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English at Large Inc.

 800 West Cummings Park, Suite 5550
 Woburn, MA 01801
[P] (781) 395-2374
[F] --
Maureen Willis
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3050593

LAST UPDATED: 01/10/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names Eastern Massachusetts Literacy Council (1970)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

English at Large is a nonprofit that provides individual and small group instruction through a volunteer network to adult immigrants and other newcomers who want to acquire English language skills as they adapt to life in the United States. Our vision is that newcomers to the United States will develop the English language skills and acquire the cultural knowledge needed to fully engage in their communities and fulfill their life goals.

Mission Statement

English at Large is a nonprofit that provides individual and small group instruction through a volunteer network to adult immigrants and other newcomers who want to acquire English language skills as they adapt to life in the United States. Our vision is that newcomers to the United States will develop the English language skills and acquire the cultural knowledge needed to fully engage in their communities and fulfill their life goals.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $210,000.00
Projected Expense $208,996.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Beginner English
  • Conversation Groups
  • One-on-one Tutoring

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

English at Large is a nonprofit that provides individual and small group instruction through a volunteer network to adult immigrants and other newcomers who want to acquire English language skills as they adapt to life in the United States. Our vision is that newcomers to the United States will develop the English language skills and acquire the cultural knowledge needed to fully engage in their communities and fulfill their life goals.

Background Statement

Founded in 1970 as the Eastern Middlesex Literacy Council, English At Large (EAL) is a nonprofit that provides local immigrants with the skills, tools, networks and confidence they need to achieve their full potential. Our history reflects a dynamic organization responsive to the needs of our community. From our origins as a literacy provider to native speakers, EAL has evolved and adapted programs to become a model of high-quality, high-impact volunteer-delivered services for local immigrants. Today, EAL offers a full menu of integrated programs that create a ladder of learning and support that moves each individual closer to their life goals and opens doors to opportunities for more than 500 learners each year.

Impact Statement

In FY17, with a final budget of $192,000 and three full-time team members, we served 551 English language learners with the help of 244 volunteers.

In our Tutoring Program, of the 155 learners served:

• 90 learners increased their English proficiency, as demonstrated through standardized tests

• 105 learners gained new knowledge of US culture

• 21 learners secured new employment

• 4 passed the US citizenship exam

In our Conversation Groups, of the 434 learners served:

• 395 learners reported improved English vocabulary and pronunciation

• 330 learners reported a greater understanding of English grammar

• 400 learners reported increased confidence in their oral communication

In the Career Access Lab (CAL)

• 62 learners completed the program and

• Developed a resume which represents their interests and experience

• Learned how to search for jobs online

• Participated in mock interviews

• 15 applied for a job while in the program

In the Beginner English class held this year:

• 100% or 24 learners increased their English proficiency, as demonstrated through standardized tests

Needs Statement

Those with low English speaking skills have limited ways to communicate with neighbors, employers, childcare providers, doctors and others in the community. Our learners have faced barriers to employment, earn less than their English-speaking colleagues, have difficulty accessing community resources, are unable to advocate for their children at school, and cannot communicate with their doctors. These are the challenges faced by non-English speakers, who represent more than 26% of all people living in Middlesex County. Access to English language instruction is key to overcoming these challenges.

EAL is the only organization in our service area that provides one-to-one English language instruction. For many adults who want to learn English who struggle to learn in large classroom settings, or who are challenged to balance multiple work or family obligations, EAL is their only option.

There are currently more than 570,000 adults in Massachusetts who speak English “less than very well”, defined as limited English proficient (LEP); more than 130,000 reside in our service area (2015 American Community Survey). According to the Migration Policy Institute, 43% of the foreign born population in Massachusetts fall into this category; the LEP population has grown more than 45% since the year 2000. 65% of refugees and immigrants over the age of 65 speak little or no English.

