art/design as a business
      • Enhanced connections to the community beyond their neighborhood
      Program Long-Term Success 


      AFH effects social justice by providing unique opportunities for under-resourced teens to work in creative industries, earn an income, learn and master marketable skills, and strengthen their educational experiences. Creative industries encompass the fastest growing market niche, inclusive of web design and construction, corporate branding, motion graphics for mobile phone applications and video games, to name but a few. At AFH, youth are learning how to complete much-needed and highly marketable tasks. Business leaders look to our youth apprentices to fulfill their design needs. Through this experience, AFH teen designers understand their creative potential and recognize their role as active contributors to the global market. That is social change.

      Over the years, AFH has been the subject of several external assessments by researchers and evaluators, as an exemplar of positive youth development and social entrepreneurship. Dr. Ellen Winner of Boston College included AFH in recently completed study of the transfer value of arts learning into geometric reasoning. In the coming year, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, AFH will collaborate with Education Development Center to further refine and test our STEAM Power approach, and this work will be evaluated by researchers at TERC and Boston College.

      In 2009, Dr. Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University and Brown University studied a decade’s worth of current and past AFH program participants to quantify socio-economic benefits of the creative exposure and entrepreneurial training afforded by AFH. Heath concludes that: "no one can doubt the effectiveness of AFH and its long-standing influence on the majority of those who sustain their participation for as long as at least one full year. It is clear that staying within AFH brings maturation in terms of ways of relating and communicating with others, as well as self-monitoring and management, and setting of goals to which the young artists aspire."

      Program Success Monitored By 

      The major methods of assessment are observations, pre- and post- participant surveys, mentor surveys and evaluations, focus groups, report cards, and work attendance records. The Executive/Artistic Director and Evaluation Director review apprentice Intake Forms, Initial Training Period Evaluations, Self Report Forms, Mentor Evaluations, and bi-monthly Mentor Assessments to gain a qualitative sense of how the youth interact as a community over a period of time.  These monitoring tools also provide insight on the personal and professional development of mentors and how well the connect with teens.  

      Examples of Program Success 
      Evaluations confirm that through participation in our program and the creative process, teens experience the courage of their convictions, trust in their individuality and free thinking that is endemic to building a cultured society. Participants:
      -describe AFH as a place where they feel inspired, challenged, respected, and safe
      -are excited to work, many arrive early and stay late
      -produce admirable work, much of which can be used in student portfolios
      -enjoy connecting with people who are different and being offered new experiences
      -learn of a variety of career opportunities that they had never been aware of before
      -like seeing their work displayed in public and discussing it with adults
      -have cited a desire to explore new media and respond eagerly to technology learning opportunities
      -use their wages to help their families, afford a cell phone or computer, or start a savings account.

      CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

      Artists For Humanity’s facility, the AFH EpiCenter, brings great visibility to the organization and our work with teens as the first building in the City to achieve LEED Platinum certification and as one of the hippest event venues in town; these twin opportunities consistently build new clients and audiences for our youth-created products. Likewise, exciting growth in AFH’s Fort Point Arts/Innovation District neighborhood brings new and more complex project commissions, which greatly enhance the creative and technological training we offer under-resourced teens. But space constraints for staffing and equipment slow our response time to opportunities or require us to outsource production. More importantly, AFH has reached full youth employment capacity in the EpiCenter, with an ongoing wait list of teens seeking work in our studios.

      AFH recognizes expansion would be our most strategic business and program decision.

      Thanks to a 2009 grant from the Cultural Facilities Fund, AFH has extensively examined the feasibility of facility expansion. We completed a strategic business plan that considers expanded programming, employment and market opportunities. We performed architectural and massing studies on the contiguous site to our west. We developed cost estimates for construction and phasing in program expansion.

      On July 30, 2013, this planning proved fruitful, when Innovation District neighbors, Procter & Gamble/Gillette, awarded us the undeveloped site abutting our facility. Since late 2014, AFH has been collaborating with Behnisch Architekten to design a 30,000 sq. ft. annex that meets our program development, creative place-making and industry partnership needs. In the spirit of our LEED Platinum facility, the EpiCenter expansion will be a demonstration solar building. We are now working with Suffolk Construction to finalize the design, as we prepare to break ground in Summer 2017.

      Over the past few years, AFH staff has met with the City of Boston’s Chief Planner, Deputy Director for Waterfront Planning, and other planning staff about our role in spurring this development. Boston Redevelopment Authority considers AFH an anchor to developing the Innovation District and the essential bridge for artists to connect to innovation and business. Significantly, Mayor Walsh is excited for the project as a cultural resource for the community, a hub of innovative workforce development for teens, and a green building.


