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Somerville Local First

 PO Box 45238
 Somerville, MA 02145
[P] (617) 6845581
[F] --
Kat Ruktin
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3581405

LAST UPDATED: 12/03/2015
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of Somerville Local First is to nurture an environment where the independent, local economy thrives. We educate and engage the community, localize purchasing power, and strengthen entrepreneurship.

Mission Statement

The mission of Somerville Local First is to nurture an environment where the independent, local economy thrives. We educate and engage the community, localize purchasing power, and strengthen entrepreneurship.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $55,000.00
Projected Expense $54,500.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Ladies Chapter
  • Market Series
  • Meet the merchants- Collaboration with SCATV
  • Technical Workshops

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

The mission of Somerville Local First is to nurture an environment where the independent, local economy thrives. We educate and engage the community, localize purchasing power, and strengthen entrepreneurship.

Background Statement

Launched in May of 2008 by current Board member Joe Grafton and his amazing group of first adopters, SLF now connects over 250 local businesses, artists, nonprofits, and community members in support of creating a local, living economy. Somerville Local First is led by its membership and the Board of Directors, working together to educate and engage locals to build an economy that is local, green and fair. SLF changes the way people think about and behave in the economy through programs, events and awareness campaigns, for example: Research has shown that every $1 spent locally generates an additional $7 of revenue. Somerville Local First encourages customers, public officials and local businesses to value the wide range of benefits and contributions local businesses provide and the importance of buying local, first.

Impact Statement

 ● Hosting three technical assistance panels, including a Business Finance Workshop, Blogging for Business Workshop, and a panel discussion on Breaking into the Food Business in Somerville.
● Holding three specialized holiday markets, exposing thousands of shoppers to new and existing small, independent craft and food retailers ● Holding four networking luncheons and continuing our meetings of the Ladies in Business Chapter.
● Being appointed to a seat on the Union Square Citizens Advisory Committee, which provided commentary and guidance to the Somerville Redevelopment Authority in selecting a master developer for Union Square, and continuing to serve as the voice of locally owned, independent businesses as the development process moves forward. 
- Created a new TV series "Meet the Merchants" to highlight our members and the importance of supporting local business. 
-Film at least 6 more episodes of Meet the Merchants
-Grow the technical assistance workshops and outreach/education to the public
-Host a spring fling dance to get people out supporting local businesses after a slow, sleepy New England winter  

Needs Statement

-Staff. We currently have one part-time staff person operating at full-time capacity. We need more staff to manage programs and grow our membership
 -Technical assistance programming: we currently run 4 technical workshops per year for our members. We would like to grow these to a regular assistance program to meet the diverse needs of our members
-  Funding: Our operating costs are currently covered by our members and community members who come to our events. We are actively seeking outside revenue sources to provide more programming and assistance, as outlined above. 

CEO Statement

During my years working as an urban planner, I came to realize that small businesses are the soul of a neighborhood. This led me to shift my career focus to local economic development and small business support. Business owners are invested not only in their own space, but in how their businesses weave together with the fabric of a neighborhood. It is through supporting and nurturing these businesses, and growing the local economy, that we create the kind of livable community Somerville has become. 
Our organization seeks to support these businesses and level the playing field that leaves them competing against multinational corporations. Through educational events, advocacy, and marketing assistance, we stand up for the little guys and give them the edge they need to compete. 

Board Chair Statement

I have been the Board President of Somerville Local First for the past two years, and have proudly served on the Board for the past 5+ years. I joined the Board for a number of reasons. As a local business owner, Ibelieve in the strength that locally-owned, independent businesses bring to the community. A study in Maine showed that for every $100 spent at a big box retailer, $14 went back to the local community. That same $100 spent at a local establishment kept $45 in the community.
I believe in the value of increasing job opportunities for the local community. A study in Michigan showed that a 10% shift In spending from big box retailers to independent shops would create nearly $140 million in new economic activity and over 1,600 new jobs In the region.
Finally, I believe in the importance of local residents being able to open a business near their home, to support their families, and to create deep and lasting relationships with their clients and neighbors.
Organizations that support local businesses and strive to build sustainable and local economies do face some significant challenges. Most foundations do not yet fund these organizations. The primary sources of funding for local first organizations are membership fees and events. While events highlighting local businesses will likely always be a part of our menu of programming, we would like to be less reliant on the funds such happenings bring.
We seek funding to expand our organizational capacity. We'd ideally have more staff to assist local businesses in developing their strategies and to allow for greater success. Our members have many needs, from assistance with their online presence to questions about the permitting process. The more capacity we as an organization can build, the better placed we are to help our local businesses succeed in this time of extreme development in Somerville.

