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Children's Room - Center For Grieving Children & Teenagers, Inc.

 1210 Massachusetts Avenue
 Arlington, MA 02476
[P] (781) 641-4741 x x227
[F] (781) 641-0012
www.childrensroom.org
kim@childrensroom.org
Kim Cayer
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INCORPORATED: 1996
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3316013

LAST UPDATED: 11/25/2016
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

The Children’s Room creates safe, supportive communities so that no child, teen or family has to grieve alone.
 
The Children’s Room was founded on the belief that every child, teen and family grieving a death deserves a safe, supportive and understanding environment. 

We seek
to broaden our impact by expanding our support services and educational outreach and deepening our community collaborations. 
 

We aspire to be a leader in the field of grief support and a catalyst in transforming society’s understanding of grief.

We envision a world where understanding and patience allow loss to be integrated into our lives and lead to greater compassion, hope and growth.

The Children’s Room culture and all its services reflect the following fundamental beliefs.

  • Grief is a natural and healthy response to death.
  • Everyone experiences grief in a unique way.
  • The experience of grief does not end, but changes over time.
  • Within each of us there is a natural capacity to adapt to a world changed by death.
  • Being with others who have experienced a death reduces isolation and can provide hope.
  • Grief is transformative and can lead to personal growth not previously imagined.

Mission Statement

The Children’s Room creates safe, supportive communities so that no child, teen or family has to grieve alone.
 
The Children’s Room was founded on the belief that every child, teen and family grieving a death deserves a safe, supportive and understanding environment. 

We seek
to broaden our impact by expanding our support services and educational outreach and deepening our community collaborations. 
 

We aspire to be a leader in the field of grief support and a catalyst in transforming society’s understanding of grief.

We envision a world where understanding and patience allow loss to be integrated into our lives and lead to greater compassion, hope and growth.

The Children’s Room culture and all its services reflect the following fundamental beliefs.

  • Grief is a natural and healthy response to death.
  • Everyone experiences grief in a unique way.
  • The experience of grief does not end, but changes over time.
  • Within each of us there is a natural capacity to adapt to a world changed by death.
  • Being with others who have experienced a death reduces isolation and can provide hope.
  • Grief is transformative and can lead to personal growth not previously imagined.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2014 to Sept 30, 2015
Projected Income $901,000.00
Projected Expense $886,200.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • 1) GRIEF SUPPORT SERVICES FOR CHILDREN, TEENS AND FAMILIES
  • 2) BEREAVEMENT EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH
  • 3) INFORMATION AND REFERRAL

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

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


Overview

Mission Statement

The Children’s Room creates safe, supportive communities so that no child, teen or family has to grieve alone.
 
The Children’s Room was founded on the belief that every child, teen and family grieving a death deserves a safe, supportive and understanding environment. 

We seek
to broaden our impact by expanding our support services and educational outreach and deepening our community collaborations. 
 

We aspire to be a leader in the field of grief support and a catalyst in transforming society’s understanding of grief.

We envision a world where understanding and patience allow loss to be integrated into our lives and lead to greater compassion, hope and growth.

The Children’s Room culture and all its services reflect the following fundamental beliefs.

  • Grief is a natural and healthy response to death.
  • Everyone experiences grief in a unique way.
  • The experience of grief does not end, but changes over time.
  • Within each of us there is a natural capacity to adapt to a world changed by death.
  • Being with others who have experienced a death reduces isolation and can provide hope.
  • Grief is transformative and can lead to personal growth not previously imagined.

Background Statement

The Children’s Room began in 1993 when a group of hospice health care professionals trained with the internationally respected Dougy Center for Grieving Children in Portland, Oregon. After several years under the umbrella of a community hospice center, The Children’s Room obtained its 501(c)3 designation in 1996 and opened in a church basement in Arlington, Massachusetts. It started with 9 children, 7 families and 8 experienced volunteers. The participant base quadrupled in just over a year and since then has surpassed that number many times over. Through the vision and inspiration of its founders, Phyllis Silverman, Ph.D., and Judy Oliver, The Children’s Room has grown into an established and respected organization that fills a critical need in eastern Massachusetts communities. The Children’s Room peer support program was originally modeled after the Dougy Center which developed the model 30 years ago. Our programs and services have changed over the years in response to community needs. As a member of the National Alliance for Grieving Children, we collaborate with similar organizations across the country to share knowledge and experience and develop best practices. The Children’s Room also has conducted a series of interviews with former participants in its program to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. We are currently in conversation with colleagues across the country about developing a standardized tool to measure our program effectiveness.
 