More than 6,000 new immigrants move into the state each year; today more than 1 in 6 Massachusetts residents is an immigrant. Many come to the United States with college degrees and professional credentials earned in their native country. Too often these qualifications are not accepted in the United States and highly educated and skilled workers end up in low-level jobs. The Boston Foundation estimates that 30% of immigrants with Bachelors degrees and 21% of those with Masters degrees are LEP adults, which presents additional barriers to gainful employment. This report also cites a $20,000 per year difference in earning potential between LEP workers and those with more advanced English language proficiency, a statistic that holds true even among the college educated. A survey conducted by English for New Bostonians in 2016 revealed a high incidence of what they have termed “brain waste” in Massachusetts, a result of the underemployment of skilled and credential immigrants. We see this in many of the employed learners we serve.

Despite the well documented need for English language instruction across Massachusetts, a report by the Boston Foundation shows that less than 10% of the adult LEP population is enrolled in services; an estimated 10,000 people remain on waitlists, some for as long as 2 years. The EAL waitlist for our tutoring program currently stands at 208; these learners may wait for up to 14 months to be matched with a volunteer tutor. Those with intermediate English language skills can usually enroll in our Conversation Groups with minimal wait. But those with low-level or no understanding of English must wait for services, their lives on hold, often unable to fully participate in the labor force or to meet the needs of their children and extended families. These learners especially cannot afford to wait more than a year for services.

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

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

EAL is the only non-profit organization providing individual and small group English instruction in our service area and addresses a national need at the local level. The English At Large service area covers 21 suburban cities/towns in Middlesex County, including: Acton, Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Medford, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Waltham, Wilmington, Winchester, and Woburn. 

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Adult Education
  2. Human Services - Ethnic/Immigrant Services
  3. -

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



Beginner English

Our primary focus for Beginner English classes is to serve English language learners in the high needs communities of Waltham and Medford. Our program focuses on survival English, to teach words and phrases necessary for day to day life.  Offered on college campuses at Brandeis and Tufts Universities, the program is facilitated by student volunteers. 

Budget  $10,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Program Short-Term Success  Participants will increase their vocabulary for daily life.
Program Long-Term Success  Basic English participants will gain the language skills and cultural knowledge necessary to navigate their immediate environment.
Program Success Monitored By  Participant self-reporting.
Examples of Program Success 

English At Large met with Kelley Cronin of the Acton Housing Authority and Sharon Mercurio and Beverly Hutchings of the Acton Council on Aging to discuss the needs of their non-English speaking seniors. We learned that few if any of the non-English speakers use the resources of the Senior Center. Ms. Cronin felt that a class targeted to the seniors in the housing complex, held on-site, would make a big difference to their ability to function in the community. In the fall of 2013, in collaboration with the Acton Housing Authority, English At Large began a Basic English class for residents at Windsor Green, a senior resident community.

Conversation Groups


Because many participants do not speak English in their homes and interact with few native English speakers, this program provides a critical opportunity to practice spontaneous, spoken English in a supportive group setting and make valuable connections with other English language learners in their community. Oftentimes, conversation groups are the only place where participants can comfortably speak English spontaneously. Relationships are formed as both facilitators and limited English speakers successfully get their meanings across.

EAL’s Conversation Groups provide language practice not often available in the traditional language classroom setting. At a Conversation Group, no single person assumes the teacher role. Facilitators do not teach lessons on structured speech. Instead, they provide opportunities to share cultural and personal information relevant to the group so that group members can communicate with confidence.


Budget  15,000
Category  Education, General/Other Adult Education
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Adults
Program Short-Term Success  Short-term success is measured by a 80% positive feedback from participant evaluation forms.
Program Long-Term Success  70% of learners leaving the program will report an increase in English language skills.
Program Success Monitored By  End of the semester evaluation forms.
Examples of Program Success 
One conversation group participant stated, "All the things you did give me confidence and let my English improve and progress. Before I attend this group, I don't dare to say English and always rely on my daughter to handle everything. But now I dare to deal with everything by myself, like going to hospital to see my doctor or going to the traffic office to change my senior card."
In 2011 and 2012, English At Large completed 83 volunteer-led conversation groups, each with 6 - 12 intermediate to advanced learners. 

