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Optimum Health Solution Inc.

 337 Newton Street, Unit 4
 Waltham, MA 02453
[P] (781) 899-6664
[F] --
Betsy Bragg
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 03-0555281

LAST UPDATED: 11/20/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names Phat Free Nation Inc. (2007)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

To prevent obesity, chronic disease and malnutrition, especially in children, through the education and advocacy of healthy living.

Mission Statement

To prevent obesity, chronic disease and malnutrition, especially in children, through the education and advocacy of healthy living.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $43,650.00
Projected Expense $33,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Eat to Thrive
  • Real Kids Real Food

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

To prevent obesity, chronic disease and malnutrition, especially in children, through the education and advocacy of healthy living.

Background Statement

Phat Free Nation, Inc. was founded in 2005 by Drew Boecher and Leto Papadopoulos with the combined objective of preventing childhood obesity and malnutrition by the year 2020. Their approach was to hold 26 educational and fundraising events in the U.S. and Canada that would support educational initiatives designed to expand alkalinity, childhood exercise and other activities consistent with preventing childhood obesity. In 2007, it became a non-profit, and in 2008 was renamed Optimum Health Solution (OHS).

Impact Statement

2016 Accomplishments include: 1)The Real Kids Real Food (RKRF) program, at the Mystic Housing Project, incorporated new initiatives to its programming, including: farming and gardening, hands-on involvement in preparing plant-based recipes, and the Presidential Challenge Fitness program to reverse risk-factors for diabetes. 2) Held two 10-week Eat to Thrive classes for adults. These classes help adults to lead healthy lifestyles through an understanding of what we put in, on and around our bodies, as well as what we eliminate from our bodies. We also examine the mind-body relationship. Classes are fully interactive and include weekly five-course meals, videos, meditation techniques for centering, hands-on demonstrations, and guest speakers. A Health Educator Certification Program is also offered. 3) Hosted Dinner-Speaker events and an expo to educate the public on the impact healthy eating has on overall health. 4) Hired an interim director to assist with growing the program to other areas of Massachusetts. 5)Produced the 8th edition of the Eat to Thrive 400-page manual; and the Real Kids Real Food recipe book.


Goals for 2017 include: 1) Hold two 10-week Eat to Thrive classes for adults. These classes help adults to lead healthy lifestyles through an understanding of what we put in, on and around our bodies, as well as what we eliminate from our bodies. We also examine the mind-body relationship. Classes are fully interactive and include weekly five-course meals, videos, meditation techniques for centering, hands-on demonstrations, and guest speakers. A Health Educator Certification Program is also offered. 2) Enable graduates to consider careers in nutrition and healthy lifestyles. For example, thanks to a grant from the Staples Foundation, two youth explored careers as vegan chefs through internships with Eat to Thrive and the Red Lentil Restaurant in Watertown, MA. 3)Train six teaching assistants for the 2018 Real Kids Real Food program, reaching over 40 participants. These teaching assistants will go on to run future healthy living programs for the underserved.

Needs Statement

    1. Funding for our 10-week Real Kids Real Food program, providing 2-hour classes in the evenings for underserved preteens with their parents. The cost of the program is approximately $5,000 per each 10-week session, and includes the food, program development, master teacher and six teacher assistant salaries, supplies, and pre- and post-evaluations.

    2. Funds for marketing/advertising, including email marketing and newsletter services, in order to expand the program to other areas, including locally, regionally, and nationally. The estimated cost for this need is approximately $1,000.

    3. Financial resources to create a Real Kids Real Food podcast/blog, and to support parent stipends and transportation for Teacher Assistants to buy groceries.

CEO Statement

The uniqueness of Optimum Health Solution is its structure. It is our long-term vision to offer the Eat to Thrive course that will teach adults how to live a healthy lifestyle and enable them to incorporate this lifestyle at home. We see this as a win-win where the adults are learning to live a healthier life and then teaching the children to do the same, changing one person at a time.

Board Chair Statement

Almost all chronic diseases stem from diet and lifestyle. I believe prevention is the solution. That starts with educating our children. Real Kids Real Food is designed for this purpose. One startling fact is that changing what we eat has the biggest effect on our environment. So, not only are we preventing disease, but we are healing the planet. Through hands-on learning, growing, harvesting and preparing their own fruits and vegetables, our “Real Kids” enjoy eating “Real Food.” We make a difference one child at a time.

The success of our organization is grounded in the different after-school programs we offer. As a result, children and their parents are making the connection between what they eat and how it affects their health and how they feel and think.

Now, kids can know that when they're sick they have the power to make a change. They know that there are simple principles for health that they can follow, and that there are natural cures for many diseases.They’ve learned where diseases come from. This is the biggest thing we can do for our health.