Geographic Area Served

We serve member businesses in Somerville, MA. 

Organization Categories

  1. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Chambers of Commerce & Business Leagues
  2. -
  3. -

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



Ladies Chapter

A networking and educational group for female entreprenuers. Open to SLF members and non-members who own or want to own a business in Somerville. We seek to empower female business owners through networking, education, and peer mentoring. We meet monthly to showcase a member business, educate each other and network.
Budget  $2,000.00
Category  Community Development, General/Other Community Economic Development
Population Served Females
Program Short-Term Success  By the end of the year we will have conducted over 20 meetings of the chapter, connecting business owners from all over the city and neighboring Cambridge to meet and learn from each other. 
Program Long-Term Success  We want to connect the female business owners of Somerville to empower each other and help identify challenges unique to women in business. Through this we seek to develop programming to address these challenges.
Program Success Monitored By  We survey our members annually to determine the programs that work and don't, as well as asking them to offer suggestions on topics. 
Examples of Program Success  We have brought together business owners informally to discuss the challeges of owning a business, assisted our members in growing their business through networking. 

Market Series

In 2012 we launched a series of markets based around the holiday seasons to showcase our local businesses that didn't have a brick and mortar store. They quickly became popular, sell-out events and functioned as a community gathering space. Many of our vendors come back year to year and have launched businesses and now own brick and mortar stores. Partnerships between businesses were also created. 
Budget  $5,000.00
Category  Community Development, General/Other Community Economic Development
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Each year we provide up to 50 businesses the ability to grow, network and sell. This far exceeds our original goal of one popup holiday market in 2012. We wish to continue a successful holiday season and add markets next year. 
Program Long-Term Success  We aim to provide small businesses with an affordable entry level option to start selling goods to our local residents. We offer 35 slots per market and have helped launch a few businesses. We would like to continue this and grow even more businesses in the coming years. 
Program Success Monitored By  We survey our vendors after each market to assure we are meeting their expectations and see what we could do better. 
Examples of Program Success  Several of our inaugural businesses have moved on to open brick and mortar establishments after being able to start their businesses with us. 

Meet the merchants- Collaboration with SCATV

We started collaborating with our non-profit member Somerville Community Access television to create a tv series called "Meet the Merchants". This shows folks the faces behind the businesses they patronize and lets our members tell their stories about their businesses and lives. This is then given to them, for free, for use in their own marketing campaigns. 
Budget  $6,000.00
Category  Community Development, General/Other Business Promotion
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  This is a great way to get businesses exposed to new media at no cost to them.
Program Long-Term Success  We want to show area residents who they are supporting when they choose to support a local business rather than a chain store- putting a face to a business name. We hope that this will add to their consideration when they are choosing where to bring their business in the future.
Program Success Monitored By  We can monitor the success through the metrics on the websites of the businesses and youtube views, as well as social media shares. 
Examples of Program Success  Widely shared and watched videos would indicated that people are watching and being educated about the importance of shopping local. 

Technical Workshops

A series of 4 workshops per year to help our  members gain or expand their business technical skills. Topics have included Intro to Business Finance, Blogging for Business, and Breaking into the Food Business. 
Budget  $5,000.00
Category  Community Development, General/Other Business Promotion
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  Business owners will increase their knowledge and skills. Folks thinking about taking the plunge into entreprenuership will expand their networks and seek out current business owners for mentoring. 
Program Long-Term Success  We seek to expand our members' toolkits and provide them with the necessary skills and assistance to expand or start their businesses. 
Program Success Monitored By  We survey program attendees after sessions. We ask them why they liked the topic offered, if the session was up to their expectations, and what they'd like to see offered in the future. 
Examples of Program Success  We have had positive feedback from those who attended programs. One person who attended our business finance workshop has successfully applied for her first small business loan through connections and knowledge we provided. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Kat Rutkin
CEO Term Start July 2012
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Executive Director, Somerville Local First