Guiding Principles
 
The Children’s Room culture and all its services reflect the following fundamental beliefs.
  • Grief is a natural and healthy response to death.
  • Everyone experiences grief in a unique way.
  • The experience of grief does not end, but changes over time.
  • Within each of us there is a natural capacity to adapt to a world changed by death.
  • Being with others who have experienced a death reduces isolation and can provide hope.
  • Grief is transformative and can lead to personal growth not previously imagined.

Impact Statement

Thanks to over 2,000 donors and over one hundred volunteers, The Children’s Room has made an extraordinary impact on the communities we serve. As the leading non-profit grief center in Massachusetts, families from over 80 communities have turned to us for caring support. In the past year, we:

• Provided free peer support groups for over 300 grieving children, teens, and adults utilizing professional staff and 60 volunteers who donated approximately 6,000 hours.

• Conducted education and training programs for 925 professionals in school, healthcare, and community settings. Trainings provided language, tools, and strategies that enable participants to better respond to the needs of grieving children and families.

• Offered new community-based peer support groups at two Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, enabling TCR to serve youth in diverse communities who may not otherwise have access to affordable grief support.

• Provided nearly 150 hours of free information and referral support via telephone to nearly 350 individuals seeking grief related resources.

• Hired our first Clinical Director to support program development and expansion, especially concentrating in the areas of education, professional training, and further developing our internship program for graduate and undergraduate students..

In fiscal year 2014, we hired our first full time Director of Development to support long-term organizational sustainability.

In fiscal year 2013, we created additional program space by renovating the basement of our Arlington home. Now all three main levels of our center are entirely devoted to services for families and professionals.


Needs Statement

Our most pressing needs:

  • Expand  peer support groups. The need for our peer support services to alleviate feelings of isolation continues to significantly exceed our capacity to provide them. More peer groups are needed in schools and other community settings.
  • Increase outreach and education. Not all children and families who need our services have access to our center. We need to increase outreach and education to provide help in their communities so that we can be a catalyst to transform society’s understanding of grief and to be a leader in the field of grief support.
  • Improved cash reserves. TCR has loyal multi-year donors and dramatically increased its revenues recently with more than 2,000 donors, but on-going operations continue to be under-funded and we need to build a more significant cash reserve.
  • Additional staff. We need to add program staff capacity in order to provide additional services to families in need. We are especially interested in extending our model to underserved communities.

CEO Statement

With recent research indicating that 1 out of 20 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the time they reach age 18, it is clear that childhood grief is very common. Yet understanding of and support for grieving children and families is quite limited. Grieving children and teens often feel alone and misunderstood because those around them are uncomfortable with death. Through peer support services, education and community outreach, The Children’s Room strives to reduce the isolation that grieving children and families experience. Our family and school-based support groups provide opportunities for those who have experienced a similar loss to come together and share with one another. Our consultations, education and community outreach programs help parents, community members and professionals understand and better respond to the needs of grieving children and families. 
 
We rely heavily on volunteers who facilitate our family based peer support groups. This is not only cost effective but it’s also consistent with our guiding principles. We see grief as a life cycle event that requires support rather than medical intervention. An added benefit that follows from this practice is the positive community and ongoing support that volunteers receive while supporting others. Volunteers report that they “get more than they give” and they are often seen as “grief experts” in their own family and community.

TCR was founded in response to the needs of a young widow seeking support for her family and the families we have served through the years continue to be an integral part of the organization. Teens, young adults and adults who were former participants in our programs are now serving in volunteer capacities as support group facilitators, board and committee members. We have an active and growing alumni group that supports programming and fundraising activities.
 