      CEO/Executive Director Ms. Susan Rodgerson
      CEO Term Start Aug 1991
      CEO Email [email protected]
      CEO Experience

      CEO/Executive Director Experience


      Susan Rodgerson, an artist, teacher and entrepreneur, has dedicated her talents to bridging communities and developing individuals for more than twenty-five years. In 1991, she began her greatest artistic and professional endeavor, the formation of Artists For Humanity (AFH). Over the last 26 years, AFH has empowered urban teens by building bridges to disparate communities of art and the creative process and connecting them to the business community.

      Susan Rodgerson feels a deep responsibility to share both what she has learned and built. She has served as the Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Pace University and as a visiting social entrepreneur at Harvard University and Stanford University Business School; she is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. Her honors include the 2013 Charles Ansbacher Award for Culture and Community; 2008 Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree, Tufts University; Lesley University Alumni Community Service Award; the Carlisle Foundation Creative Entrepreneur Award, Carlisle Foundation; Massachusetts College of Art and Design Award Excellence in Education; and TedXBoston.

      Ms. Rodgerson has also collaborated nationally and internationally with organizations to build and sustain the field of social enterprise. She helped establish several AFH-based programs in geographically diverse communities, including Riverzedge Arts Project in Woonsocket, RI (2002); MyArts in Kansas City, MO (2004); Wayside Youth Services in Framingham, MA (2011); Art Connection in North Little Rock, AR (2012); and Youth Creative Agency (2014). Rodgerson shared the details of AFH’s unique model with the leadership at these organizations to assist them with fully implementing AFH practice. She has shared best practices with organizations in Britain, France, Canada and the Middle East. Currently, AFH is exploring opportunities in New York City, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, and is actively working with groups from Oakland, CA, and Fall River, MA and Ketchikan, AL.


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

      Former CEOs and Terms

      Name Start End
      -- -- --

      Senior Staff

      Name Title Experience/Biography
      Claudia De Piante Vicin Design Director Ms. DePiante Vicin cultivates corporate sponsorship and designs/oversees special projects and commissions. A graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, she exhibits her work widely, judges design competitions internationally, and speaks four languages, including Spanish, French and Italian. DePiante Vicin joined AFH in 2001.
      Robert Gibbs Co-Founder, Studio Director

      A co-founder, AFH alumnus, and acclaimed street artist, Mr. Gibbs oversees the painting studio, directs large-scale public art projects, and trains teens in painting and mural production. He was awarded an Americorps Fellowship and Prudential Youth Leadership Fellowship. Gibbs has also been an active participant in building a field for youth development through conducting teen-leadership and mentorship training for AFH replication projects and at conferences such as Girls, Inc. and YouthBuild USA and Young Peoples Conference, Odyssey Belfast.

      Lorraine Johnson Director of Program Operations Ms. Johnson supports AFH’s Executive/Artistic Director in studio management and business development. She has spent the past 20 years working internationally to support the growth of micro/small, artisan-run businesses. Working throughout Africa, she has successfully implemented a three-pronged community development strategy of product development and design; business and market readiness training; and the link to the market. Her ability to successfully communicate across many cultures, and her commitment to the transformative process of arts/entrepreneurship make her the perfect candidate to continue AFH’s growth. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts from Rhode Island College and a Master of International Administration from SIT Graduate Institute.
      Patrice Maye Director of Institutional Giving Ms. Maye recently returned to AFH after a nine-month sabbatical to resume leadership of the agency’s institutional giving and visioning statements. A creative writer of poetry and fiction, she holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Boston College and a Master of Philology in Irish Studies from University College Galway, Ireland. Maye originally joined AFH in 2001.
      Andrew Motta Operations Director

      Manager of the organization’s day-to-day and fiscal operations, Mr. Motta has his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and Education from UMass Amherst. Motta also oversees “Spiritus Solaris,” including conducting tours, and overseeing program outreach and marketing. Mr. Motta has been with AFH since 1995.

      Natalie Shaw Director of Finance and Administration --
      Jason Talbot Co-Founder, Studio Director

      Mr. Talbot, a co-founder and AFH alumnus, leads video instruction and special projects at AFH. He brings technical skills acquired through Adobe’s Youth Voices Training program and undergraduate study at the Art Institute of Boston with work experience gleaned a graphic designer for Turner Broadcasting and Going Interactive. In 2009, Mr. Talbot was selected for the prestigious Emerging Leaders Program run by University of Massachusetts, Boston.