One-on-one Tutoring

English At Large uses a creative learning model for English instruction. We believe that the one-to-one tutoring setting ensures the personalized attention necessary to understand and capitalize on each learner’s strengths as a foundation for addressing their individual needs. Each program volunteer meets individually with an adult learner 2hrs/week and provides English language instruction that targets each learner’s goals. These goals may include obtaining employment, starting on a path to citizenship, and learning to better advocate for their children in the school system.


Along with 12 hours of training from English At Large, tutors are trained to draw on their own use of English as a foundation for personal instruction, and receive ongoing training and support throughout the year. Tutors use real-life communication skills that learners can use immediately in their daily lives. Using this creative approach, English At Large is able to keep program costs down while simultaneously serving a large number of learners (85 tutor/learner pairs at any given time).

Budget  $165,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Adult Education
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Adults Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  Learners will improve their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills by at least 20% by the end of their two-year program.
Program Long-Term Success 
Immigrants in our 21 town area can speak, understand, read and write English as proficiently as a native speaker
Program Success Monitored By 
Federally approved assessment tests administered annually and monthly tutor reports.
Examples of Program Success 
In FY11 and FY12, 51% of our learners were employed, over 30% have increased civic or community involvement, 36% have found jobs or made progress in their current jobs, and 26% have increased involvement in their children's education. 
Testimonies from learners:
"I think this is a great idea for people like me to have this support to improve our English. I not only learn English, I learn American culture and American holidays and can learn traditional life." - EAL Learner
"I always thought my problem in this language is my accent, and I didn't care if I made a mistake. When I started with my tutor, I changed my mind and since then I got more respect in my job, and I try harder to make people understand what I said." - EAL Learner
"Tutoring is important and challenging work. The gift of our language is one of the most important things we can give. Many of those who don't speak English are unable to get jobs they have qualifications for." 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Maureen Willis
CEO Term Start Jan 2017
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Maureen manages the day to day operations of the organization and supports the staff and volunteers who deliver on our mission. She is also in charge of all development activities and works closely with the EAL Board on fundraising and marketing initiatives. She has a B.A in Business/Executive Management and an M.A. in Nonprofit Management & Philanthropy from Bay Path University. Maureen brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit administration, communications, marketing, and fundraising to her leadership role with EAL.

Executive Director since January 2017, she is committed to advancing EAL’s mission in our service community, and to supporting the staff and volunteers whose talents and efforts contribute so much to our learner achievement and success.

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

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
United Way Member Agency 2017
ProLiteracy America 1970
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Our local public libraries are the most important partner in our ability to deliver services. Most of EAL’s programs take place in public libraries across our service area; they serve as host sites for almost all of our Tutoring, Conversation Group and CAL Programs, as well as our volunteer trainings, recruitment activities and celebrations. While we do not have formal agreements with any library, we do have strong relationships with library staff, who work with us to ensure continuity of service.

We also have a strong Brandeis University and Tufts University in support of our Beginner English program. Classes are held on campus at each school and taught by student volunteers. These students are enthusiastic teachers whose semester schedules fit well with the 8-week, 16-session classroom-based program.

In 2017, EAL joined a consortium of local providers in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of College and Career Pathways for adult learners. The purpose of this agreement is to create a continuum of services that supports learners with these goals. Through this MOU we will be able to refer our learners as priority customers to local sources of education and training, and career services support. This relationship enables EAL to present our learners with more options for their future and then to secure a place for them in the program of their choice.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 3
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 250
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 67%

Staff Demographics

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

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
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 N/A Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Hicham Mouhsin
Board Chair Company Affiliation Hilton Hotels
Board Chair Term Sept 2015 - Aug 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Jeff Backerman Independent Management Consultant Voting
Coleman Carden Loan officer, Winchester Cooperative Bank Voting
Michael Creighton KEW Group Voting
Laura Henry Community Volunteer --
Ludy Liu Community Volunteer --
Eve Nichols Fidelity Charitable, Retired Voting
Matt Roper The Achievement Network 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: 1
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

