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Understanding Our Differences, Inc.

 100 Walnut Street
 Newton, MA 02460
[P] (617) 5596075
[F] (617) 5596001
www.UnderstandingOurDifferences.org
rlubens@UnderstandingOurDifferences.org
Rebecca Lubens
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INCORPORATED: 1978
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2738924

LAST UPDATED: 08/24/2018
Organization DBA UOD
Understanding Our Differences
Former Names Understanding Handicaps of Newton, Inc. (1999)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

Understanding Our Differences’ mission is to educate communities to value and accept people of all abilities through school-based, interactive disability awareness programs.

Mission Statement

Understanding Our Differences’ mission is to educate communities to value and accept people of all abilities through school-based, interactive disability awareness programs.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $317,000.00
Projected Expense $350,300.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Understanding Our Differences

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.


Overview

Mission Statement

Understanding Our Differences’ mission is to educate communities to value and accept people of all abilities through school-based, interactive disability awareness programs.

Background Statement

UOD is based in Newton, MA, and is a national leader in disability awareness education. Our mission is to educate communities to value and accept people of all abilities through school-based, interactive disability awareness programs. Created in one of the first districts in the nation to embrace the idea of including students with disabilities in the general curriculum, UOD was founded in 1978 by a small group of parents of children with disabilities who were about to be mainstreamed into the public school system. Concerned about how those children would be accepted by their peers, the founders developed a participatory disability awareness curriculum. The program has grown to ten units delivered annually to 3,000 third to fifth graders by over 300 trained volunteers in Newton alone, and the program has been disseminated to over 200 schools outside of the city.

Each lesson increases understanding of specific disabilities and chronic disease conditions with visual presentations, hands-on activities, and interactive discussions, testimonials by other children with the disability, and live speakers who have the disability discussing their experience and answering questions.

The sessions are well designed, engaging, and interactive. Most important, they drive home the point that people with disabilities have the same dreams and passions as anyone else, and that people of all abilities deserve respect and courtesy. UOD opens young eyes to these conditions so they can be friends and allies to people with disabilities throughout their lives.

The UOD approach is grounded in the belief that children are naturally curious about differences, and that accurate information obviates the root cause of discrimination and leads to long-lasting respect and inclusion. With that in mind, we operate under four key principles:

· Celebrating the commonality among all people while valuing individuality and self-worth

· Seeing the person and his or her abilities, not just disabilities

· Understanding that people aren’t handicapped. Handicaps are attitudinal and architectural.

· Learning ways to stand up for people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions


 


Impact Statement

Accomplishments
1. Provided high quality, effective disability education and awareness curriculum at the elementary school level in seven high priority areas: Autism; Blindness and Low Vision; Chronic Medical Conditions – Allergic Conditions, Asthma, Diabetes, and Epilepsy; Deafness and Hard of Hearing; Intellectual Disabilities; Learning Disabilities; and Physical Disabilities
2. Educated approximately 3,000 elementary school students in Newton, MA alone
3. Trained, supported and oversaw approximately 500 UOD parent volunteers, who delivered the program in the classrooms
4. Met the growing demand for UOD curricula and resources to schools, public and private, outside of Newton
5. Completed a three-year strategic plan to serve as our road map as we explore ways to expand and widely disseminate our disability awareness program by utilizing evolving educational technology
 
Goals
1.  Gather information in order to select a digital platform provider and a content/media development provider, to allow creation of a prototype unit of online disability awareness curriculum for piloting and testing
2. Successfully celebrate the organization's 40th Anniversary Gala, which will broaden the community supporting UOD’s disability awareness program – and our vital work of fostering respect and inclusion for people of all abilities through education – as we celebrate the expansion of our founding vision
3. Achieve goal of raising $150,000 through a combination of individual and foundation support, in order to cover the costs of our online initiative
 

Needs Statement

1. Bring in needed revenue to cover the costs of our online initiative of $150,000 in the first year
2. Continue to recruit new board members with specific expertise, knowledge of disabilities, dedication to our mission, and connections to the philanthropic community
3. Grow our philanthropic capacity through cultivation of major donors and successful foundation grant proposals
4. Add a part-time staff member to assist with program delivery in Newton's 15 elementary schools, freeing up the Program Director for other projects
5. Develop relationships with partners that have a national reach, in order to raise awareness about the resources we offer
 

CEO Statement

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Board Chair Statement

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Geographic Area Served

METROWEST REGION, MA
We present the UOD curriculum in every grade 3-5 classroom in our home district of Newton and have disseminated it to more than 200 schools outside the city. The online platform will make our program accessible to districts beyond our Greater Boston footprint. Students across the state, and eventually the country, will gain the understanding that will lead them to integrate people with disabilities into their personal and work lives.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Primary & Elementary Schools
  2. -
  3. -

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

Yes

Programs

Understanding Our Differences

People with physical, sensory or developmental disabilities deserve respect and the opportunity to be included in schools, communities, and workplaces. Achieving these goals is a significant challenge for people with disabilities, who at 19% of the US population, make up the largest minority group in the country. People with disabilities face many hurdles every day – from physical obstacles in buildings to impediments to employment – but the most difficult barriers to overcome are the attitudes of other people toward people with disabilities.