      Award Awarding Organization Year
      Charles Ansbacher Award for Culture and Community Partners For Livable Communities 2013
      Award for Sustainable Institute of Architects and Designers Metropolis Magazine 2011
      First Place in the Exterior Category in the 6th Annual People’s Choice Installation Contest 3Form 2011
      Excellence in Social Entrepreneurship Award Massachusetts Network of Nonprofits 2010
      Innovative Space Awards MetLife Foundation 2010
      Neighborhood Builders Award Bank of America Foundation 2010
      Rising Star Award Sun Life 2010
      Award for Urban Excellence- Silver Medal Rudy Bruner 2007
      Best Practices in Teen Programming award Boston’s After School for All Partnership 2005
      Coming Up Taller Award President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities 2001


      Affiliation Year
      Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau 2011
      Americans for the Arts 2008
      U.S. Green Building Council 2005
      National Endowment for the Arts 1994
      AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) --
      Massachusetts Nonprofit Network --
      Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
      Name of state association --

      External Assessments and Accreditations

      External Assessment or Accreditation Year
      -- --



      AFH collaborates with scores of businesses and organizations that commission nearly 800 youth-inspired art and design projects each year. AFH’s client list includes: Barnes & Noble, Boston Business Journal, Boston Community Capital, Boston Medical, Boston Planning & Development Agency, Boston Properties, Breckinridge Capital Advisors, Converse, Cramer, Gerding Edlen, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, Liberty Mutual, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Grid, Procter & Gamble, Red Bull, South Shore Bank, State Street, TransNational, and Wood Partners.

      Community collaborations in 2016 included the Boston Convention and Exposition Center, the City of Boston, Eliot K-8 Innovation School, Fort Point Arts Community/Friends of Fort Point, Grand Circle Gallery, Logan International Airport, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Neiman Marcus, and the South Boston Association of Non-Profits, amongst others.

      Educational partners include The Art Institute of Boston/Lesley College, Boston Partners in Education, Boston Public Schools, Bottom Line, Boston Architecture College, BPS Arts Expansion/Edvestors, Emerson College, Montserrat College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Maine College of Art, Northeastern University, the Oxbow School, Success Boston, Summer Search, and uAspire.


      CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

      Critical to Artist For Humanity’s impact is our ability to provide teens with the experiences and opportunities they need to develop 21st Century skills and become thriving members of the creative economy. Also, the art and design marketplace is extremely competitive with narrow margins and increasingly complex, so we must constantly innovate to stay competitive in this area, which generates 40% of our operating income. This requires that AFH has state-of-the art equipment and technology, which rapidly evolves, and that our staff be trained and proficient of new technologies and applications in order to be able teach them to our teens.

      Foundation Comments


      Staff Information

      Number of Full Time Staff 33
      Number of Part Time Staff 15
      Number of Volunteers 110
      Number of Contract Staff 0
      Staff Retention Rate % 89%

      Staff Demographics

      Ethnicity African American/Black: 9
      Asian American/Pacific Islander: 4
      Caucasian: 27
      Hispanic/Latino: 8
      Native American/American Indian: 0
      Other: 0
      Other (if specified): 0
      Gender Female: 26
      Male: 22
      Not Specified 0

      Plans & Policies

      Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
      Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
      Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
      Management Succession Plan No
      Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
      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 Yes
      State Registration Yes

      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. Patrick Planeta
      Board Chair Company Affiliation Principal, Planeta Design Group
      Board Chair Term Jan 2017 - Dec 2018
      Board Co-Chair --
      Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
      Board Co-Chair Term -

      Board Members

      Name Company Affiliations Status
      Senam Kumahia Consultant, KAGE Growth Strategies Voting
      Natalie Lemle Director of Partnerships, ArtLifting Voting
      David Nagahiro Principal, CBT Architects Voting
      Nina Nicolosi Consultant; Former HR Director, John Hancock Voting
      Abigail Ogilvy Owner, Abigail Ogilvy Gallery Voting
      Yaro Pan Managing Director and Equity Research Analyst Wellington Management Voting
      Patrick Planeta PlanetaBasque Boston Voting
      Nicole Rice Director of Major Gifts, Union of Concerned Scientists Voting
      Susan Rodgerson Artistic/Executive Director, Artists For Humanity NonVoting
      Caroline Taggart Independent Fine Art Professional Voting
      Jason Talbot AFH Co-founder Voting

