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Shirley Meeting House (First Parish Meeting House Preservation Society - Shirley Inc.)

 PO Box 1426
 Shirley, MA 01464
[P] (978) 4250294
[F] --
Ronald Banay
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3329076

LAST UPDATED: 02/05/2018
Organization DBA Shirley Meeting House
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

To serve as stewards by preserving the historic character and fabric of the 1773 Shirley Meeting House and by encouraging its continued use for cultural, social and civic activities for all members of the community.

Mission Statement

To serve as stewards by preserving the historic character and fabric of the 1773 Shirley Meeting House and by encouraging its continued use for cultural, social and civic activities for all members of the community.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $120,000.00
Projected Expense $100,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Concert and Lecture Series
  • Historic Preservation of 1773 Meeting House and Tracker Organ
  • Local history lessons to primary school students

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 serve as stewards by preserving the historic character and fabric of the 1773 Shirley Meeting House and by encouraging its continued use for cultural, social and civic activities for all members of the community.

Background Statement

In 1773, 20 years after the town of Shirley was established, its citizens built its second meeting house that would serve as a place for town government and worship.  In those early years, the citizens of Shirley assembled here to discuss supporting the cause of patriots and to vote on June 27, 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain. It was from this building that a group of Shirley's farmers marched toward Boston to defend their freedom in the first days of the American Revolution.  In 1804 a bell tower was added to the simple barnlike meeting house to call people to meetings. Additional alterations were made throughout the nineteenth century and, when the new Town Hall was constructed nearby in 1847, the meeting house was moved to its present location from its original site near the center of the Common.  This move created the visual and architectural balance that makes Shirley Center Common, as environmentalist and Shirley resident Benton MacKaye stated, "the symbol of a whole way of life -scenic, cultural and political".   Following the dissolution of the Unitarian parish in Shirley in 1945, a group of citizens took responsibility for preserving the building and in 1995 they formally incorporated as a  501c-3 non-profit corporation.  A performance space replaced the Victorian pulpit and a hot-air heating system was installed to allow for arts performances throughout the year.  Civic and cultural events now draw audiences from throughout north central Massachusetts, bringing revenue and visitors into our town.  As a concert venue the building has superb acoustics and offers musicians the use of its baby grand piano and 1847 unaltered Stevens tracker organ.   Its  location on the Common provides a unique rural setting for weddings, memorial services, and special social occasions.    The historic Meeting House is protected within a local and National Register Historic District.    

Impact Statement

In 2017 the organization completed its 3-year exterior renovation of the building, including repainting, cupola repair and new metal roofing, and  replacement of failing foundation sills at a total cost of $123,000 funded all with private donations.   An ongoing source of funding called "business partnership" was created to highlight support from local businesses.  Six musical performances were performed in the building with support from the town's cultural council and the Shirley Charitable Foundation.   
In 2018 we plan to complete the first stage of our Accessibility Project by installing a handicapped-accessible bathroom and beginning the project's second stage of converting the main aisle to a grade that will accomodate wheelchair access to accessible seating in the perfomance hall.  A full year of at least six arts perfomances is planned.  The organization also plans to establish an endowment fund to provide long-term support for the Meeting House.    

Needs Statement

The most pressing need is to complete our fundraising to reach the matching goal of $97,000 for the Massachusetts Cultural Council's grant for the Accessibility Project.
To reach a point where the balance in operating funds surplus will allow for the minimum amount of $10,000 needed to establish a permanent endowment fund with the Community Foundation of North Central Mass.
Establish succession plans for the future retirment of directors.
Expand the number of non-director volunteers so that additional performances can be held throughout the year.
Expand our membership base by increasing our visibility in the town and neighboring communities. 

CEO Statement

The organization has no paid employees.  The volunteer Board President acts as its CEO.

Board Chair Statement

The Shirley Meeting House, the oldest public building in Shirley, sits on the east side of Shirley Center's colonial Common.  With its 1773 Meeting House,  1847 Greek revival Town Hall, stone town pound, and historic burial ground, the Common is a quintessential example of a rural New England town center and is both a town historic district and National Register District.  It is easy to see why the town would be proud of its heritage and history.  However, the Meeting House, now a 501c3 nonprofit incorporated as the First Parish Meeting House Preservation Society of Shirley, Inc., receives no money from the town for its preservation, and so is dependent on its strong membership, our business partners, and proceeds from our concert season, weddings, and other rentals.
The town of Shirley is small with a population of under 7,000,  has a low to moderate median income for its residents, and a small commercial tax base.  Despite these challenges, we were able to raise $123,000 to complete our 3-year capital campaign, begun in 2013 and restore the exterior of the building.  The building now is in good condition but looming in the future is the replacement of the 1903 slate roof.  We have been able to accomplish our goals with an all-volunteer organization and we do not foresee the need to add paid staff.   We have been able to increase our annual support from local business but have more work to do in expanding our individual membership.   Active use of the building through arts and cultural programs will help us to meet our membership and donor goals.  Our present project of bringing the building up to code for accessibility will answer a long time goal and generate good will in our community. 
The town of Shirley, with its large amount of protected open space in the center and northern section, complements the historic character found throughout the town and attracts new families to reside here.  The Shirley Meeting House is a critical component of this welcoming environment and provides a source of pride to the community.  For these reasons I remain an enthusiastic vounteer and advocate for our organization.   