Children have the ability to overcome and prevent many modern illnesses prevalent today. Our challenge as a nonprofit is how to increase our reach to more children and their parents. In the future, we want follow-up, especially with children who have dire health challenges to see that with this change in diet, their challenges melt away. In the future we want more YouTube presence. There are a lot of ways that we could get our message out. I feel we have just started to do this, but we will continue to it do with your support.

Geographic Area Served


Currently, the Eat to Thrive program is held in Waltham, MA at the Optimum Health Solution office. However, because of the course's uniqueness, students from surrounding areas attend. The Real Kids Real Food Program is offered in Somerville, MA. Our goal is to extend our geographic area by offering our programs throughout Massachusetts, and even on the national level via webinar.

Organization Categories

  1. Food, Agriculture & Nutrition - Nutrition
  2. Health Care - Health Support
  3. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs

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



Eat to Thrive

Eat to Thrive: 10 weeks to Lifelong Healthy Habits and Healthy Living

The program is based on the Hippocrates Health Institute curriculum and takes a holistic approach to wellness. The course is taught by an Hippocrates Health Institute health educator who uses a wide range of teaching methodologies including hands-on food demonstration, videos, 27 take-home DVDs, Powerpoint presentations, weekly guest speakers, and one-on-one counseling to help students understand detoxification, mindfulness and how the food they eat impacts their overall health. Topics related to digestion, elimination, the benefits of a raw food diet are examined over wholesome five-course meals. Centering techniques and spiritual/psychological concerns are also discussed as they play an important role in the mind-body connection.

Budget  $2,500.00
Category  Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, General/Other Nutrition
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Families
Program Short-Term Success 
85% of our students report staying on a plant-based diet after graduation. Among that population, many graduates express interest in serving as health coaches and serving as Eat to Thrive teachers as a means of giving back. The lifestyle changes for many of our students has been remarkable.
Program Long-Term Success 
The ultimate change we'd like to see is that people lead healthier, happier lives. We believe that a change in eating habits to a plant-based diet will, ultimately, lead to lower health care costs and an improved environment.
Program Success Monitored By 
We follow up with evaluations and phone calls.
Examples of Program Success 
Many students take the course a second and third time. Some students have used Eat to Thrive as a springboard to other health-related careers. Students who come to us because they are sick, report that the raw food diet and lessons on digestion and elimination have helped alleviate some of their issues.

Real Kids Real Food

A 10-week, after-school course designed for elementary- and middle school-age children to help prevent obesity, malnutrition and other chronic illnesses. Thirty lesson plans rotate throughout the school year that focus on eating and preparing healthy plant-based foods, growing plants from seed, understanding GMOs and learning how to read labels. The course is a mix of physical exercise (based on the Presidential Challenge Fitness Test), hands-on food demonstrations, eating whole foods, and participating in discussions based on their learning.
Budget  $5,000.00
Category  Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, General/Other
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) At-Risk Populations Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  The Real Kids Real Food (RKRF) program, at the Mystic Housing Project, incorporated new initiatives to its programming, including: farming and gardening, hands-on involvement in preparing plant-based recipes, and the Presidential Challenge Fitness program to reverse risk-factors for diabetes.
Program Long-Term Success  The ideal change that would result from this program is a population of children who make healthy choices with the food they eat. To see a reduction in the number of children who deal with medical issues such as obesity, pre-diabetes, and other chronic illnesses is our greatest goal.
Program Success Monitored By 
Program success is monitored through evaluations by the parents as well as the afterschool coordinator. It matters too that the child enjoyed the course, and that is generally evident when he/she asks to come back to the program for the next term. 
Examples of Program Success  At a recent Real Kids Real Food class, a student was observed talking to a friend who was signed up for another afterschool program held next door to our classroom. The friend was munching on a bag of pretzels. Our 3rd grader asked, "Do you know you are eating a bag of GMOs?"

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

There is a lot of competition for wellness based programs in the for-profit community. However,the fact that the tuition for the Eat to Thrive Program supports the Real Kids Real Food Program is a selling point. Students say they choose Eat to Thrive because they feel good that the money they are spending is going to support children. Another challenge is training more teachers to lead the Eat to Thrive programs. By offering a Train the Trainers program within the Eat to Thrive course, students can take the course for a second time (or even five times as is sometimes the case) and, by paying an additional fee, gain the training necessary to teach a section of Eat to Thrive. This is a win-win for the organization as it also provides additional income, and expands the reach of the program to more families in need.


One major challenge for the Real Kids Real Food program is locating a school or afterschool organization that can both support the program and requires parents to be on the Board of Directors. This is important in ensuring parents are empowered and bring these healthy habits home. Through tuition from Eat to Thrive, we can financially support RKRF, making it more appealing to low-income area schools with little funding for this type of program.