  • Oversee day to day operations 

  • Created and implemented business training workshop series to provide technical assistance

  • Managed multiple large events per year to support and increase the exposure of the business community to residents of Somerville and the surrounding region

  • Created the Ladies Chapter of SLF to increase communication and provide targeted assistance to female entrepreneurs

  • Advised the City of Somerville on the overhaul of the zoning code

  • Held seat on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the redevelopment of Union Square, providing targeted advice to help the Somerville Redevelopment Authority choose a master developer

  • Met regularly with the chosen Master Developer for Union Square to address concerns pertaining to the local economy during the redevelopment

Grants Management Specialist, Rockefeller University

November 2010- May 2011

  • Prepared grant applications

  • Identified funding opportunities and supported applicants in budget preparations

  • Managed grants post-award and prepared annual progress reports for funding

Executive Director, Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District

Brooklyn, NY

December 2008-October 2010


  • Oversaw agency budget and staff

  • Successfully applied for and managed grants for government funding for the BID

  • Doubled the agency operating budget in 2009

  • Provided assistance to 235 retail businesses

  •  Built partnerships with area agencies, non-profits and community groups

  • Worked closely with area politicians to implement economic development strategies for the area

  • Successfully implemented placemaking initiatives such as:

    • Identifying and opportunity and securing over one million dollars in public funding to rehabilitate a small park as a new public plaza

    • Increasing foot traffic on the Avenue through special events held ten times a year, such as parades, holiday ceremonies and sidewalk sales

    • Successfully brought NYC DOT pilot car-free Summer Streets program to Brownsville
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

SLF held it's first retreat and strategic planning session in 2013 and has been using that for guidance. Because of the size of our staff we have not been able to spend as much time developing governance documents as we would have liked, but intend to do so this year.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

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

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? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Under Development
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 No
State Registration No

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

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


Board Chair Ms. Jennifer Lawrence
Board Chair Company Affiliation City of Cambridge
Board Chair Term July 2014 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Elyse Andrews Somerville Beat Voting
Natasha Burger Natasha Burger, Realtor Voting
Caroline Cohen CP Designs Voting
Jon Curtiss Cambridge Innovation Center Voting
Jillian D'Amato RUNFELLOW Voting
Joe Grafton The Delta Group Voting
Joe Guilmartin Community Member Voting
Erica Jones SCATV Voting
Christina Koumoundouros Community Credit Union Voting
Jennifer Lawrence City of Cambridge Voting
Courtney O'Keefe Ward 5 Online --
Heidi Shalek The Training Room Voting
Michael Urban Community Member 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: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 9
Male: 4
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 78%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 25%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Marketing
  • Program / Program Planning

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $55,000.00
Projected Expense $54,500.00
Form 990s

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

Audit Documents

2013 Review

2012 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Revenue $54,188 $51,636 $32,000
Total Expenses $47,914 $51,359 $29,654

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$1,500 -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $90 -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues $13,053 $8,638 $32,000
Special Events $38,420 $34,868 --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $1,125 $8,131 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Program Expense $2,115 $7,462 $9,066
Administration Expense $31,617 $30,133 $19,966
Fundraising Expense $14,182 $13,764 $621
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.13 1.01 1.08
Program Expense/Total Expenses 4% 15% 31%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 35% 39% inf%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Assets $0 $0 $0
Current Assets $0 $0 $0
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $0 $0 $0

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 N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
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 2014 2013 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities nan nan nan

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets nan% nan% nan%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

We are a small organization that does not fit the mold for many funders. As such we make the majority of our revenue from events, which is time consuming and takes away from our programming abilities. We would love to find better revenue streams that fit our mission and help us grow. 

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per Somerville Local First (SLF). The organization is fiscally sponsored by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts Inc. (EIN#: 04-3581405), and has been since SLF's founding in 2008. As such the 990 and reviewed financial files posted above reflect the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts Inc. Please note, asset and liability data is tracked at the fiscal sponsor level only.


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?