      Constituent Board Members

      Name Company Affiliations Status
      -- -- --

      Youth Board Members

      Name Company Affiliations Status
      -- -- --

      Advisory Board Members

      Name Company Affiliations Status
      James Batchelor Arrowstreet NonVoting
      Max Bazerman Harvard University NonVoting
      Julie Bowden Youth Advocacy Project NonVoting
      Barbara Burgess Community Volunteer NonVoting
      John Cannistraro J.C. Cannistraro LLC NonVoting
      Ellen Carno -- --
      Ronald Casty Ronald G. Casty Family Foundation NonVoting
      Ross Chanowski -- --
      Susan Culman -- --
      Amy d'Ablemont Burnes Community Volunteer NonVoting
      Kevin Dennis -- --
      Margaret Drain -- --
      Bill Eaton Merrill Lynch NonVoting
      Laura Eaton Community Volunteer NonVoting
      Howard Elkus Elkus/Manfredi Architects NonVoting
      Marla Felcher The Philanthropy Connection NonVoting
      Julie Fisher State Street --
      George Foreman III -- --
      Betsy Gibson -- --
      Spencer Glendon -- --
      Richard Grudzinski -- NonVoting
      Swanee Hunt Ambassador NonVoting
      Christopher Jacobs -- --
      Rebecca Kellogg -- --
      Joseph Kennard -- --
      Mel King Adjunct Professor, MIT NonVoting
      Eric Kramer -- --
      Mark Lank U.S. Art --
      Neil Leifer -- --
      Jake Lemle -- --
      Lisa Lenon -- NonVoting
      Neil Leonard Wellington Management --
      Harriet Lewis Grand Circle Travel NonVoting
      Helene Lieb -- --
      Robert Lurie Retired NonVoting
      Syrul Lurie Retired NonVoting
      Michael Maina -- --
      Stefania Nappi Mallett ezCaters NonVoting
      Klaudia Mally Brix Wine Shop NonVoting
      David Marceau J.K. Blackstone General Contractors NonVoting
      Shirley Marten Community Volunteer --
      Michele May -- --
      Timothy McKeown -- --
      Meredyth Hyatt Moses -- --
      Jenifer Mumford Trekkers NonVoting
      Alan Newsome John Hancock NonVoting
      Sade Olatunji -- NonVoting
      Whitney Palmedo -- NonVoting
      Maury Peterson -- NonVoting
      Chris Rifkin Community Volunteer NonVoting
      Mark Rosen Charlesbank --
      Kristen Rupert Community Volunteer NonVoting
      Robert Sachs -- NonVoting
      Robert Sachs -- --
      Alyssa Burrage Scott Community Volunteer NonVoting
      Alex Senchak -- --
      William Stanton -- NonVoting
      Lisa Tung Massachusetts College of Art and Design --
      Bobbie Tunnard -- --
      Rusty Tunnard -- --
      Wat Tyler -- --
      Clara Wainwright Artists NonVoting
      David Walt -- NonVoting
      Deanne Wherry -- --
      Bob Wiggins Gourmet Caterers NonVoting

      Board Demographics

      Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
      Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
      Caucasian: 6
      Hispanic/Latino: 0
      Native American/American Indian: 0
      Other: 0
      Other (if specified): --
      Gender Female: 5
      Male: 5
      Not Specified 0

      Board Information

      Board Term Lengths 3
      Board Term Limits 2
      Board Meeting Attendance % 95%
      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 Yes

      Standing Committees

      • Advisory Board / Advisory Council
      • Audit
      • Board Governance
      • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
      • Finance
      • Nominating

      CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

      Artists For Humanity is a multi-faceted and singular organization. Our unique and holistic programs combine the power of visual arts/design, entrepreneurship, mentoring, academic enrichment, workforce training, STEAM-based learning, and leadership development. With such an all-encompassing approach to youth development, it takes time to fully orient new Board members on the strategic and operational complexities of our organization.  The Board considers new member Orientation a priority.