Another challenge is finding Boston programs that require the parents to attend monthly Board of Director meetings and programs that support plant-based food choices and exercising. Currently, there is no dedicated space in Somerville for the program. The teacher must carry large bulky items such as blenders, food, and cooking equipment. However, fundraising for a dedicated space and/or garden would establish the program as a permanent part of the school program.



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Betsy Bragg
CEO Term Start Sept 2008
CEO Email
CEO Experience Betsy Bragg holds an MeD from Stanford University, an MA from Boston University and has 48 years of teaching experience from pre-school through college in elementary and secondary English and Social Studies, English as a Second Language, and Special Education. She is also a certified Hippocrates Health Educator.
Co-CEO Ms. Carolyn Monica Montalto
Co-CEO Term Start Oct 2015
Co-CEO Email
Co-CEO Experience Carolyn Montalto previously served as the Executive Director of The Walker Center for Ecumenical Exchange, a retreat center and B&B in Newton, MA. Carolyn led all aspects of the nonprofit organization and built the revenue through word-of-mouth referrals and exceptional customer service. Prior to that, she served as marketing director for both Northeastern University and Boston University.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Collaborations include: Hippocrates Health Institute, Ecopolitan, Somerville Health Foundations, Somerville Food Security Coalition, Mystic Learning Center, Somerville Public Schools-Somerville Community Schools, Organic Living Superfoods, Tong Ren Academy, Vibrant Health News, Companion Animal Protection Society, Creative Seminars, Fulani's Kitchen Table, Good Health Natural Foods, Holistic Healing Center, Jublia, K Regnati LLC, Lees on Life, Life Force Growers, Red Lentil, Respiratology, South West Body Spa, Superhealthy Children, The Village Feat, The Welcome Project, We Grow Microgreens LLC, Polaris E-vantage Bikes, Metta Bowl Restaurant (London, U.K.), Veridian, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic (skin care).

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our organization has and continues to be primarily volunteer-run. As Executive Director, I have not taken a salary, as I run totally on passion and dedication. Optimum Health Solution has reached the point where it is clear that we can grow this organization with a lot of groundwork. For that reason, I hope to hire a part-time interim executive director to help build the organization’s capacity. One challenge we face in this endeavor is finding time to build upon the foundation of the organization while still moving forward with our programs. Another challenge is the our continued reliance on volunteers for help and support. However, the major opportunity in this work is building a strong capacity that will help us increase revenue to hire more staff.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 4
Number of Contract Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

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

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit No
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 Quarterly
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A


Board Chair Mr. Thomas Kendall Lindsley
Board Chair Company Affiliation Tom Sawyer Inc.; construction
Board Chair Term Jan 2008 - Jan 2020
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Florence Bergmann Mystic Learning Center Director Voting
Ms. Betsy Bragg Optimum Health Solution Voting
Dr. Brian Clement Director of the Hippocrates Health Institute Voting
Ms. Jasmine Hsu OP Jindal Global University Voting
Mr. Thomas Kendall Lindsley Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Joseph Fallon Lucier Healing Without Borders, LLC, CEO Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Brian Axelroad Jubali Juices, co-owner --
Ms. Kathy Barrows Independent Insurance Consultant NonVoting
Ms. Theresa Drum Training Consultant NonVoting
Ms. Celia Elinson Hippocrates Health Institute Staff NonVoting
Mr. Mark Gorman Community Volunteer --
Ms. Marni Grossman Lydian Center Board Chair NonVoting
Mr. Bruce Namenson Organic Living Superfoods, co-CEO --
Ms. C.J. Wong Merrimack College Faculty NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 3
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

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

Standing Committees

  • Advisory Board / Advisory Council

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our organization has two major challenges. One is staff time to market the programs beyond the Boston area, and the second is the funding it takes to promote and market the programs. We have relied on volunteers and student interns for assistance, but prepping for a food class, carrying heavy equipment, and the one-on-one counseling of students is time-consuming.

While time and money explain why we have not been able to focus on growing the programs, there is a great deal of interest in health and wellness, eliminating childhood obesity, and the value of a plant-based diet. You could say, then, that a major opportunity for our organization is that our programs are very timely.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $43,650.00
Projected Expense $33,000.00
Form 990s

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $35,902 $28,730 $40,520
Total Expenses $25,690 $42,168 $38,033

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $8,195 $2,962 $20,842
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $27,707 $25,767 $19,678
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- $1 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $25,690 $36,021 $29,961
Administration Expense -- $6,147 $6,416
Fundraising Expense -- -- $1,656
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.40 0.68 1.07
Program Expense/Total Expenses 100% 85% 79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 8%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $19,652 $9,321 $21,751
Current Assets $19,652 $9,321 $21,751
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $1,127 $1,008 $0
Total Net Assets $18,525 $8,313 $21,751

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 No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

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

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 17.44 9.25 inf

Long Term Solvency

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

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

This organization has been run on a shoestring budget, consisting primarily of donations from board members, and only recently from small grants (Ebay, Somerville Health Foundation, Staples Foundation) and our Indigogo campaign. As it is our desire to grow the organization beyond the classes we currently hold, we believe that the funds for Eat to Thrive will partially support the Real Kids Real Food Program.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. Please note, administrative and fundraising expense detail are per the 990 Schedule O's for FY15 and FY14.