The Children’s Room is an independent nonprofit but, as a member of the National Alliance for Grieving Children, we have access to the knowledge and experience of our colleagues doing similar work across the country. TCR program staff members collectively have more than 75 years of experience supporting thousands of grieving children and families.

Board Chair Statement

I became a member of The Children’s Room (TCR) board of directors in June 2009. Since that time, TCR has experienced tremendous growth. Our services, staff, budget and fundraising have increased dramatically. This growth brings new excitement and new challenges. TCR has built a strong foundation and is poised to broaden its impact. Throughout its existence, TCR has consistently delivered caring, compassionate and highly effective support to families who have lost a loved one. TCR has built a board comprised of twelve highly dedicated members, many of whom have experienced a significant loss in their lives. Our board has recently worked with the Executive Director and staff to update TCR’s mission and vision statements and is in the process of finalizing a new three-year strategic plan to guide future growth. As TCR’s loyal donor base has grown significantly in recent years, the board has undertaken various governance initiatives to strengthen TCR. As a sign of its commitment to TCR and its strategic plan, the board recently signed up to "give or get" $133k during the current fiscal year, representing 15% of TCR’s overall revenue budget. The board also has developed formalized processes for goal-setting, board leadership transition, and identification and recruitment of new members.

As TCR continues to grow, we contemplate:

  • Adding staff resources to provide leadership and coordination of more peer support groups in an effort to reach youth in underserved communities,
  • Increasing education and training resources to leverage TCR’s expertise to reach a broader population of people who have experienced loss,
  • Deepening our collaborations with universities, schools, health organizations, and other groups to reach more individuals in the communities we serve,
  • Building our board membership and fundraising efforts to support TCR’s growth.

TCR is a special place. I serve on the TCR board so that others suffering from the death of a parent, sibling, spouse, or child will have easy access to people who understand. My mother died of cancer when I was 11 years old. I remember too well that feeling of being shattered and broken, angry, and feeling all alone. I remember that feeling of just barely surviving. All of us at one point are touched by death. For many, it is far too soon in our lives, making it difficult to go on living a full life. There is tremendous need for TCR’s services. TCR creates safe, supportive communities so that no child, teen or family has to grieve alone. People often need help finding their own grieving process – not to forget – but to learn how to live again in a world forever changed by death. TCR is a catalyst for that growth and change. We find that being with others who have experienced a death reduces isolation and can provide hope. In many cases, grief is transformative and can lead to personal growth not previously imagined. As one of our family members once said, “The Children's Room is a place of love and hope.”


Geographic Area Served

STATEWIDE
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA

TCR has served families from over 80 communities in eastern Massachusetts, most from within a 25-mile radius of Arlington.  We educate professionals state-wide.

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Family Services
  2. Education - Educational Services
  3. Mental Health & Crisis Intervention -

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

Yes

Programs

1) GRIEF SUPPORT SERVICES FOR CHILDREN, TEENS AND FAMILIES

Direct grief support services are offered at TCR in numerous ways.

Family Peer Support Groups: serving children and families together

Monthly Family Nights (new in 2014): serving children and families together

Parenting Education Series: serving bereaved adults

Individual Consultation: serving bereaved adults or adults anticipating bereavement

School and Community-based Peer Support Groups: serving children and teens

Teen Programming: including events and activities on- and off-site
 
Budget  $419,010.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Increased coping skills
  • More hopeful about the future
  • Decreased sadness
  • Better communication among family member
  • Decreased sense of isolation
  • Increased self-esteem
Program Long-Term Success 
Children, teens and adults will integrate the death experience into their lives in a way that results in increased competence and positive personal growth. Those who receive support will develop a heightened sense of compassion for others. Children who experience early loss will develop healthy self-esteem and positive relational skills. Levels of depression, anxiety, violent behavior and academic problems for children who have experienced an early death loss will be similar to peers without such an experience.
Program Success Monitored By 
  • Annual self-assessment completed by adults and children
  • Web-based evaluation completed by adults when family ends support group
  • Qualitative interviews with adults, teens and children

 

Examples of Program Success 

In data collected in web-based surveys completed by adults in 2011:

  • Increased coping skills – 65%
  • More hopeful about the future – 58%
  • Decreased sadness – 54%
  • Better communication among family members – 47%
  • Decreased sense of isolation – 44%
  • Increased self-esteem – 21%

Comments from those we have served:

“I feel less alone and more understood.”
“We are both more compassionate and aware of the sadness others experience.”
“Our family time at The Children’s Room benefited each of my children and me. While the experience was positive for each of us, I believe we were most thankful for the community and the knowledge that there were others in the same situation; that made my children feel less alone.”

