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Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, Inc.

 145 Bolton Road
 Harvard, MA 01451
[P] (978) 456-3532
[F] (978) 456-2302
Kelly Marchand
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3522717

LAST UPDATED: 05/18/2018
Organization DBA The Healing Garden Cancer Support Center
VTHG Cancer Support Center
The Healing Garden
The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes



Mission StatementMORE »

The Healing Garden is an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a healing community of support where integrative therapies join with nature to improve the quality of life for those affected by cancer.

Mission Statement

The Healing Garden is an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a healing community of support where integrative therapies join with nature to improve the quality of life for those affected by cancer.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $438,000.00
Projected Expense $437,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Virginia Thurston Healing Garden

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

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


Mission Statement

The Healing Garden is an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a healing community of support where integrative therapies join with nature to improve the quality of life for those affected by cancer.

Background Statement

In 2000, as co-Founders, philanthropists and visionaries, Bill Thurston and Betsy Tyson-Smith created a cancer support center embedded in 8 acres of woodlands and gardens, providing services with three components: integrative therapies, psychosocial support, and the healing environment of nature. They both felt strongly that the cost of services should not be an obstacle to care. Betsy and future Healing Garden staff developed and formalized relationships with gifted, highly qualified therapists;  launched relationships with funding sources, and — most importantly —developed programs and services to support and help the many cancer clients in need. Integrative therapies included: massage, acupuncture, shiatsu, yoga, exercise/movement classes, music therapy, counseling, support groups, and more.  Ongoing initiatives focus on achieving the  development  of more of the outdoor horticultural spaces, to include a sensory garden, outdoor classrooms and meeting areas, as well as a three season therapeutic gardening workshop. The Healing Garden has seen an annual increase in new clients, and since its inception, has served more than 1,500 clients from throughout Massachusetts, and parts of New England. At any one time, there are approximately 200 active clients accessing our services and programs. In addition there are hundreds of people from the general community who now participate as volunteers, or in our wellness retreats and workshops and other Healing Garden programs.

Impact Statement

  • The Healing Garden serves all people affected by cancer, regardless of gender, diagnosis or financial limitations.
  • We have developed programs and services which improves psychosocial, physical and spiritual well being, quality of life and the healing process for clients with cancer.
  • We share our expertise by offering continuing education to professionals and the community at large.
  • We are committed to reducing the disparity in support services for all people facing cancer.
  • We take responsibility to engage the community in wellness practices and horticultural therapy for cancer prevention.
  • We contribute to demonstration projects and research that contributes to evidence based best practices for improving health, quality of life and  integrative cancer care.
  •  We strive to model and mentor the design and development of  healing spaces.

Needs Statement

The Healing Garden operating budget is supported almost entirely by small grants, fundraising events and individual donors. With limited resources our staff is small and needs are many.

Pressing needs include:
  • Grants and major gifts for operational expenses which underwrites low to no fee care
  • Expressive Art Therapy program ($10,000 - $20,000)
  • Quarterly newsletter costs ($6,000 annually) 
  • Lighting for program/project classroom ( $3,000)
  • Landscape/Garden/Architectural donors to complete horticultural classroom to include a 3 season therapeutic garden workshop
  • Fund-A-Need restricted donations to reduce financial barriers for clients ($12,000 annually)
  • Board Members to enhance fundraising potential



CEO Statement

In the arena of Integrative Medicine, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Therapy, the Healing Garden stands alone in its ability to provide therapeutic services and programs while integrating Nature.  One of the founding principles for the design of the center is that it incorporates the healing properties of nature –  designed to be used for meditation, contemplation and exploration of the resiliency and adaptive qualities in nature and of the human condition. The integrative therapies including but not limited to massage, acupuncture, QiGong, Yoga, counseling, expressive art and music therapy,  in the setting of nature lends  to bringing together the healing of mind, body and spirit. The facility was purposefully designed to include large windows in every room which overlook the woodlands, the gardens, the water features, the weather elements and more.  Many hospitals and cancer centers offer massage and acupuncture as complements to chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgical procedures to treat/cure cancer, they are offered in an institutional, medical facility as an adjunct to traditional care rather than as a part of a holistic approach to improving quality of life, stress reduction and healing for the whole human being.   There is no other center in MA which offers the breadth and depth of supportive health care in a natural setting designed for healing.

Board Chair Statement

When you are told you “have cancer” it changes your entire life. You wake up to a different world and are faced with enormous challenges.  The Healing Garden is dedicated to integrating the practice of complementary therapies into traditional cancer treatment.

The Healing Garden provides integrative/complementary therapies and education to patients and families and advances the knowledge of the effectiveness and outcomes of integrative therapies through peer-reviewed, evidence-based clinical research. Therapies such as acupuncture, massage, Reiki help our clients cope with the challenges of cancer treatment and help them to improve their quality of life. The clients who come to the Healing Garden find comfort and strength by combining therapies given in a tranquil healing environment set in nature.

Geographic Area Served

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

The Healing Garden serves more than 165 communities throughout Massachusetts and parts of New England.