Geographic Area Served

The Massachusetts town of Shirley and its adjacent towns of Townsend, Pepperell, Lunenburg, Ayer and Groton

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Historical Societies & Historic Preservation
  2. Public & Societal Benefit - Public & Societal Benefit NEC
  3. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Single Organization Support

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



Concert and Lecture Series

Promote the use of the meeting house for musical and dramatic performances at a reasonable cost to residents of all ages in Shirley and its neighboring towns.  Volunteer musicians and singers from this area perform both popular and classical music.  Students from Boston arts colleges (e.g. Longy School) gain experience at performances.  Six concerts per year are generally scheduled.   At the annual December concert the Ayer-Shirley Middle School Chorus performs with the adult chorus.  Dramatic readings have also been held at the meeting house.  Admission is either by donation or at $10 for adults.  The Town of Shirley Cultural Council provides an average of $2,000 annually to support these performances.    
Budget  $3,000.
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Musical Performances
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success  In 2017 there were six performances.   A total of $2,391 in donations and ticket sales was received from the audiences. The Meeting House seats 200 and attendance ranged from sell-out audiences to 60 attendees at the lower end.  Total annual attendance in 2017 was estimated at  600.  
Program Long-Term Success 
The concert series is in its fourteenth year at the Meeting House.  Revenue has increased from $3,173 in 2013 to $5,791 in 2017.
 The appreciation of the public for this program has helped the Meeting House raise funds in 2013-2016 for the exterior restoration of the historic building.
Program Success Monitored By  The Meeting House receives feedback through its Facebook page and verbally from the audience at the receptions held following each concert.  Volunteer musicians enjoy performing in the excellent acoustics of the performance hall and return year after year. 
Examples of Program Success 
Alvin Collins, a director of the Shirley Charitable Foundation, has stated "The Meeting House belongs to everyone in the town of Shirley. We (The Shirley Charitable Foundation) sponsor a concert series here every year - We need to protect and preserve landmarks like this to keep the character of the community".  The choral director of the Ayer-Shirley Middle School looks forward to the December concert because its gives the middle school students their first experience in performing for
the public with adults in a non-school environment.  It gives them confidence and pride in their accomplishments.   Volunteer musicians enjoy sharing their music in a welcoming venue.

Historic Preservation of 1773 Meeting House and Tracker Organ

The Shirley Meeting House substantially retains its historic fabric dating to its construction in 1773. The main hall has the same dimensions as in 1773 and the 1804 bell tower has not been altered.  The building also contains an 1847 Stevens (Charlestown MA builder) tracker organ in its original condition and specifications.  Our mission statement affirms our primary responsibility of maintenance on the building so that this historic asset of the town is preserved for use by the community.         
Budget  $30,000
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Historic Preservation & Conservation
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Program Short-Term Success  During the past five years the Shirley Meeting House has received the support of individuals, businesses and foundations in raising $123,000 in a capital campaign.  These funds were used to build a galvanized steel exterior fire staircase at the rear of the building, repair wood rot in the foundation sills, repaint the exterior of the building, rebuild the steeple cupola and add copper roofing, repair the slate roof, and replace the 1804 weathervane with a replica.   The Stevens Tracker organ has received ongoing maintenance at a cost of $700 annually.  While the restoration project was underway, an $11,000 facilities planning matching grant was received from the Mass. Cultural Council and this has resulted in finalized plans to bring the building up to code for accessibility.  We are in the midst of fundraising to match the $97,000 facilities grant from Mass Cultural Council to add an accessible bathroom (previously there has been no water service in the building), bring the outside grade up to the threshold of the entrance, add door openers to the vestibule, ramp an aisle in the hall and add accessible seating.  
Program Long-Term Success  The volunteer organization which had maintained the Meeting House since the building's abandonment in 1945 realized that it needed to strengthen its governance in order to be in a position to undertake major capital projects and that resulted in its incorporation as a 501c3 non-profit more than twenty years ago.   The success of that effort is seen in the recent capital projects that will total more than $300,000 when completed.  We are confident that we have the support to continue not only routine maintenance that averages $5,000 annually but also to plan for future major projects that will include the replacement of the slate roof, interior paint and historic wallpaper restoration, and replacing the leather bellows in the tracker organ at a cost of $10,000. 
Program Success Monitored By  We measure our success by monitoring our financial support from the community, foundations, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   Our capital projects have been completed on time, without funding delays, and without incurring any debt.  In addition, our annual donations and membership revenue allow us to operate with a surplus averaging $8,000 that allows us to set aside reserve funds for future projects, such a repainting the building in 15 years.  Another measure is the active use of the building by arts groups.  They find the building comfortable to use and more than suitable to their needs.  
Examples of Program Success  The building receives annual occupancy certificates from the town building inspector without any issues to address.  The property insurer routinely inspects the building and our recent capital projects have corrected the few issues that they raised in 2013 concerning the exterior condition of the building at that time.  In 2017 the  preservation organization Historic New England (formerly SPNEA) held a 2-day seminar for its members in the Meeting House to highlight the preservation work done on the building.  The Freedoms Way Heritage Association (which partners with the National Park Service) has provided a grant of $5,000 for the accessibility project in recognition of the building's contribution to the historic preservation promoted by Freedoms Way.   Their annual meeting was held in the Meeting House in 2015 and had a program which reenacted the patriots' meetings leading up to the 1776 battles in Lexington an Concord.     