      Foundation Comments



      Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

      Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

      Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

      Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

      Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

      Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
      Total Revenue $8,499,299 $7,568,952 $7,221,807
      Total Expenses $4,325,981 $3,899,239 $3,826,791

      Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

      Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
      Foundation and
      Corporation Contributions
      $1,601,574 $2,113,916 $936,075
      Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
          Federal -- -- --
          State -- -- --
          Local -- -- --
          Unspecified -- -- --
      Individual Contributions $488,086 $565,661 $545,819
      Indirect Public Support -- -- --
      Earned Revenue $1,383,992 $1,461,622 $1,511,245
      Investment Income, Net of Losses -- $-14,650 $1,240
      Membership Dues -- -- --
      Special Events $554,469 $319,756 $269,203
      Revenue In-Kind $112,004 $84,979 $91,226
      Other $4,359,174 $3,037,668 $3,866,999

      Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

      Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
      Program Expense $3,284,963 $2,906,915 $2,803,060
      Administration Expense $473,194 $459,563 $497,595
      Fundraising Expense $567,824 $532,761 $526,136
      Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
      Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.96 1.94 1.89
      Program Expense/Total Expenses 76% 75% 73%
      Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 21% 18% 30%

      Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

      Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
      Total Assets $19,280,439 $14,666,331 $11,071,165
      Current Assets $1,962,260 $1,166,772 $627,667
      Long-Term Liabilities -- $0 $0
      Current Liabilities $609,198 $168,408 $242,955
      Total Net Assets $18,671,241 $14,497,923 $10,828,210

      Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

      Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
      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 No
      How many months does reserve cover? --

      Capital Campaign

      Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
      Capital Campaign Purpose AFH will develop a 30,000 sq. ft annex to our facility to double youth employment, heighten community impact and enhance organizational sustainability.
      Campaign Goal $28,000,000.00
      Capital Campaign Dates Apr 2014 - Dec 2018
      Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $19,715,000.00
      Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

      Short Term Solvency

      Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
      Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 3.22 6.93 2.58

      Long Term Solvency

      Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
      Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

      CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


      AFH has been preparing the organization to undertake expansion for several years. In addition to our feasibility research, AFH worked with the Nonprofit Finance Fund and other advisors and consultants to develop and implement a financial plan to better capitalize the organization. This plan includes strategies to increase and diversify contributed income from institutional and individual sources, grow earned income through expanding and fine-tuning art product and design service offerings and marketing, and establish and fund operating and system replacement reserves.

      AFH’s financial statements for FY 2015 (January 1-December 1, 2015) reflect a healthy financial position. We closed the year with net assets of $14,497,923, which includes full ownership of our facility and a contiguous lot. AFH’s total operating expenses in 2015 were $3,899,239; and our operating revenues were $4,545,934. We not only closed the year with a $646,695 surplus, we also increased revenues by nearly $1,000,000 from the previous year. This is remarkable during a capital campaign and reflects strong contributed and earned income strategies. Please note that this surplus only reflects operating revenues; capital revenues are recorded separately and do not impact our annual profit and loss.

      AFH’s financial position for 2016 continues to look bright. While still closing the books for the year, projections based on comparisons of Q4 expenses and revenues suggest that AFH that we will again end the year with a surplus. Moreover, we entered 2017 with more than $900,000 secured in grants and contracts to support operations. This is remarkable during a capital campaign and reflects strong contributed and earned income strategies.

      AFH sees facility expansion as an integral way to achieve better capitalization for long-term organizational sustainability. Our capital campaign includes a $4,500,000 Program and Innovation Fund to establish operating reserves, seed funding for program development, and an endowment. More importantly, through scaled programming, AFH expects to earn nearly 60% or $5,335,000 of our projected $8,803,000 in operating expenses by 2021. These measures will safeguard the organization for years to come.

      AFH also understands that strong staff and volunteer leadership are essential to a successful campaign. We continue to thoughtfully and strategically expand our Board of Directors, with emphasis on capabilities in areas such as strategic planning, fundraising, business development, finance, and public relations. Similarly, we are building our Board of Advisors to strengthen our business contacts and funding resources. Advisors personally contribute $2,500 or more annually, and help sustain the organization.

      Foundation Comments

      Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's audited financials. Please note, Other revenue for FY16, FY15 & FY14 reflects capital contributions and donated capital services.


      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?

      AFH’s overarching goal is to create social change by changing the trajectories for under-resourced urban teens through paid employment, experiential arts and STEM learning, intensive mentorship, academic support and an introduction to exciting career possibilities. We meet this goal by employing 250 Boston teens annually during their critical out-of-school hours, and preparing each and every young person for multiple pathways of success.

      Following a paid apprenticeship model, AFH partners youth, with little or no experience, over a prolonged time period with professional designers; 70% of youth participate for more than one year. Youth and design mentors collaborate on innovative projects that promote active learning and advanced skills development in creativity, media, collaboration, technology, critical-thinking, problem-solving and STEM concepts.