“The kids found their own strategies to cope with their pain and sadness.”




2) BEREAVEMENT EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH

TCR’s professional staff offers educational services that are proactive as well as responsive to crisis situations in schools and communities. Training sessions help schools, community agencies, and others develop and prepare a crisis response plan or implement a plan when a sudden or traumatic loss has occurred. Grief education helps teachers, physicians, and other service professionals who work with children and families understand the unique grieving processes of children. Staff members are sensitive to issues in under-served communities and often offer training without a fee. TCR’s workshops offer continuing education credits for professionals such as social workers, counselors, and school personnel. Last year, 925 people attended TCR education and training programs. TCR also provides educational support services for grieving families. We offer a free, six-week series for adults, “Parenting While Grieving: Tools and Strategies that Help Families Cope with Loss.” Additional family education topics are under development.

Budget  $105,050.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Schools in a community impacted by a youth suicide were better prepared to communicate appropriately with students and parents.
  • School staff impacted by the sudden death of a young teacher were better prepared to communicate to students and parents and to support students and staff.
  • Preschool parents and teachers were better prepared to communicate with young children about the illness and death of a parent in the school.
  • Teachers in a community afterschool program gained an understanding of the relationship between grief and behavioral issues in children in their program. Teachers felt better prepared to respond to children in a way that might better meet their needs.
  • Staff in an organ bank developed coping skills to support them in their work.
Program Long-Term Success 

Teachers, administrators, social service providers and community members will be prepared to respond to children and families who have experienced death or other significant losses. The need for TCR family based peer support services will be reduced as children and families receive understanding and support within their existing communities.

Program Success Monitored By 

Qualitative written and verbal feedback in response to training or workshop.

Examples of Program Success 
“Thanks again for a wonderful presentation yesterday. I learned so much. Your talk went even beyond helping children and teenagers and touched and informed everyone in the group I know."

“Thanks so much for a great presentation!  I have glanced at the reviews and they were all positive; most just wanted more time!!!”

3) INFORMATION AND REFERRAL

Because of our reputation as experts in the field of child, teen, and family grief, we receive about 50 calls/emails a month from individuals seeking related services including bereaved family members and professionals helping bereaved individuals. We have a large database of references for individual therapists, fee-for-service groups, adult support groups, and children’s camps and other programs which we share with callers. Sometimes people call in crisis, asking how to tell their children that a parent has just tragically died. Last program year we provided 135 hours of free information and referral time. There is a serious need for such services, but our ability to provide them is restricted because of staffing constraints.
Budget  $40,830.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Families Adults At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 
  • During the last year we provided information and referrals to over 300 individuals in need of grief support services.
  • Two-thirds of these individuals were families seeking information and support.
  • The remaining one-third were professionals [guidance counselors, social workers and nurses] from hospitals, schools and community agencies.
  • Calls ranged from 15-90 minutes and averaged 30 minutes.
Program Long-Term Success 

The number of resources available to grieving children and families would be sufficient to meet the significant need. Other agencies would be able to provide similar referral resources.

Program Success Monitored By 

Log recording: caller, circumstances + resources and information sought and disseminated.

Examples of Program Success 
Families directed to bereavement support services in other geographic areas.

Parents given information about bereavement camps for their children

Families needing additional support are directed toward therapists specializing in grief.
 
Parents and professionals are provided specific and developmentally appropriate language to share with children who need to be informed about a death.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Last program year TCR provided direct grief support to over 600 individuals, including 321 children, teens, and adults who were served in ongoing, free support groups with the help of 60 volunteer facilitators and 6 interns. Some of these children witnessed the sudden death of a loved one; others lost a parent or a sibling to lengthy illness, accident, or suicide. Grieving children and families face an extraordinary array of challenges as they begin to build a new life dramatically altered by devastating loss. Without proper support, bereaved children are at higher risk for developing mental health, social, and academic problems.
 