Local history lessons to primary school students

A retired teacher in the Ayer-Shirley school district hosts a fourth grade class at the Meeting House each May.  The students learn how town meetings were first held in the Meeting House.  They create scripts to act out examples of town meeting discussions and votes.  They are also instructed in the role of town meetings on the road to independence leading up to 1776.  The Shirley Meeting House held a meeting on June 27, 1776 to declare support for independence.      
Budget  $100
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success  There are approximately 60 students who attend the program.  For most of them it is the first time they have visited the Meeting House.  Being in the historic building focuses their attention on the subject material in a way that cannot be done in the classroom.  
Program Long-Term Success  The School District has supported this program for over twenty years.
Program Success Monitored By  Review of the program by the classroom teachers.
Examples of Program Success  Students look forward to this program.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Board recognizes that community support for ongoing maintenance of this historic building can best be cultivated and sustained by making it a "living" building rather than a museum.  Involving the public as both performers and attendees for arts and cultural programs accomplishes this goal.   For the student musician, there are not many small performance venues available to them and the acoustics and beauty of the Meeting House inspires them in a special way.


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Ronald Banay
CEO Term Start May 2016
CEO Email
CEO Experience Retired faculty member of the Middlesex School, Concord, MA in the field of mathematics.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Robert Adam May 2004 Apr 2016
Meredith Marcinkewicz May 1998 Apr 2004

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 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 40
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 38
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 30
Male: 10
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

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

Risk Management Provisions

Commercial General Liability

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A


Board Chair Mr. Ronald Banay
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired - Middlesex School, Concord, MA
Board Chair Term May 2016 - Apr 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Robert Adam Robert Adam Preservation Services Voting
Mr. Ronald Banay Retired Voting
Kathy Daly Retired Voting
Emilie Faucher Community Volunteer Voting
Holly Haase Fidelity Cooperative Bank, Leominster MA Voting
Mr. Kevin Johnston Town of Ayer Voting
Mrs. Elizabeth Colburn Mirkovic Harvard University Forest, Petersham MA Voting
Mr. Paul Przybyla Fidelity Cooperative Bank, Leominster MA Voting
Mr. Bryan Sawyer Bull Run Restaurant, Shirley MA Voting
Janet Tice GMP Piping Inc. Ayer, MA 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: 9
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 5
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Building
  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


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 $120,000.00
Projected Expense $100,000.00
Form 990s

2016 990-EZ

2015 990-EZ

2014 990-EZ

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 $25,861 $57,018 $30,859
Total Expenses $11,757 $55,055 $24,066

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 $20,224 $50,357 $24,815
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $4,007 $2,683 $4,247
Investment Income, Net of Losses $87 $87 $58
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $-107 $2,691 $539
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $1,650 $1,200 $1,200

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $11,757 $55,055 $24,066
Administration Expense -- -- --
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 2.20 1.04 1.28
Program Expense/Total Expenses 100% 100% 100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $398,669 $384,565 $338,502
Current Assets $54,569 $40,465 $38,502
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $398,669 $384,565 $338,502

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 --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 24.00

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? --

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

We have succeeded in having a fundraising plan that has resulted in annual surpluses in the operating account.  This allows us to set aside funds for future maintenance on the building.  It is also our goal within the next 3 years to establish an endowment fund through the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts (their minimum amount is $10,000).

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.


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.

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