Organization Categories

  1. Health Care - Patient & Family Support
  2. Mental Health & Crisis Intervention - Support NEC
  3. -

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



Virginia Thurston Healing Garden

We offer the following support groups to our clients:  In Treatment, Post Treatment, Living with Metastatic Cancer, Ovarian Group, Young Women’s Group, Caregiver Group, Bereavement Group, Parents of Clients Group, and Client and Caregiver Group. We also offer individual counseling and family counseling, meditation/visualization training, nutritional counseling, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, Reiki, Shiatsu, Jin Shin Jyutsu, expressive therapy with art and sound, yoga, QiGong and Tai Chi and exercise/strength training. We host educational lectures on acupuncture, coping skills, side effects of treatment, spirituality, gardening as therapy and others. Special programs and workshops are refreshed quarterly. The Healing Garden collaborates with approximately 30 highly trained, credentialed therapists and providers who are not paid staff. They provide therapeutic services and receive a small stipend for their work. The Healing Garden operational budget is used to provide the facility and case management for each client and to develop and manage all of the programs and services provided to the clients and public.

Budget  $437,000.00
Category  Health Care, General/Other Patient & Family Support
Population Served People/Families of People with Cancer General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Short term success for clients is an improvement in disease, treatment or psychosocial side effects associated with their cancer. Short term success for the public accessing wellness offerings is lifestyle change that will contribute to a reduction is future illness processes.
Program Long-Term Success  Healing Garden clients will have an improved quality of life, reduction in the physical and emotional stress associated with a cancer diagnosis, increased resiliency and self-care and a healing of body, mind and spirit. The general public who partake in the wellness offerings will develop life style changes that will reduce stress and contribute to cancer prevention.
Program Success Monitored By  Many clients partake in integrative therapies multiple times per month, for months and even years. Therapists observe and clients report profound improvements in physical, social, psychological and spiritual well being. Progress is charted and reviewed by the interdisciplinary team for each client.
Examples of Program Success  "During my cancer treatment I attended a support group that became my lifeline. We shared our successes, grief, fear, laughter and practical remedies for treatment side effects. I took advantage of acupuncture during chemo and suffered little nausea; massage therapy eased my sore and stressed muscles and I even had a facial. My eight year old daughter was also able to attend a support group which comforted her as she realized there were other children who had Moms with breast cancer. I continued with a post treatment group for several years and during some scares I immediately turned to the Healing Garden and was given endless support and information." 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms Margaret R. Koch
CEO Term Start Sept 2012
CEO Email
CEO Experience Margaret Koch has a deep understanding and passionate commitment to the Healing Garden which stems from a long and active role as an officer on the Board of Directors. She brings great enthusiasm and expertise to implement the strategic plans for expanding The Garden to include all those affected by cancer, and those interested in learning to live well. She previously served as the Manager of Cancer Services at the Mass General Cancer Center at Emerson Hospital-Bethke, following many years in clinical trials research in the field of oncology, as the Assistant Director of the Data Management & Processing Center for the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group ( ECOG).
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
Brianne Carter LICSW, MTS Director of Wellness and Integrative Care --


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
-- --


The Healing Garden is fortunate to have a broadly skilled team of associated therapists who provide counseling, exercise/movement classes, expressive music and art therapy, integrative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and shiatsu and supportive care at our facility. Our therapists have demonstrated experience in their fields and use best practices for treatments supported by high-quality research.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Healing Garden provides vital cancer support which is integrated with conventional medical care for the disease. Research demonstrates that with chronic and life threatening illness, the state of mind, body and spirit play an important role in patients compliance with difficult treatments, pain and suffering with progressive disease and the fear about end of life.  However, other than a mental health/counseling benefit, insurers do not yet provide coverage for the whole array of support services that are in demand by both healthcare providers as well as patients. Cancer, in addition to being a chronic illness, is one of the most expensive illnesses to manage,often  resulting in personal financial bankruptcy in less than three years. As a result, it is only available to all through constant fund raising, and charitable giving. 

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 5
Number of Volunteers 35
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

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

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Ms. David Martin
Board Chair Company Affiliation Harvard Pilgrim
Board Chair Term Feb 2017 - Sept 2020
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Marcia Croyle Retired Voting
Jennifer Cunningham-Butler Education Voting
Ms. Sarah K. Hindle Community Volunteer, Past Chair Voting
Ms. Margaret Koch Executive Director NonVoting
Ms. Holly Kouvo Fitting Fitness In, Owner Voting
Thomas Mackie Mackie Shea, PC Voting
David G. Martin Dell Software Voting
Anne Rarich Certified Executive Coach & Facilitator, Learning Exchange Voting
Ms. Pamela Sawyer BSN Retired, Board Chair Voting
Ms. Karen Shea Real Estate Voting
Ms. Ruth Silman Esq. Nixon Peabody, Partner Voting
Jon Way Physician, Retired Voting
Tim Wondolowski Managing Director, FTI 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: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 9
Male: 4
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 99
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 0%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Governance and Nominating

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $606,442 $497,266 $400,920
Total Expenses $413,489 $361,359 $383,274

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $0 $0
Individual Contributions $472,830 $376,786 $375,427
Indirect Public Support -- $0 $0
Earned Revenue $10,334 $10,009 $8,791
Investment Income, Net of Losses $1,814 $564 $0
Membership Dues -- $0 $320
Special Events $120,761 $109,062 $15,641
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $703 $845 $741

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $238,052 $186,820 $209,745
Administration Expense $42,410 $45,237 $45,958
Fundraising Expense $133,027 $129,302 $127,571
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.47 1.38 1.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses 58% 52% 55%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 22% 27% 33%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $1,270,299 $1,085,474 $1,025,326
Current Assets $335,761 $148,540 $106,927
Long-Term Liabilities -- $21,600 $90,870
Current Liabilities $17,156 $8,699 $15,431
Total Net Assets $1,253,143 $1,055,175 $919,025

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

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

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 19.57 17.08 6.93

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 2% 9%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's audited financials for 2015 and per the organization's Form 990s for 2016 and 2017.  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?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


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


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


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