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?

Our ultimate goal is to prevent obesity, chronic disease, and malnutrition, especially in children, through education and advocacy of healthy living. Providing hands on education to children and their families about proper nutrition, food preparation, and exercise facilitates an understanding of the importance of these activities toward their health.

Over the next three years, we aim to: 1)expand our Eat to Thrive courses beyond the Boston area—by ensuring the course is a strong working model, identifying effective marketing strategies locating program venues, gaining local support through sponsorships, and creating partnerships with schools; 2) establish a Train the Trainers program so that teachers are well prepared to implement the approved curriculum; 3) introduce Real Kids Real Food to other school systems; 4) implement an analysis methodology for the long-term effectiveness of both programs on individuals; and 5) connect with local area universities to offer the course for CEUs.

Over the next five years, we aim to: 1) hold Eat to Thrive and Real Kids Real Food classes in many low-income areas of Massachusetts; 2) hold solid partnerships with healthy-food organizations, local fresh food purveyors, and farmers; and 3)implement an analysis system and/or conduct independent research that proves the effectiveness of these programs on both the adult and child populations.

Long-term success is measured through the improved education on healthy lifestyles—helping to reduce and prevent obesity, chronic disease, and malnutrition. Enabling parents to bring home these healthy habits, and making nutrition and exercise fun and engaging for children will demonstrate the effectiveness of our programs.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

In the past, word of mouth advertising and referrals through past students and other sources—including the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida—have populated the Eat to Thrive class. While we will depend on those referrals for marketing the programs outside of the Boston area, we will implement a more expansive marketing plan that includes:mixed media advertising to selected groups within our targeted reach; increased presence on social media; partnerships with local area schools, plant-based food purveyors, and farmers; local area networking with like-minded groups and organizations; connections with local area doctors and health providers; free lectures and presentations; Google Adwords grant that funds an Eat to Thrive landing page that recruits new students.

Marketing is key to populating the Eat to Thrive course. We are confident that our unique selling point of supporting the Real Kids Real Food program with tuition for Eat to Thrive will differentiate our program from other similar for-profit programs. Students select our program to be surrounded by like-minded friends and gain hands-on experience preparing plant-based healthy meals.

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

Core capabilities include: 1) The organization’s Executive Director, Betsy Bragg, who has had a long, successful career in teaching counseling and administration. Her ability to construct a curricula and her reputation for training teachers in the Socratic method create the foundation of the organization and have been the reason for the success of the Boston-based Eat to Thrive and Real Kids Real Foods programs. 2) Full support and referral from Brian Clement, Co-Director of the Hippocrates Health Institute, who serves on the board of directors. As the Eat to Thrive course is based on the Hippocrates approach to wellness, Brian refers all of his New England patients to OHS. 3) College internships and working scholarships in exchange for tuition to Eat to Thrive.

Other key resources include: a strong database of satisfied students who want to support OHS; a passionate Board of Directors and a large Board of Advisors ready and willing to lend financial and hands-on support; external relationships with doctors, authors, and health-care advocates; and academic partnerships with local colleges that provide student internships.

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

As a small organization, our assessment tools have to date been basic. We have assessed our progress through pre- and post-evaluation, including: 1) number of enrollments in the Eat to Thrive class; 2) the implementation of surveys at the beginning and of the class; 3) follow-up with students on their progress in terms of staying on the course of healthy eating; 4) the number of students and parents enrolled in Real Kids Real Food; 5) the parents' response to the curriculum and what/how their children are learning; and, 6) the analysis of our financials, including the costs of our programs, our break-even point, and our ROI. This coming year we will be evaluating RKRF with a podcast/blog on our website of the Preteens and Parents weekly progress.


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

We are aware that we have needed more support in creating a strategic plan that includes business development and marketing, and fundraising. To help us achieve this, we will build upon our years of success running the Eat to Thrive course and placing the Real Kids Real Food program in public schools; develop a fundraising plan that utilizes our database of over 5000 individuals; draw upon the support of community leaders and other experts in the field who partner with us; and promote our model of one program supporting another.