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Volunteers and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands Inc.

 30 Shipyard Drive, Suite 202
 Hingham , MA 02043
[P] (617) 4807100
[F] --
Walter Hope
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2755445

LAST UPDATED: 10/12/2018
Organization DBA Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

The Volunteers and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands is a non-profit (US IRS granted 501c3 organization) environmental and educational organization that encourages public use of the islands, balanced with the need to protect their fragile ecosystem and historic environment. Our diverse membership provides services to the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area through volunteer programs, public education and advocacy efforts.

Mission Statement

The Volunteers and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands is a non-profit (US IRS granted 501c3 organization) environmental and educational organization that encourages public use of the islands, balanced with the need to protect their fragile ecosystem and historic environment. Our diverse membership provides services to the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area through volunteer programs, public education and advocacy efforts.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $40,000.00
Projected Expense $30,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Lovells Island Oil House Preservation
  • Volunteer Program

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

The Volunteers and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands is a non-profit (US IRS granted 501c3 organization) environmental and educational organization that encourages public use of the islands, balanced with the need to protect their fragile ecosystem and historic environment. Our diverse membership provides services to the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area through volunteer programs, public education and advocacy efforts.

Background Statement

The Volunteers and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands Inc. evolved out of the efforts of the Boston Harbor Islands Volunteer Corps. The Corps was organized in 1979 by Suzanne Gall Marsh to supplement the program services of the Boston Harbor Islands State Park staff.

When the organization incorporated in 1982 the title was changed to reflect the variety of the membership –– those who volunteer on land, sea, or the islands, and those who support the Friends mission and love the islands but do not necessarily have time to be volunteers. Volunteers provide direct services to the park, and conduct public education programs, including boat trips, and advocacy efforts.

The Friends predate the national park which was authorized by Congress in November 1996. During the years leading to the creation of the national park, the Friends were deeply involved in the behind-the-scenes efforts of the feasibility study, the drafting of the legislation, and the advocacy efforts with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation.

The Friends have been recognized by local, state, and national organizations for their dedicated grassroots efforts to promote appreciation and preservation of this unique recreational resource, located so near to a major metropolitan area.

The Friends now serve the national park with its 34 islands spread over 50 square miles of Boston Harbor. The Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area is truly one of America's great parks, with its panoramic vistas, sweeping beaches, historic forts, schools and hospitals, miles of walking trails, and acres of natural landscapes. The organization takes great pride in serving this historic treasure.

Impact Statement

  1. In the past years we have provided over 3000 hours (each year) of volunteers hours to & for the Boston Harbor Islands State & National Park.  Our volunteers work both on and off island.  
  2. Over the past 6+ years we have staffed a booth at the New England Boat Show, providing information about the Harbor Islands and our organization to an audience of over 40,000 participants annually (at the show).  
  3. We have in 2015 & 2016 provided access to several of the islands that are not available to the general public via a boat that we have chartered (islands including Great Brewster, Calf and Long).
Our goal, and very specific purpose of this application is to work with the MA DCR to preserve the Lovells Island Oil House.  The structure is the last of its kind in Boston Harbor, and was an important link guiding seafarers safely in and out of the harbor.  We have an ongoing fundraising effort that can be seen at our specific web page:

Needs Statement

Our needs specific to this effort are varied and include:
  1. Direction donation either through FBHI or funneled to MA DCR (as the owner of the project) to add to existing funds to save the Lovells Island Oil House $5,000 - $10,000
  2. social media advertising dollars to expand outreach for this effort $1800
  3. video production, to expand the current video to "lure" potential donors $8000
  4. production of materials for the 2019 New England Boat Show (40,000 attendees), full color brochure for donations as well as memberships $3000 

CEO Statement

As the volunteer Board Chairman & President, and one of our youngest Board Members, this is the #1 priority of my next few years with the group.  The Lovells Island Oil House in a way mirrors our group - we're the "little guys" in the harbor trying to do "good".  Trying to save an old relic that reminds many of the past.  Many years ago the FBHI teamed up with other groups and the US Coast Guard to save what is our logo - Nix's Mate - a navigational "day" aid that was also being left to time and was close to being lost and forgotten.  Our efforts then were able to pull together people and funds and Nix's Mate still exists today.

Board Chair Statement

Our group is a "genuine grass roots" organization,  our members are not CEO's, presidents, politicians.  We're 'regular people' trying to make a difference. 
Regarding the independent research question (below), we do have and track web page hits, as well as use Constant Contact for our electronic newsletter email.  These numbers prove that our message does "get out", and the 'clicks' on the email notices are driving people to our page or other groups pages.  Our current fundraising effort for the Lovells Island Oil House has resulted in some almost 'instant' responses / donations. 