The families we have reached are a tiny fraction of those who need our services – a recent survey indicates that one in twenty young people will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the time they reach age 18. People in our society have a hard time dealing with death. Often bereaved children feel the pain of isolation from their friends and community in addition to the loss of a loved one. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to education and training services. We know that teachers, neighbors and friends want to help. Often times they’re afraid that they don’t have the right words to say so, rather than approach, they turn away.  We want to change that. We want to see bereaved children and families embraced by a caring and supportive community. We know that we have much needed information and experience to share. We see the ripple effect of our educational work in our official educational offerings but also through the knowledge and comfort that our volunteers, and donors, share in their own communities. 
 
We’re working hard to build our capacity to serve more grieving children and families in our support groups. But we aren’t anywhere near meeting the need that exists with 1 in 20 children impacted by early loss.  By creating and deepening community collaborations, TCR is able to serve many more children and teens from diverse communities who may not otherwise have access to affordable grief support.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Donna Smith Sharff
CEO Term Start May 2010
CEO Email donna@childrensroom.org
CEO Experience

Donna Smith Sharff, MA, LMHC has been on The Children’s Room staff since 2003 and was Program Director for five years before assuming the role of Executive Director in May 2010. Donna has been inspired by her direct work with children and families in our program and brings that inspiration to her organizational leadership role. Her previous clinical work included individual therapy and group facilitation with children, adolescents and adults through Strattus Mental Health Centre and Housing Families. Prior to working in the mental health field, Donna worked as a small business manager in the training industry. Donna holds a Bachelors in Commerce from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Counseling from Lesley University.

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

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms. Barbara Clarke Sept 2006 July 2009
Mr. Christopher Nind Jan 2003 June 2006

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --
Nancy Frumer Styron J.D., Psy.D Clinical Director

Nancy Frumer Styron, J.D., Psy.D is a licensed psychologist who joined TCR in July 2013. Nancy comes with a background in pediatric psychology and a specialty in oncology. She worked at The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for over 20 years, seeing patients and their families as outpatients at the Dana-Farber and inpatient at Children’s Hospital who have been affected by diagnosis, treatment, loss and death. She also served as the Training Director for graduate students in the fields of social work and psychology. She currently teaches graduate students at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in the area of Health Psychology and has a private practice in Lexington, MA. Nancy has been a meditation practitioner for over twenty-five years and has a particular interest in teaching meditation to children and in mindful parenting. Nancy has interests in training in the areas of grief and loss and the importance of leadership in many forms. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan, an MA from Lesley University, a JD from Boston College Law School, and a Psy.D from Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.

Nancy Simpson-Banker MA, FAHP Director of Development
Nancy joined The Children’s Room in October of 2011 after serving as a fundraising volunteer for 18 months. Nancy has worked in development for thirty years. Before joining The Children’s Room, Nancy served as Director of Recruitment and Training in the Boston College (BC) Advancement Office supporting the university’s $1.5 billion capital campaign. Prior to BC, she was a fundraising consultant for seven years where she provided counsel to clients in healthcare, human service organizations and higher education. Nancy worked as a healthcare development professional for fourteen years in New England and eight years in higher education in Indiana and Pennsylvania. Most recently she served as Vice President for Philanthropy at Faulkner Hospital in Boston. She holds a BA from Boston College and an MA from Indiana University. She earned the designation of Fellow in the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (FAHP) in 2003.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The incidence of childhood grief is much higher than is generally assumed. In fact, one out of twenty children will lose a parent or sibling before the age of 18. With the need so great and our services more widely known, the requests for help and information from families and communities continue to grow each year. Childhood grief is often underestimated and misunderstood, leaving children feeling alone when they are most vulnerable. Concerned about burdening their grieving parent(s) and sensing that others are uncomfortable talking about their loss and pain, children often suffer in silence. They become the forgotten mourners. Children need to have their feelings respected and validated as they struggle to make meaning around a death. The devastating loss of a parent or sibling can throw into question a child’s sense of self, family and world. How the surviving parent (or parents) handles the death and its aftermath substantially influences child adaptation.1

Without support, grieving children and teens are at risk for a host of negative outcomes, including mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, traumatic grief, and reduced academic success because of low motivation, difficulty concentrating and lower self-esteem. Our programs seek to prevent these outcomes by offering direct support to children, teens, and families and by educating and training others to better meet the needs of grieving families within their communities.
 