      AFH’s studios feature a small group structure of 7-12 youth working alongside a professional design mentor, involving one-on-one tutelage. This individual attention enables the mentor to introduce new concepts, discuss the work’s direction, give constructive advice on techniques, and ensure that each participant is working to his/her potential. Youth are further encouraged to self-direct by choosing subject matter, researching ideas/images, and exploring techniques of choice. Group critique strengthens communication and critical analysis.

      But it is AFH’s enterprise component that truly empowers youth as leaders in commerce. Commissioned projects require apprentices to focus attention, listen carefully and craft a product that responds to client needs. Youth have positive and encouraging interactions with adults who value their work and appreciate their contributions. They participate in planning, product development and marketing of projects. As in any job, they are expected to be punctual, treat the work seriously and function as team members. Unlike most jobs available to teens, young people are directly involved in client negotiations and meetings, giving them an important introduction to the professional world.

      AFH further prepares teens for today’s global knowledge-based economy by ensuring they have access to computer literacy, digital media, STEM concepts and advanced technological training. Significantly, the combined experiences and skills gained at AFH are the same ones defined by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills as necessary for academic, career and life success (

      AFH also reinforces the teens’ work and experiential learning with robust academic support systems, including:

      • High School Credit Bearing Program – Through a partnership with BPS Arts Expansion, AFH youth employees at under-performing schools can earn high school credits for the integrated arts education they receive while working at AFH.
      • Integrated Arts and STEM Learning – AFH mentors highlight the STEM concepts embedded in AFH projects and practices to better connect youth with their school learning and expose them to STEM careers.
      • Literacy Through the Arts – All teens craft and refine artist statements, reflection pieces, and descriptions of STEM use in art making.
      • After-Work Tutoring – As needed, AFH provides teens with individualized, one-on-one tutoring to help them develop basic and advanced comprehension in core subjects, succeed in tests, and improve grades.
      • College Readiness – AFH helps youth develop individualized plans for post-secondary education, tour colleges, complete applications, and secure financing and scholarships.
      • College Retention – AFH links program alumni enrolled in post-secondary education with financial and human resources, and we provide them with ongoing employment opportunities and leadership training.

      The indicators of success are compelling: 100% of high school seniors working at AFH graduate from high school (compared to 70.7% in Boston public schools); 100% are accepted to college.

      2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

      AFH makes social justice a tangible reality by changing the experiences of underserved young people – one person at a time – through opportunities. The opportunities to work as they earn money, to use their intrinsic creativity as they learn and master marketable skills, to forge a path toward post-secondary education and meaningful career options, to believe in themselves.

      The agent of change galvanizing these opportunities is the multi-layered mentorship in the arts, education, business and community development that defines the AFH experience. AFH mentorship entails both traditional adult-to-youth training and peer-to-peer sharing in a fusion that consistently cultivates youth leadership. This holds equally true for the high school freshmen entering the program eager to learn, as for the college students/AFH program graduates who return to our studios as Assistant Mentors. Creating in a community of shared learning enables insight, inspiration, and interpersonal connections. It further fosters a cycle of youth and community success.

      Art-making and design are AFH’s chosen vehicles for social change because they give under-resourced youth the confidence to have a voice, and transform them into experts on innovative vision. Completing nearly 800 custom design projects annually, AFH youth have the ears of business leaders and the opportunity to be recognized as equal participants in the global market.

      Promoting youth creativity and talent brings AFH’s social justice strategy to culmination. AFH organizes 100+ exhibitions and public art projects/events each year. These exhibits allow viewers to develop a greater understanding of the young, urban experience. In essence, each participant's creative work or contribution to a commissioned project represents an opportunity to have a voice. Public exhibition and sale of their artwork continues the dialogue.

      At the heart of AFH is the belief that acquiring a strong skill set is equivalent to attaining power and opportunity. We have four short-term goals – with anticipated outcomes – to provide underserved youth with access to the things they need most:

      Goal 1: offer youth the respect and responsibility of paid employment

      • Prepare 250 teen apprentices for the labor market through increased self-discipline, responsibility and advanced skills development in visual arts, business, technology, management, and communications
      • Increase the level of entrepreneurial training through brainstorming, critical thinking, problem solving, client negotiation; financial and sales-based training and special workshops

      Goal 2: provide a safe, meaningful place and mentoring relationships

      • Employ 250 unduplicated participants during their critical out-of-school hours
      • Foster important adult and peer relationships through multi-faceted mentorship in arts, education and community development