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

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Marketing
  • Program / Program Planning

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


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 $206,280 $183,620 $188,609
Total Expenses $203,768 $178,859 $181,865

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $109,503 $105,000 $100,000
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $109,503 $105,000 $100,000
Individual Contributions $65,209 $60,197 $65,069
Indirect Public Support $6,875 $7,500 --
Earned Revenue $0 $162 $2,636
Investment Income, Net of Losses $650 $629 $502
Membership Dues $0 $0 --
Special Events $24,043 $10,132 $14,875
Revenue In-Kind -- -- $5,527
Other $0 $0 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $146,151 $148,895 $145,683
Administration Expense $35,102 $18,114 $16,304
Fundraising Expense $22,515 $11,850 $19,878
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.01 1.03 1.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses 72% 83% 80%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 11% 6% 11%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $126,687 $124,175 $119,414
Current Assets $126,687 $124,175 $116,081
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $126,687 $124,175 $119,414

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 --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 6.00

Capital Campaign

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

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities inf inf inf

Long Term Solvency

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

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs is per the organization's IRS Form 990s for FY16 and FY15 and per the reviewed financials for FY14. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


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

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

English At Large is a unique provider of English language instruction. 

Our vision is that newcomers to the United States will develop the English language skills and acquire the cultural knowledge needed to fully engage in their communities and fulfill their life goals.

Instead of teaching from textbooks, our tutors and facilitators uses our learners’ narratives as the guide for teaching. Our unique approach is inspired by the Language Experience Approach – a tool that provides immediate language skills tailored to our learners’ needs. English At Large is a small organization with a big impact. With 4 staff, we serve over 600 learners a year with the support of our volunteers. 

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Just as no two learners are alike, English At Large does not have a one-size fits all curriculum. Our learners have different learning styles, different rates for processing information, and varying degrees of comfort when speaking a new language. Because each individual learner is unique, our tutors are trained to use a variety of teaching approaches. But the very first thing that tutors must accomplish is to find out everything they can about who their learners are, where they come from, their experience with learning English, their hopes for using English, and how English can be used to achieve their life goals.

Language Experience Activity (LEA) has been considered an effective strategy for working with adults with limited literacy because it connects oral communication to meaningful. Linking the learner’s actual experiences and concerns with engaging lessons allows learning to be contextualized and relevant. English At Large places a high value on the learner narrative. Therefore, EAL programs utilize the learner’s experience as the “textbook” for learning English. Lesson plans are created using the learner’s immediate environment. When learners are able to learn material that is relevant to their daily life, they are more likely to remember the lesson. Thus, at EAL, English is taught through context: the learner who is pregnant learns vocabulary and grammar relevant to pregnancy, hospital visits, and visits to her OB/GYN. Similarly, the father who juggles two jobs while supporting his family, and whose wife also works, learns words and concepts like childcare, aftercare, and Head Start. Learners are immediately taught the language skills that apply to their ongoing individual needs, and in the order that their needs arise. In short, the beauty of our program is how extensively and continually volunteers are trained to teach English that is immediately applicable to a learner’s own current situation, as well as those situations learners are likely to face in the future.

Using these approaches, the participant’s learning experience goes well beyond learning vocabulary and understanding grammar. The majority of EAL’s program volunteers are long-time residents of our service area. They are experts in their community’s educational systems, shopping centers, human services, recreational areas, libraries…etc. Volunteers are trained to address learner needs that extend beyond language: how to explore community resources applicable to their interests and needs (daycare for children, access to higher education and job training, etc.). Through our program, our learners gain cultural knowledge and communication skills that are necessary for success in the United States. This way, the process of learning English becomes a richer experience beyond the classroom.

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?