To better address these increasing needs, TCR’s Executive Director and Board of Directors has developed a draft Strategic Plan for the next three years. This Strategic plan is currently being finalized by a special task force representing staff, the Executive Director, and Board members and is expected to be operationalized this year.

 


 1Saldinger, A., Porterfield, K. and Cain, A.C. (2004). Meeting the Needs of Parentally Bereaved Children.Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 67(4), 331-352.

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 6
Number of Part Time Staff 6
Number of Volunteers 80
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 12
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 12
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Automobile Insurance
Commercial General Liability
Directors and Officers Policy
General Property Coverage and Professional Liability
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability

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

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Michael Nagle MS
Board Chair Company Affiliation Michael Nagle Consulting Group
Board Chair Term Oct 2016 - Sept 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Steve Andrew MBA Retired Financial Professional Voting
Jenny Carlson-Pietraszek MA Noble & Greenough School Voting
Sue Costello LICSW Boston Children’s Hospital Training Access Project Voting
Nanci Gelb Agassiz Village Voting
Blyth Lord M.Ed Courageous Parents Network Voting
Stephanie Lubin-Levy PNP Needham Pediatrics Voting
Mary Ellen Margosian M.Ed Community Volunteer Voting
Michael Nagle MS Michael Nagle Consulting Group Voting
Pearl Riney MD West Cambridge Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine Voting
Alan Simpson PhD, CFA Simpson Investment Counsel Voting
Paul Weichselbaum MBA PlumChoice Corporation Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Harry Allen -- --
Maryanne Andrew -- --
Victoria Arthur MD -- --
Geoff Birmingham -- --
Susan Boucher Community Volunteer Voting
Robert Bowes -- --
Linda Braun -- --
Dotty Burstein -- --
Martin Conneely -- --
Michael Danziger -- --
Anne Favaloro Community Volunteer Voting
Neil Fisher -- --
Margaret Fleming -- --
Rick Frank -- --
Linda Gelb -- --
Ann Gildea -- --
Michael Gilligan Retired Voting
Tim Gleason -- --
Jamie Golden -- --
Richard Greene -- --
Polly Guggenheim -- --
Meredith Hoban Dunn Community Volunteer Voting
Jack Hurd -- --
Rachel Jellinek -- --
Jeff Keffer -- --
Florence Koplow Community Volunteer Voting
Carolyn Kraft -- --
Cheryl LaMee -- --
Maria Lewis Kussmaul -- --
Claire Lively -- --
Nancy Lubin-Levy -- --
Maureen Lyons -- --
Shannon Magee CPA -- --
Gregg Malatesta -- --
Jean Marchant -- --
Denise McKeown -- --
Diane Mercer -- --
Susan Mihailidis -- --
Julia Mirak Kew Community Volunteer Voting
Judy Oliver -- --
Mark Redmond -- --
Franklin Ross -- --
Jan Saks -- --
Tricia Seery -- --
Phyllis Silverman Community Volunteer Voting
Nancy Simpson-Banker -- --
Alan Stern -- --
Claire Stern -- --
Judy Zabin -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 7
Male: 4
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Board Development / Board Orientation
  • Board Governance
  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

TCR has a dedicated and active Board of Directors whose members are passionate about our mission. The board consists of former program participants, program volunteers, social workers, and business and financial representatives. The members of TCR’s Board have established and approved mutual expectations and responsibilities in order to foster a cooperative and supportive atmosphere to further our mission and programs. Board members regularly attend board meetings and serve actively on at least one committee. Board members actively support the Executive Director in the implementation of the mission, goals, policies and programs of TCR. The Board conducts an annual review of the Executive Director and recently implemented a Board Self-Assessment process.