      Goal 3: engage youth in a creative community

      • Coordinate 90-100 public exhibitions a year, and complete 700+ commissioned projects for clients
      • Host 75 events in the EpiCenter’s gallery expanding earned income opportunities and exposing new audiences to the young people’s work
      • Increase earned revenues from the young people’s creative services

      Goal 4: immerse youth in hands-on educational experiences and enrichment to encourage academic achievement and college access

      • Provide academic support systems to help teens get ready, get into and get through post secondary education – such as math and literacy training, tutoring, college readiness workshops, and college retention support for alumni
      • Maintain 100% graduation/GED completion rate of high school senior participants
      • Achieve 100% enrollment of high school seniors in post-secondary education
      • Continue development and documentation of interdisciplinary arts and STEM curriculum
      • Continue development of College Retention/Success programming to track and support program alumni

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


      While AFH complements the work of many organizations that employ teens, or empower youth through arts education, or provide significant college access programming and academic supports, what sets us apart is an integrated model that combines all these experiences. We have found that AFH’s comprehensive approach equips youth with the discipline, skills, confidence, and competency to embark on multiple pathways to success.

      AFH’s core competencies include:

      • Youth Employment/Income: In 2016, AFH employed 276 teens, spending nearly $700,000 in wages and commissions to teen employees. 80% of teens report that they use this income to help their families pay bills and buy food. Another 42% use part of their income to afford a personal laptop, cell phone and savings account. This money directly helps stimulate the local economy and revitalize underserved urban centers.
      • A Creative Forum: AFH promotes youth creativity and talent by employing teens to create, exhibit, market and sell their fine art, industrial design and graphic services. Paying teens for these activities demonstrates that their creative work has value to others.
      • Multi-layered Mentorship: More than half of the artist mentors employed year-round at AFH are either co-founders or graduates who have helped shape the program and its defining multi-layered mentorship. As peers, they connect to the participants through their shared urban experience. As mentors, they reconstruct the perception of a youth’s role in society, and regularly challenge the teens to assume increased project responsibility. At AFH, young people have authority and responsibility, which enables the cycle of leadership.
      • Experiential Learning: AFH youth participate in project-based learning experiences in the visual arts and enterprise that demand responsibility, cultivate respect, and build critical 21st Century Skills.
      • STEM Opportunities: All AFH studios are equipped with computers to facilitate media and technology literacy. AFH youth respond eagerly to technology learning opportunities and the chance to engage and create in new digital media.
      • Educational Resources and Support Systems: AFH provides specialized programming and academic support systems through interdisciplinary arts and STEM learning, literacy supports; tutoring; one-on-one college readiness supports; and college retention programming. We assist with basic comprehension; homework assignments; test preparation; and college applications, essays, portfolios, scholarships, and financial aid. AFH continues supporting youth after they graduate from high school and segue to college by connecting them with work/study and support networks to assist them with college completion.
      • Social Change: At AFH, young people sit at conference tables with the CEOs of companies where their work is appreciated; their opinions are valued; they are treated as peers; and they are looked to as experts. Works created by AFH youth can be viewed in museums and galleries, on public walls, in neighborhood parks and on YouTube. No matter the venue, AFH youth artists change the way people – themselves included – view urban youth and their capabilities. And, in the process, they re-shape the paths they will take in the future.

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


      To measure and evaluate our ongoing success, AFH examines the following three critical areas:

      1) Success of Each Participant - To measure and evaluate the learning experiences of our teen artists, AFH uses the following tools:

      • Intake Survey – completed by teens upon entering the program; gathering information about: demographics, referral sources, risk status, goals, post-secondary and career interests.
      • 36 Hour Evaluation – completed as teens transition from volunteer training to paid apprenticeship; assesses artistic skills, workforce readiness and level of commitment; and allows AFH to purposefully match individual youth with mentors based on unique needs and strengths.
      • Self-Assessments – completed by participants at the beginning and end of the school year and summer sessions to assess growth in target areas including: artistic growth, skills development, motivation, initiative, respect for self and others, responsibility, attitude toward work, productivity, follow through, and leadership capacity.
      • Mentor Assessments – completed by mentors to evaluate participant growth. Mentor evaluations are structured to mirror participants’ Self-Report Assessments, and measure the quality of the work produced by participants; ability to work collaboratively; the development of communication and social skills; attendance; effort; and studio conduct.
      • Report cards – collected quarterly to assess academic progress or identify challenges.
      • Exit Surveys – completed when participants leave AFH to assess final overall growth, mentors, and program efficacy; document reasons for departure; and gather most recent contact information to facilitate longitudinal tracking.

