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Boston Harbor Now Inc.

 15 State Street, Suite 1100
 Boston, MA 02109
[P] (617) 223-8108
[F] (617) 223-8671
[email protected]
Rebecca Smerling
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3268863

LAST UPDATED: 01/09/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names Island Alliance, Inc. (2010)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes


Mission StatementMORE »

Boston Harbor Now is a new civic organization focused on connecting Boston Harbor, its waterfront and its Islands, integrating them into the fabric of Boston and our region, and enhancing the public's ability to use and enjoy them.

Mission Statement

Boston Harbor Now is a new civic organization focused on connecting Boston Harbor, its waterfront and its Islands, integrating them into the fabric of Boston and our region, and enhancing the public's ability to use and enjoy them.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Apr 01, 2016 to Mar 31, 2017
Projected Income $2,977,718.00
Projected Expense $2,941,532.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • On-Island Community and Visitor Services

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

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


Mission Statement

Boston Harbor Now is a new civic organization focused on connecting Boston Harbor, its waterfront and its Islands, integrating them into the fabric of Boston and our region, and enhancing the public's ability to use and enjoy them.

Background Statement

In November, 1996, led by Senator Edward Kennedy and Congressman Joseph Moakley, Congress designated the Boston Harbor Islands a national park area, and at the same time, created a new public/private model for park development and funding.  This legislation specifically named Boston Harbor Island Alliance (BHIA) as the park’s business agent, and established a unique role for the organization as one of the very few 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations designated by Congress as a partner in the development and programming of a park. Boston Harbor Island Alliance is in fact the only non-profit partner in the country that is authorized to construct a capital facility in cooperation with the National Park Service. This new management ideal is being looked upon with great interest across the country as other units of the Park Service examine additional ways to partner with private non-profits to further a standard of excellence in the visitor experience – achieving beyond what is possible through public dollars alone. 

Impact Statement

After $20B of public/private investment restoring Boston Harbor from decades of neglect, in 1996 Congress designated the Boston Harbor Islands a national park area and created a new public/private model for park development and funding.This legislation specifically named Boston Harbor Island Alliance (BHIA) the park’s business agent, and established a unique role for the organization as the 501(c)(3) non-profit designated by Congress to partner in the development, operations and management of the national park. In the time of limited government funding for park spaces, this unique partnership enables the Boston Harbor Islands national park to grow at a pace determined by it’s local community not entirely by government budgets. 

BHIA has an annual operating budget of $1.2 million and receives the majority of its funding from corporate grants and individual contributions. BHIA’s staff is comprised of six full-time staff members led by a twenty-two member Board of Directors. Throughout the year BHIA manages a volunteer core of 1,000 individuals that contribute to the success of both on and off island operations.

Since its formation in 1996 BHIA has successfully lead numerous capital improvement, marketing, and public events. Highlights include:

• $30 million in infrastructure investment since 2004, including new visitor centers on three islands, new piers and moorings for public/private boaters, new trails, picnicking, and camping areas, and on going rehabilitation to the historic forts and structures throughout the park for public tour.

• 150 free, fun, educational events every summer, including live jazz from Berkelee College of Music, Civil War camp re-enactments, vintage baseball games, recreational programming promotingfamily fitness, fishing clinics, and children’s theatre.

• 75% growth in public ferry riders to the Islands from 2006 to 2012 driven by marketing programs and partnerships. Includes increased access to the islands from three ferry centers, Long Wharf (Boston), Fore River (Quincy) and Hingham Shipyard (Hull)

• 16,000 free ferry rides to the Islands through BHIA and partner programs.

· Weekly tours throughout the summer to Boston Light, the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States.

· 1000s of hours of volunteer time organized to clean beaches, maintain trails, and improve and sustain the overall visitor experience to the park.


