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Peace First

 25 Kingston Street, 6th Floor
 Boston, MA 02211
[P] (617) 261-3833
[F] (617) 261-6444
Drew Rapa
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3323467

LAST UPDATED: 10/15/2015
Organization DBA Peace First
Former Names Peace Games (2010)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Peace First is a national nonprofit organization that exists to create the next generation of peacemakers. We view children as natural problem solvers and creative thinkers, and invest in their ability to see themselves as leaders. 

Mission Statement

Peace First is a national nonprofit organization that exists to create the next generation of peacemakers. We view children as natural problem solvers and creative thinkers, and invest in their ability to see themselves as leaders. 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2013 to June 30, 2014
Projected Income $1,810,900.00
Projected Expense $1,810,360.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Peace First Digital Activity Center
  • Peace First Prize

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

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


Mission Statement

Peace First is a national nonprofit organization that exists to create the next generation of peacemakers. We view children as natural problem solvers and creative thinkers, and invest in their ability to see themselves as leaders. 

Background Statement

 Peace First (formerly Peace Games) began as an annual festival to unite children to play cooperative games and share their visions for peace. Dr. Francelia Butler, a professor of children’s literature, created the festival out of a belief that children had the responsibility to create peace in their world. In 1992, Dr. Butler brought the festival to Harvard University, where it grew from an annual event into an independent non-profit organization under the leadership of current Peace First President and Co-founder, Eric Dawson. In 2000, with Boston as a flagship site, Peace First now operates in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York, with requests for our work from all over the world.

Today, what began as a one-day festival is a now a national movement that Peace First is catalyzing to celebrate young people and their potential to create positive change around them. Our work is grounded in teaching young people the skills of peacemaking; empowering educators and parents to teach and model these skills and values; and creating social messages that raise expectations for young people to demonstrate compassion and empathy.


Peace First has delivered successful and consistent outcomes for over 40,000 students. We have trained teachers, educators and policy makers in 32 states and 23 countries – including serving as a lead trainer for the US Department of Education on family engagement, partnering with the Ministry of Education in Colombia to build a national framework for civic engagement, and designing out-of-school models in Chicago.

Peace First is ready to expand our reach by finding innovative and dynamic ways to spread our tools and philosophy.  We have identified two major strategies: scaling our program in collaboration with other organizations; and scaling the idea of youth peacemaking through the launch of an engagement platform, the Peace First Prize.

To further change the national dialogue toward peacemaking, Peace First wants to raise up examples of the power of youth as agents of positive change by launching the Peace First Prize, an award program that will reward and celebrate peacemaking activities of youth ages 8-22 and inspire other young people to pursue peace and justice within their own communities.

Impact Statement


  • In 2015 we completed our second annual Peace First Prize, a national search for young people ages 8-22 who are doing peacemaking work in their communities.  We identified 111 semi-finalists, 50 finalists and selected 5 winners, who each receive a $25,000 two-year Fellowship. 
  • We brought our first class of winners together twice for in-person team-building, professional development and movement building as part of their Fellowship program.
  • We have made our peacemaking curriculum available online, cost-free and this year we have educators that are using it in all 50 states and 172 countries. 
Our Goals for the upcoming year include:
  • Running a successful year of our annual Peace First Prize, receiving stories of youth peacemaking from across the country.
  • Promoting our curriculum website so that more teachers and youth-leaders know about this resource
  • Bringing together our first and second class of Fellows as part of the annual Fellowship program. 



Needs Statement


  • Sponsors for our Fellowship program ($25,000/year for 3 years)
  • General support for our Peace First Prize and Digital Activity Center (any dollar amount)
  • Help raising awareness about the Peace First Prize and Digital Activity Center (media placements, social media shares, etc)
  • Advisory Board members (regional boards that meet quarterly to discuss strategic thinking and fundraising can be in Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or Washington, DC) 


CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

City of Boston- North Dorchester
City of Boston- South Dorchester
City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)

With the launch of our Digital Activity Center and the Peace First Prize, Peace First is serving youth, teachers, parents and youth provider across the country.

Organization Categories

  1. Youth Development - Youth Development-Citizenship
  2. Education - Primary & Elementary Schools
  3. -

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

Under Development


Peace First Digital Activity Center


Peace First’s curriculum for Pre-K through 8th grade teaches young people the essential skills of peacemaking. Lessons encompass two areas of learning: the social-emotional skills of cooperation, communication, conflict resolution, and empathy through cooperative games and activities; and core skills for civic engagement by guiding young people in designing a service learning project to address a pressing community need. Students become conscious of how they communicate with peers and adults, and learn to interact in a way that is culturally respectful and empathic. To promote more widespread access to our curriculum and tools, Peace First launched the Digital Activity Center, an online platform that provides our signature materials in a cost-free and easy-to-download digital format. Educators, parents, counselors and administrators worldwide (registered users from all 50 states and 150 countries) can now access our resources to spread peace education in schools, communities and homes.


Budget  $250,000.00
Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Leadership
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

We want more young people to be learning the key skills of peacemaking: compassion, communication, conflict-resolution and community service.

Program Long-Term Success 

 Our primary long-term goal is to create a generation of peacemakers who possess skills resolving conflicts without violence and have the inclination to become civically engaged leaders. 

Program Success Monitored By 

We track users on the Digital Activity Center and answer inquiries. We look to see which promotions lead to greater visits to the site and more registered users.