      AFH has engaged outside evaluators to provide objective insight into program impact.

      • In 2011, AFH collaborated with the Center of Youth and Families at Brandeis University to increase the rigor of our short-term evaluative instruments and to improve systems for collecting longitudinal data on college completion rates, alumni success and long-term impact.
      • High Impact Partnering is currently conducting an evidence-based external evaluation of AFH’s program efficacy. This includes examining pre- and post-studies of youth participants from the past two years, and comparing their progress against local, regional and national trends.
      • Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, AFH is collaborating with Education Development Center to further refine and test our interdisciplinary approach to arts and STEM learning, and this work will be evaluated by researchers at TERC and Boston College.

      2) Success of Creative Services – Measures include:

      • growth and innovation of AFH’s portfolio of services and completed projects;
      • growth of artistic capacity of participants, mentors, and collaborations;
      • success of individual projects;
      • percentage of repeat clients; and
      • overall client satisfaction.

      These measures illustrate our success at training youth to use their creativity to conquer complex problems and become competent, reliable and hard-working employees. The success of our program translates to success in preparing young people for talent-driven vocations and providing them with a versatile skill-set appropriate for the creative economy and modern workforce.

      3) Success of Community Programming - AFH tracks all outreach efforts (location, audience, numbers, date, and assessment of audience reception). On an annual basis, we document the number of presentations given by local entrepreneurs on their start up experience and continued success and challenges. AFH documents all exhibitions as evidence of the program’s success in giving urban teens a voice in the larger community.


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


      Throughout our history, AFH has taken a series of major deliberate steps to more effectively achieve our mission of connecting young people with the keys to self-sufficient futures, with an eye toward longer-term sustainability for the organization, the young people we serve and the environment. Chief among these was constructing our facility in 2004; ours became the first building in Boston to achieve Platinum LEED certification. By 2006, AFH completed a $6.8 million capital campaign to own this facility outright.

      Since moving into the EpiCenter:

      • AFH has become the largest single site employer of Boston teens, increasing youth employment from 100 to 250+ annually.
      • Our new studios and expanded workforce facilitated a fivefold increase in our earned income capacity from $313,000 (2004) to $1,511,000 (2014).
      • Our contributed income nearly tripled from $790,000 (2004) to $1,998,000 (2014).
      • We developed a successful events program that now generates $600,000+ annually in revenue.
      • Our renewable technologies have saved us over $650,000 in avoided utility costs.

      Since moving into the EpiCenter:

      • AFH has become one of the largest onsite employers of Boston teens, increasing youth employment from 100 to 250+ annually.
      • Our new studios and expanded workforce facilitated a nearly fivefold increase in our earned income from $313,000 (2004) to $1,400,000 (2016).
      • Our contributed income more than tripled from $790,000 (2004) to $2,739,300 (2016).
      • We developed a successful events program that now generates $600,000+ annually in revenue.
      • Our renewable technologies and efficiencies have saved us over $780,000 in avoided utility costs.

      But the EpiCenter long ago reached capacity. Each year, AFH maintains a waitlist of an additional 150 prospective youth employees we cannot hire because of space limitations. We must outsource components of our design commissions due to lack of studio space for fabrication. AFH plans to expand our facility to bring more work and educational experiences to under-resourced populations and to provide for our long-term sustainability.

      AFH strategically plans to build a 30,000 sq. ft. addition to the EpiCenter, allowing us to:

      • Double youth engagement/employment for high school teens (to 500 jobs each year).
      • Hire more artists and social entrepreneurs to lead programming.
      • Expand studios to increase production, access to technology and earned studio revenues.
      • Engage innovation community through Maker Studios, new gallery, store and expanded event space.
      • Develop a pre-apprenticeship vocational training program for 60 opportunity youth annually.
      • Partner with educational institutions to enhance capabilities for offering high school and college credits. Potential partners include Emerson College, Babson College and Northeastern University.
      • Continue to pioneer sustainability by developing a leadership environmentally responsible building.
      • Increase annual earned income ratio from 40% to 60%, cementing our organizational sustainability.

      In short, AFH’s expanded facility will be an urban laboratory where youth and community intersect in experiential and alternative education, creative place-making, enterprise, and in pioneering social and environmental change. It will create a better launch pad for youth to be active contributors to the innovation economy.