Geographic Area Served

The FBHI/Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands serve the State & National Park that IS the Boston Harbor Islands, and we have found over many years that a) the majority of the public does not know the islands exist, b) that (some of) the islands can be visited, c) that the islands are RICH in history.  Our efforts at the New England Boat show have further proven that even boaters, while they know the islands exist - many do not know what the islands 'are', or that they have this rich & wonderful history (though almost non-existent boater access does not help this situation).   The FBHI has our boat trips to islands that cannot be accessed via public ferry, as well as displays at libraries, and has sponsored a speakers series in the past that has worked to get the word out.  Our 40th anniversary is next year, and we are currently planning a speakers series in Downtown Boston to further spread the word and history of the islands.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Environmental Education
  2. Public & Societal Benefit - Citizen Participation
  3. Education - Alliances & Advocacy

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



Lovells Island Oil House Preservation

FBHI has been granted a matching grant with the MA DCR/Dept of Conservation & Recreation to preserve the Lovells Island Oil House.  Built in 1903 it was part of a chain of structures including Graves Light (now privately owned), Lovells & Spectacle Island Range Lights.  Now, only the remnant of the Lovells Range Lights exist - the Oil House.  With the ravages of winter storms and hurricanes, and sea level rise, the Oil Houses very existence is in danger.  Without our help, the oil house will disappear.
Budget  $75,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Population Served US Families Adults
Program Short-Term Success  awareness raised and funding from grassroots sources, matching funds by MA DCR have already raised over $25,000.
Program Long-Term Success  grants to further outreach, and grants to add substantial funds to save this important structure.
Program Success Monitored By 
  1. careful tracking of grass roots and grant donations.  grants need not be to FBHI but can be made directly to MA DCR. 
  2. Eventual success - the moving and saving of the Lovells Island Oil House (& a variety of media techniques developed to tell its story - what purpose it served and why and how it was in need of repair, and how it was moved).
Examples of Program Success 
  1. structure moved
  2. multi-media (web, signage, brochures) explaining storms & sea level rise and effects on the structure & island, how the move occured, importance of the lights to shipping (& immigration) 

Volunteer Program

Program includes a paid part-time coordinator who recruits, trains and schedules our volunteers who work on islands as well as land-based volunteer programs.
Budget  $15,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Families US& International Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Program Short-Term Success 
Our volunteer coordinator has for many years solicited, communicated with and "grown" our volunteers by training, scheduling, and trouble shooting their assignments and transportation to the islands in cooperation with the NPS, and MA DCR.  Our volunteers are "passionate" but aging.  While we have some younger volunteers, more are always wanted and needed.
Our volunteers provide over 3000 hours annually in service to the Boston Harbor Islands State & National Park. 
Program Long-Term Success  Identify a 'younger' person to assist our current volunteer coordinator (aging and legally blind), and eventually have the younger person take over the job.  Expand the program and closely coordinate it with the US National Park Service as well as MA DCR & Boston Harbor NOW.  Develop coordination with all current groups to insure that volunteer opportunities are identified and start planning to fill these opportunties.
Program Success Monitored By  Tracking outreach efforts, tracking volunteer hours and efforts.
Examples of Program Success  Team established of existing Volunteer Coordinator with younger assistant; both working to encourage new & younger volunteers (perhaps from the ranks of other groups that have access and exposure to the islands (Boys & Girls Clubs, etc).  Expanded number of volunteers as well as 'quality' hours of time served on and off the islands.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Like many non-profit volunteer organizations ours if seeing our membership & volunteers age.  The Harbor Islands are an amazing resource that is available to the entire public - and our goal is to expand visitorship, programming and quality volunteer programs.
With the Lovells Island Oil House project, we have teamed up with the MA DCR to obtain matching funds to save the Oil House and obtained a grant with the Boston Marine Society.  We feel that the many "angles" of this project that there is ample reason to preserve this structure:  1) historic 2) sea level rise 3) immigration story 4) shipping & maritime legacy 


CEO/Executive Director Mr Walter D Hope III
CEO Term Start Mar 2010
CEO Email
CEO Experience I was a prior Board, and Committee Chairman with the Friends when I was in college in the 1980's.  I have a degree in Business Management from Northeastern, and am currently a Branch Chief with the MA Dept of Environmental Protection (30 years).  I'm a USCG Licenced Captain and worked with Boston Harbor Cruises while in college.  I've worked with the FBHI to expand our message and outreach over the past 7+ years.
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
Lydia Goodhue Public Service Award Boston Harbor Association 2004
George B Hartzog Jr Award US National Park Service 2003
President's Award National Assoc of State Park Directors 2003
George Washington Honor Medal Bay State Chapter of Freedom Foundation 2000
Governor's Award for Leadership (to founder) Island Alliance 2000
Conservation Award Chevron-Times Mirror Magazine 1996
Environment Leadership Award Mass Association of Conservation Commissions 1979


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association MA Forest & Park Friends & DCR Stewardship Council

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


  1. NPS & DCR providing volunteers on & off islands as part of the NPS VIP (volunteer in parks) program - including volunteer recognition in the "Points of Light" program
  2. Friends of the Boston Harborwalk (board member is participating in their events & has assisted in providing a storage shed for tools)
  3. With the MWRA providing information & receiving use of their pump building for our annual meeting, providing public access to  Deer Island
  4. With DCR providing access to non-boaters to islands without ferries on special trips
  5. With Thompson Island providing access to the public on our annual New Years Day trip
  6. With the Lightship Nantucket, cooperated on National Lighthouse day and a special tour for our members
  7. With over 50 libraries in the Boston area providing printed materials and poster boards with information about the harbor
  8. With a variety of non-profit organizations (libraries, nursing homes, boating groups) providing speakers about the harbor & islands
  9. With the Old North Meeting House providing & producing a  speakers series at the Meeting House about the harbor & islands
  10. Coordinating with Boston Harbor NOW on the future of FBHI