Examples of Program Success 

Evaluation data from our school-based program has revealed we made a positive impact on our students in Boston during the 2010-2011 school year, including indications that our youngest students understood the concepts we taught them about peacemaking and that the social-emotional skills improved at statistically significant levels among 3rd through 5th grade students.

Third through 5th grade students reported moderately high levels of social-emotional skills by responding that they always/often…

  • know how to disagree without starting a fight or argument (62%);
  • work well with other students in class during group work (74%);
  • let others join their group of friends at school during lunch, recess, etc. (77%).

 Third through 5th grade students reported moderately low to low levels of peace breaking by responding that they never/sometimes…

  • are hit or pushed at school (80%);
  • say things to hurt other people’s feelings (92%);
  • laugh at students who have problems during class (89%).

Peace First Prize

To scale the idea of youth peacemaking, Peace First launched an annual campaign to inspire young people to lead community change. The Peace First Prize, open to youth ages 8-22 in the United States, is a search for young people who, through their compassion, courage, and collaboration, have been the driving force behind positive changes in their schools or communities. In two years, Peace First has received almost 2,000 applications and nominations from young people in every state, naming 15 of those young people as the winners who receive a $25,000 Fellowship over two years. Peace First is investing in the long-term capability of those winners to be national peace leaders with in-person convenings, individualized coaching, networking, and mentoring.

The Peace First Prize is also designed to share the incredible stories of our applicants, shift the national dialog about youth, and bring together young peacemakers. 

Budget  $1,000,000.00
Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Citizenship
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) College Aged (18-26 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

The Peace First Fellowship is a comprehensive two-year program that empowers winners of the Peace First Prize to expand their leadership and impact while inspiring others to join in building a youth peacemaking movement. Through ongoing support, training, and engagement opportunities, the Fellowship seeks to build the knowledge, skills, and relationships that will drive Fellows’ continued success as leaders and as peacemakers.

The current 15 Peace First Fellows range in age from 10 to 23, and address a diverse array of issues through their project work, including: bullying prevention and policy; ending gun violence; promoting dialogue between youth of color and police; advocating for the rights individuals with disabilities; and so much more. Fellows embody our definition of peacemaking through demonstrating immense courage, compassion, and the ability to collaborate with others to create powerful, positive change.

Program Long-Term Success 

School shootings, bullying, online abuse, and community violence have become staples of news headlines. Young people are often portrayed as trouble-makers, perpetrators and victims, not as the powerful visionaries and leaders they are. In fact, according to Berkeley Media Studies Group, only 1% of media stories about youth are positive. The need to celebrate youth as peacemakers has never been greater. The Peace First Prize is designed to share the incredible stories of our applicants and to shift the national dialog about youth, while inspiring peers.

Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success 

In its first two years, the Peace First Prize has received almost 2,000 applications and nominations from all 50 states, showcasing the powerful contributions young people make in creating peace and justice in this country.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Mr. Eric Dawson
CEO Term Start Sept 1996
CEO Email
CEO Experience

 Mr. Dawson has been with Peace First since its inception as a student-run program at Harvard University.  Mr. Dawson has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Point of Light Award, the Youth Service America’s Fund for Social Entrepreneurs, the Echoing Green Fellowship for Public Service, the Ashoka Fellowship for leading social entrepreneurs, and Pop!Tech’s Social Innovation Fellowship.  He received his A.B. from Harvard University, his Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and his M. Div. from Harvard Divinity School.  Mr. Dawson is a resident of Dorchester, MA.


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

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 11
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 100
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 1
Other (if specified): Indian
Gender Female: 7
Male: 4
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
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 Semi-Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually


Board Chair Mr. Jonathan Mandle
Board Chair Company Affiliation Corrum Capital Management
Board Chair Term July 2015 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Daniel Cardinali Communities In Schools Voting
Eric Dawson Peace First Voting
Rashida Jones No Affiliation Voting
Jonathan Mandle Sterling Stamos Voting
Craig Martin Feinstein Kean Healthcare Voting
Jesse Peretz No Affiliation Voting
Shruti Sehra New Profit Voting
Ray Sozzi, Jr. RSV Ventures Voting
LaVerne Srinivasan Carnegie Corporation of New York 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: 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 7
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 60%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Revenue $3,339,483 $4,938,735 $4,798,502
Total Expenses $3,033,904 $5,551,779 $4,197,060

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $2,117,385 $1,472,347 $2,816,251
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- $312,140 $443,700
Investment Income, Net of Losses $377 $-101 --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- $2,375
Revenue In-Kind $1,221,721 $3,152,724 $1,536,176
Other -- $1,625 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Program Expense $2,115,935 $4,730,269 $3,156,183
Administration Expense $517,821 $505,938 $715,918
Fundraising Expense $400,148 $315,572 $324,959
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.10 0.89 1.14
Program Expense/Total Expenses 70% 85% 75%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 19% 21% 12%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Assets $1,932,764 $1,800,767 $2,275,249
Current Assets $1,359,340 $1,373,110 $1,439,395
Long-Term Liabilities $39,442 $54,161 $367,848
Current Liabilities $536,883 $695,746 $243,497
Total Net Assets $1,356,439 $1,050,860 $1,663,904

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
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 Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
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? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 2.53 1.97 5.91

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 2% 3% 16%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's audited financials.  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?

Peace First wants to change our culture from one that promotes, teaches and models violence and intolerance to one that promotes, teaches, and models peacemaking. 

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?