To address this significant challenge to such a large percent of our population, Understanding our Differences (UOD) uses school-based, interactive disability awareness programs to educate communities to value and accept people of all abilities. Our disability awareness educational program teaches students to be more inclusive and friendly, and to become allies of people with disabilities. Since 1978, Understanding our Differences (UOD) has been emphasizing this message by presenting disability awareness education programs to third through fifth grade students. Through our programs, students learn about disabilities and chronic medical conditions, and how to be allies and friends to people of all abilities. Being able to work with all people touches on every aspect of how students are educated and conduct themselves in civil society, and has a direct impact on the health and well being and future employment prospects of people with disabilities. Our methods have proven successful in changing school culture in hundreds of classrooms with thousands of students, and now we want to make our program easily accessible to schools nationwide by moving it online.

Currently we present ten units that cover physical, learning, and intellectual disabilities, blindness and low vision, deafness and hard of hearing, autism, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and epilepsy. Each session is well designed, engaging, and interactive. Most importantly, they drive home the point that people with disabilities have the same dreams and passions as anyone else, and that people of all abilities deserve respect and courtesy. The UOD approach is grounded in the belief that children are naturally curious about differences, and that accurate information obviates the root cause of discrimination and leads to long-lasting respect and inclusion. With that in mind, we operate under four key principles:

· Celebrating the commonality among all people while valuing individuality and self-worth

· Seeing the person and his or her abilities, and better understanding the disabilities

· Understanding that people aren’t handicapped. Handicaps are attitudinal and architectural.

· Learning ways to stand up for people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions

Each of our ten curriculum units takes two hours to present, and the entire cycle is typically presented over three years. Each UOD unit currently includes educational information; hands-on activities in which students learn how people with disabilities use technology, strategies, and specialized skills to live full lives (the children get to experiment with assistive devises); and speakers who share their experience about having that disability and answer students’ questions.

Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adults
Program Short-Term Success  Each year, the program is taught to 3,000 students in grades 3 - 5 in the Newton Public Schools.
Program Long-Term Success  UOD has been presenting its disability awareness curriculum for 40 years. That means that there are now tens of thousands of students who have gone through college and into the workforce with an enhanced understanding of how to work, live, and play with people of every ability.
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success 

“The thing I will remember all my life is that people with disabilities are just like you and me and want to be treated with respect.” - Student, Newton Public Schools

 

“Schools implementing Understanding Our Differences report a generalized spin-off effect: Kids are nicer to all their peers.”

--Thomas Lickona, PhD “Educating for Character: How Schools Can Teach Respect and Responsibility”

“Understanding Our Differences changed the culture of my school. Kids developed real friendships with kids they might not have talked to before. It absolutely inspired me.”

--Amanda Herman Special education teacher (LLD), Los Angeles, CA

 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Rebecca Lubens
CEO Term Start May 2011
CEO Email rlubens@UnderstandingOurDifferences.org
CEO Experience Rebecca has in-depth experience with nonprofit management and communications, with expertise in program development, fundraising, board relations and community outreach. Rebecca received an A.B. in American Civilization from Brown University and an M.S. in Communication from Boston University.
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
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 300
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 4
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 5
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 No
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 --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

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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

Governance


Board Chair Ms. Mary Beth McIntyre
Board Chair Company Affiliation Win-Win Giving
Board Chair Term Sept 2015 - June 2017
Board Co-Chair Mrs. Katherine Read EdM, MPPM
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Co-Chair Term July 2016 - June 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Gary Alpert Gateways: Access to Jewish Education Voting
Debbie Berechman Brandeis International Business School Voting
Theresa Bucher RN, ONC Takeda Voting
Sunitha Das Community Volunteer Voting
Barbara Day Community Volunteer Voting
Debbie DeBotton Community Volunteer Voting
Dana Elisofon Community Volunteer Voting
Barbara Fain JD, MPP Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction Voting
Jini Fairley City of Newton Voting
Kim Freedman Benjamin Franklin Institute Voting
Marcia E. Herrmann MD Community Volunteer Voting
Ann Busby Hill Versado Voting
Linda Hiller Community Volunteer Voting
Carolyn Keller American Society of the University of Haifa Voting
Debra Lerner Tufts Medical Center & Tufts University School of Medicine Voting
Deborah Marlino Community Volunteer Voting
Mary Beth McIntyre Win-Win Giving Voting
Eric Navales L.E.K. Consulting Voting
Elinor Pierce Harvard Divinity School Voting
Katherine Read Community Volunteer Voting
Dale Smith DRS Consulting Voting
Peter Sperber LICSW Jewish Community Day School of Greater Boston 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: 22
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 19
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % --
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
  • Board Governance
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $317,000.00
Projected Expense $350,300.00
Form 990s

2017 UOD 990

2016 UOD 990

2015 UOD 990

2014 UOD 990

2013 UOD 990

2012 UOD 990

Audit Documents

2017 UOD Review

2016 UOD Review

2015 UOD Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $218,774 $214,637 $253,861
Total Expenses $236,369 $203,947 $167,098

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $180,412 $166,627 $197,265
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $24,550 $24,575 $20,004
Investment Income, Net of Losses $253 $187 $186
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $13,559 $21,998 $35,843
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- $1,250 $563

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $162,838 $152,349 $135,610
Administration Expense $40,425 $35,408 $21,319
Fundraising Expense $33,106 $16,190 $10,169
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.93 1.05 1.52
Program Expense/Total Expenses 69% 75% 81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 17% 9% 4%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $185,462 $203,057 $192,367
Current Assets $185,462 $203,057 $192,367
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $185,462 $203,057 $192,367

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 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? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities inf inf inf

Long Term Solvency

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

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s, with additional functional expense breakout detail per the Form PCs on file with the state of MA for FY15. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

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?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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

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

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

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