Importantly, all Board Members participate in development and fundraising. They make annual donations to TCR in a manner that reflects the priority and significance of TCR in her or his charitable giving and according to her or his personal means. Each year when approving the annual budget the Board of Directors establishes a Board fundraising goal which reflects a material portion of the total revenues of TCR for that year. For fiscal year 2015, the Board approved a plan to “give or get” 15% (or $133,000) of TCR’s budget. Board members work with staff to make personal appeals for donations to TCR and play a leadership role in development events, programs and activities.
 
The Board has established a goal to build the Board to support our fundraising and organizational development. TCR’s co-chairs stepped down in October 2013, and Neil Fisher, who has already served as a Board member for three years, assumed the board chair position at that time. Our Governance Committee has been planning for this succession for over a year. TCR also has made a concerted effort to build our Advisory Board as a potential pool of Board candidates.

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2014 to Sept 30, 2015
Projected Income $901,000.00
Projected Expense $886,200.00
Form 990s

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

Audit Documents

2013 Audited Financials

2012 Audited Financials

2011 Audited Financials

2010 Audited Financials

2009 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $1,209,720 $941,329 $749,433
Total Expenses $883,463 $825,439 $582,106

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$224,780 $87,008 $131,766
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $702,589 $643,179 $431,369
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $12,552 $14,340 $15,960
Investment Income, Net of Losses $-928 $387 --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- $4,325
Revenue In-Kind $270,727 $196,415 $164,739
Other -- -- $1,274

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $599,908 $527,800 $417,819
Administration Expense $92,351 $84,559 $44,225
Fundraising Expense $191,204 $213,080 $120,062
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.37 1.14 1.29
Program Expense/Total Expenses 68% 64% 72%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 21% 29% 21%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $1,840,099 $1,339,772 $1,219,541
Current Assets $638,111 $420,341 $394,365
Long-Term Liabilities $609,502 $458,844 $469,967
Current Liabilities $72,472 $49,060 $33,596
Total Net Assets $1,158,125 $831,868 $715,978

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
Individual Donor $25,000.00
Ronald McDonald House Charities $24,000.00
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
Individual Donor $20,000.00
Individual Donor $16,500.00
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
Individual Donor $18,000.00
David E. Retik and Christopher D. Mello Foundation $12,240.00

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 3.00

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 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 8.80 8.57 11.74

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 33% 34% 39%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Children’s Room has made great strides over the last five years towards financial sustainability. In 2009 we implemented the Benevon Model of fundraising. The model fast tracks a traditional development program while providing a reliable source of annual funding. The Benevon Model is mission driven fundraising that focuses on identifying individual donors who resonate with a nonprofit's mission. These loyal donors commit to multi-year pledges of support and become a reliable source of unrestricted annual funding. We currently have 96 “Circle of Hope” donors who have committed $1,000 or more for at least 5 years. Our fiscal year 2015 budget includes $190,000 in pledge payments expected from these donors, representing 21% of our budget. In the six years since implementing the Benevon Model, our revenues have more than doubled.  In Fiscal Year 2013 alone, our fundraising revenues increased by 40% over the previous year. We anticipate continued success with this model as we attract new loyal donors who are passionate about our mission.

Foundation Comments

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

Of note in this profile: the agency's audited financials reported donated volunteer services of $149,000 in FY10, $153,000 in FY11, $161,136 in FY12 and $178,785 in FY13. This amount reflects the value of volunteer time in direct program service. These values are also included as corresponding expenses. These in-kind line items are not typically included in the agency's operating budget and program budgets submitted to funders per their preference. The nonprofit has estimated $36,858 of in-kind donations/expenses for fiscal year 2014. To reflect consistency in reporting the agency’s operating budget relative to audited financials requires adding in the projected in-kind line item.

 

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

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?

Our mission is to create safe, supportive communities so that no child, teen, or family has to grieve alone. We believe that every child, teen, and family grieving a death deserves a safe, supportive, and understanding environment.