Needs Statement

We seek the following support to produce world class facilities and public events that reflect the needs of our neighboring communities, and highlight the park as a destination for recreation and fitness, history and heritage, arts and culture, nature and science:
1. Underwrite our most focused tool to provide free ferry passage to under-served youth, Island Pass.  This program is a partnership with over 120 non-profit community organizations by which we distribute free ferry tickets to chaperoned youth groups. Our goal is to provide free access to 12,000 children in 2013/2014 at a cost of $15.00 per child. 
2. Underwriting to restore and renovate Peddocks Island.  Construction is underway to improve the recreational facilities with the development of new hiking trails, educational signage, camping and picnicking areas. 
3. Donated assistance with the development of a new corporate website to further our mission of promoting the Boston Harbor Islands National Park and establish an improved identity and fundraising platform.
4. Underwrite our Veteran's Day cruise (November 9th, 2013) which provides U.S. Veteran's a free ferry ride and military history tour of the Boston Harbor Islands in appreciation of the dedicated service to our country. - $5,000

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Alliances & Advocacy
  2. Recreation & Sports - Parks and Playgrounds
  3. Public & Societal Benefit - Alliances & Advocacy

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



On-Island Community and Visitor Services

As the city of Boston opens her views to the harbor, the Boston Harbor Islands are gaining momentum as a rich natural resource no other city enjoys – a newly clean harbor, dotted by 34 islands just minutes from the hubbub of downtown. BHIA is the non-profit business partner of the park, created to promote the use, enjoyment, and awareness of the Boston Harbor Islands by creating vibrant public spaces, developing critical park facilities, and improving the visibility of and visits to the islands. BHIA designs, executes & coordinates a wide portfolio of park-enriching activities.  We manage all concessions for the public ferry, on-island food service & special events, gift stores and marina & moorings.  Now in its eighteenth year, BHIA recognizes the need to continue our successful delivery of building projects, world-class visitor services, and exciting cultural and educational programs.  Simultaneously, we have identified a process to conceive and drive the next big ideas, and will require thoughtful capacity-building, funding from a larger base, and building effective economic development projects on the islands. 

Budget  $1,900,000.00
Category  Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Public, Society Benefit, General/Other
Population Served Families Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success  In 2012, we saw a visitation increase of 20% over the previous highest visitation year, 2011. By the end of 2013, we aim to increase visitation by 14%, and compound that percentage each subsequent year until we reach our long term ridership goal. This includes increasing free ferry access by 10% to under-served populations through partnering agencies and our Free Ferry Days.  As part of BHIA's goal to increase visitation to the islands and increase earned income, BHIA will make newly opened Peddocks Island a first-class destination during 2013 and 2014.  
Program Long-Term Success  BHIA seeks to increase growth in the public's enjoyment of the Boston Harbor Isands by improving destination and accessibility, enhancing visitor facilities and experiences.  To quantify this success, BHIA’s goal is to increase ferry ridership by 100% over 2012 levels (129,000 public ferry riders) to 250,000 by 2017. BHIA recognizes that this is an ambitious target. Simultaneously, BHIA will seek to grow free access at the same rate as paid ferry ridership, keeping free access at about 10% of the total.
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success 

BHIA and our partners are proud to have accomplished so much in just the last 8 years:

  • Visitation increased by 168% since 2004, up to 129,000 riders in 2012
  • Over 150 free public programs
  • $5 million Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion on Rose Kennedy Greenway - serving as the gateway to the Islands
  • Stunning visitor centers on Spectacle and Georges Islands that host historical narratives of the Islands as well as Jasper White's Summer Shack food service.  
  • Annually, we bring 16,000 individuals to the Islands for free, many of whom are children from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. We have a partnership with over 120 non-profit community organizations in New England through which we distribute ferry tickets to chaperoned groups.  

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Katherine Abbott
CEO Term Start May 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience --
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
Mr. Phil Griffiths --

Phil was the President of the Boston Harbor Island Alliance. Phil first discovered the Boston Harbor Islands when he served as part of a volunteer crew planting beach grass on Spectacle Island in the spring of 2007, and he has been hooked ever since, joining BHIA as President in June of 2013. Immediately prior to joining BHIA he served for six years as Undersecretary for the Environment for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the culmination of a twenty year career in state environmental agencies in Massachusetts and California.

Phil holds a Masters Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley, a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Tufts University, and an International Baccalaureate degree from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales.