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

While we do not have some standards and policies we are aware of the need for many of these.  The founder, membership coordinator and chairman do for instance, share passwords so that no one person has limited knowledge of system passwords.  We have had Director & Officer Insurance for many years.  We have had several meetings internally with our board and a facilitator to come to terms with our need to join/merge/coordinate with another - larger organization.   I am hoping that this fundraising effort for the Lovells Island Oil House is a way to show our 'worth' and value to other groups.  Especially with our 40th anniversary next year - a successful completion of this project would be a wonderful way to celebrate our 40th and give back to the community.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 30
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

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

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

Directors and Officers Policy

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A


Board Chair Mr Walter D Hope III
Board Chair Company Affiliation MassDEP
Board Chair Term Mar 2010 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms Anne Marie Allen Retired Voting
Mr David Dingledy Retired Voting
Mr Paul Federico Home Depot Voting
Mr Walter D Hope III MassDEP Voting
Mrs Charlotte Knox Retired Voting
Ms Marguerite Krupp Retired Voting
Mrs Patricia Leary Leary Mechanical Inc. Voting
Mr Steven Marcus Retired Exofficio
Ms Suzanne Gall Marsh Community Volunteer Exofficio
Ms Kate Riveara Retired Voting
Mr Robert Sherman Retired Voting
Mr Ken Stein Retired 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: 1
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 6
Male: 6
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 95%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 90%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Membership

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our board and membership overall are made up of "regular folks", We're a grass roots organization - no governors, mayors, owners of corporations - but we do our best to make a difference.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $40,000.00
Projected Expense $30,000.00
Form 990s

2016 990

2015 990

2014 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 $28,509 $26,241 $37,135
Total Expenses $21,298 $24,244 $30,660

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 $17,385 $18,101 $8,098
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $8,667 $5,856 $12,086
Investment Income, Net of Losses $7 $8 $8
Membership Dues $2,450 $2,276 $16,943
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $16,231 $16,409 $22,515
Administration Expense $5,067 $7,835 $8,145
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.34 1.08 1.21
Program Expense/Total Expenses 76% 68% 73%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $44,312 $37,101 $35,104
Current Assets $44,312 $37,101 $35,104
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $44,312 $37,101 $35,104

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

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Capital Campaign Purpose
We are in a Capital Campaign - specifically for the Lovells Island Oil House preservation project. 
Funds can be either donated via to FBHI or as in the case of the Boston Marine Society - the award was made to FBHI, but check directly deposited the MA DCR for the fundraising effort & matching funds.
Campaign Goal $75,000.00
Capital Campaign Dates Sept 2018 - Sept 2020
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $25,875.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

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

Our annual budget is in the $34,000 range, we have a volunteer that is experienced with tax returns complete our 990's and other tax related forms, our only paid staffer is a very part-time volunteer coordinator.  All other expenses are primarily for operations (phone, web page, supplies).  We run a very grass-roots & lean organization.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not 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?

We're hoping to raise sufficient funds to not only save & preserve the Lovells Island Oil House, but also move it to higher ground on Lovells Island. Multiple "angles" for telling the story for fundraising (& after project completion) exist including:

  • immigration
  • shipping
  • sea level rise

It is hoped that the DCR & US NPS will be able to use student conservation workers to accomplish this project, which would provide a youth educational "component" as well. Ultimately we hope to preserve a last of it's kind structure that played a small part in Boston Harbor's maritime history.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

We have already started this project with many steps:
  1. Approval by MA DCR for the project & matching funds 
  2. Grant from Boston Marine Society
  3. FBHI has already put in funds as well that were combined with Boston Marine Society funds and matched with DCR.
  4. DCR has stated that this will be a 2 year project
  5. Specific fundraising page on our web page has been created & is soliciting funds
  6. Facebook fundraising page has been created and is soliciting funds
  7. Future outreach will include press releases to local newspapers and publications/media as well as topic specific parties of interest
  8. In addition to this grant applications, in the next 1 1/2 years additional grant applications will be submitted to other organizations. 

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

The FBHI has in the past successfully saved the Nix's Mate navigational aid structure in the harbor, had a native species nursery on Long Island, and has provided 3000+ hours of on & off island volunteers over many years.    Our board & Chairman are working to make this project a focus of our 40th Anniversary celebration which will include a public series of speakers at the Old North Meeting House in Downtown Boston.

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

  1. funds are raised & matched with MA DCR
  2. DCR coordinates all aspects of the preservation & moving of the Oil House
  3. Oil House is moved to a new & safer location 

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

Major donors are just now being sought and will continue to be solicited in the coming year.  Our outreach data using our existing membership & mailing list (email) of primarily grass-roots contacts, has resulted some donations - but more are needed to make this a reality.