Ms. Julie Wormser -- Julie Wormser was the Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association, a non-profit organization focused on economic development, public access and sea level rise adaptation along Boston’s waterfront. Prior to joining TBHA, she spent fifteen years as a senior regional strategist with Environmental Defense Fund, Appalachian Mountain and The Wilderness Society. She helped secure millions of dollars in federal funding for forestlands and marine fisheries in New England. She was the lead author of Preparing for the Rising Tide, a well-received primer on climate change adaptation released by TBHA in February 2013. She received her BA in biology from Swarthmore College and her MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.​


Award Awarding Organization Year
Community Leadership Award Greenovate Boston 2015
Energy Merit Award for Leadership by a Non-Profit Organization Environmental Business Council New England, Inc. 2014
Certificate of Appreciation Massachusetts Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership 2011
Chairman's Award AGC of Massachusetts - Build New England Awards Program 2011
Notable Leadership Boston Society of Architects 2011
Preservation Achievement Award Boston Preservation Alliance 2011
Preservation Award The Victorian Society of America - New England Chapter 2011


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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Boston Harbor Now is in Partnership with the National Park Service, Department of Conservation and Recreation and other public agency and waterfront non-profits to push forward capital projects and activate the waterfront and islands for public use.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 9
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 1,116
Number of Contract Staff 3
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 3
Caucasian: 10
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 10
Male: 3
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 No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
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 Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Brain Dacey
Board Chair Company Affiliation Cambridge Innovation Center
Board Chair Term Apr 2016 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Kathy Abbott Boston Harbor Now Exofficio
Ned Bartlett Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs Exofficio
Austin Blackmon Department of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Exofficio
Barbara Capuano Raphael & Raphael, LLP Voting
Carol Churchill ENGIE Voting
Michael Creasey National Parks of Boston Exofficio
Brian Dacey Cambridge Innovation Center Voting
Rick Dimino A Better City Voting
Governor Michael Dukakis Northeastern University Voting
Jamie Fay Fort Point Associates Voting
Bob Golledge Golledge Strategies Voting
Elizabeth Grob Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Voting
John Hamel Cue Ball Capital Voting
Meaghan Hooper-Berdik Turner Construction Voting
Fred Laskey Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Exofficio
Doug McGarrah Foley Hoag Voting
Thomas McShane Dewey Square Group Voting
Liz Morningstar Boston Public Market Voting
J. Keith Motley UMass Boston Voting
Alison Nolan Boston Harbor Cruises Exofficio
Shelly O'Neill O'Neill & Associates Voting
Bud Ris Barr Foundation Voting
Cathleen Douglas Stone Stone Family Foundation Voting
Richard Walker Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Voting
Governor William Weld ML Strategies, LLC Voting
Lisa Wieland Massport Exofficio

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: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 25
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 10
Male: 16
Not Specified 0

Board Information

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

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2012
Total Revenue $1,297,349 $1,619,415 $3,994,635
Total Expenses $1,771,721 $2,573,696 $4,443,624

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- $230,000
Government Contributions $468,868 $215,217 $3,094,388
    Federal -- -- $156,308
    State -- -- $2,727,378
    Local -- -- $120,000
    Unspecified $468,868 $215,217 $90,702
Individual Contributions $549,336 $930,632 $173,563
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $114,644 $240,177 $278,599
Investment Income, Net of Losses $568 $1,486 $5,187
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $163,933 $231,903 $212,741
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- $157

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2012
Program Expense $1,442,246 $2,178,612 $3,958,213
Administration Expense $189,134 $227,619 $173,455
Fundraising Expense $140,341 $167,465 $311,956
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.73 0.63 0.90
Program Expense/Total Expenses 81% 85% 89%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 12% 12% 8%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2012
Total Assets $1,419,021 $1,738,763 $3,069,064
Current Assets $1,380,609 $1,733,436 $3,050,934
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $250,521 $63,045 $123,662
Total Net Assets $1,168,500 $1,675,718 $2,945,402

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2012
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 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 2015 2014 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 5.51 27.50 24.67

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


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 organization changed its fiscal year in 2013. As such, the 2013 990 covers 3 months (January 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013) and the audit covers January 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, a fifteen month period. Due to the change in fiscal year, 2013 data is not included in the charts and graphs above.
Please note, this nonprofit changed its name in early 2016 from Boston Harbor Island Alliance, Inc. to Boston Harbor Now Inc (as indicated by the above posted IRS Letters of Determination). Boston Harbor Now is the result of a merger between two nonprofits: The Boston Harbor Association and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance. The organization began operating as Boston Harbor Now on April 1, 2016.


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?