Our vision is to help create a world where understanding and patience allow loss to be integrated into our lives and lead to greater compassion, hope, and growth. We seek to broaden our impact by expanding our support services and educational outreach and deepening our community collaborations. We aspire to be a leader in the field of grief support and a catalyst in transforming society's understanding of grief.
 
The Children's Room culture and all its services reflect the following fundamental beliefs:
 
  • Grief is a natural and healthy response to death.
  • Everyone experiences grief in a unique way.
  • The experience of grief does not end, but changes over time.
  • Within each of us there is a natural capacity to adapt to a world changed by death.
  • Being with others who have experienced a death reduces isolation and can provide hope.
  • Grief is transformative and can lead to personal growth not previously imagined.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

The Children's Room is the leading independent, non-profit organization in Massachusetts dedicated to creating safe, supportive communities so that no child, teen, or family has to grieve alone.

GRIEF SUPPORT SERVICES --
 
Services include:
 
  • Peer support groups (free of charge): Families come together bi-weekly for peer support groups at our Arlington center. Children and teens meet with others their age who have also lost a parent or sibling, and their parents or caregivers meet at the same time in adult support groups. TCR also offers peer support groups in area schools and community organizations (including Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston), enabling us to reach children who would not otherwise be able to access grief support services.
  •  Parenting While Grieving Series (free of charge): This eight-week, interactive series is offered twice a year to bereaved parents/caregivers. Participants explore the impact of loss on children, their developmental reactions to the grief process, and strategies for dealing with the challenges of parenting while grieving.
  •  Monthly Family Night (free of charge): Our monthly arts-based family nights are an opportunity for grieving families to come together for a creative, family-centered activity and to make connection with other families in the community.
  •  Adult consultations: Professional staff are available to meet with parents and other supporting adults to discuss a family's unique needs during the grieving process or in the case of a life-limiting illness.
EDUCATION & OUTREACH SERVICES --
 
We provide educational workshops, trainings, and consultations about grief and loss to teachers, counselors, and others working with children, teens, young adults, and families.
 
 
INFORMATION & REFERRALS --
 
TCR provides information and referrals to families and professionals looking for additional grief-related services in their area. 

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

The Children's Room follows three major principles when making decisions about organizational capacity: invest in talent; use resources wisely; and collaborate with complementary organizations to leverage our ability to reach grieving children and families. Based upon the results of an ongoing strategic planning initiative, TCR decided to add key personnel in the last few years. TCR receives no state or federal funding and must therefore invest strongly in our Development capacity. In 2011, TCR hired a Development Director for the first time, enhancing our ability to solidify our financial base and to increase both philanthropic giving and diversity of fundraising at a crucial time in our development. The Development Director continued TCR's growth with the Benevon model of fundraising, added a full time Development Assistant, and has carried out a supremely effective development program, more than doubling our philanthropic income in the last 5 years. Our focus on individual major gifts has driven much of this growth.

In 2013, TCR hired a Clinical Director for the first time to oversee all programmatic functions and to increase our professional training programs, allowing our impact to grow exponentially and well beyond our geographical center. Educating others in the grief support model we've developed and sharing practical strategies enables professionals to respond effectively to individual children and families in their own schools, practices, and communities when tragedy strikes. The addition of a Clinical Director has also allowed us to expand and enrich our internship program for graduate and undergraduate students, educating the next generation of professionals entering the mental health field while increasing TCR's capacity to serve grieving children and teens in our center and a growing number of off-site locations.
 
TCR is in the process of finalizing a three-year strategic plan in order to ensure that our resources are used wisely and in proportion to our ability to maintain financial solidity and program effectiveness. Throughout the course of TCR history, we have depended strongly on volunteer resources for many aspects of our organizational function, including peer support group facilitation.
 
In order to leverage our ability to reach as many grieving families as possible, TCR has made concerted efforts to partner with organizations throughout the metro Boston area to offer trainings, consultation, and collaborative programming. Our latest partnership is with Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, working with Club staff to provide peer support groups for grieving children in a growing number of Clubs across the city.

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

The Children's Room implements a continuous performance improvement strategy utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data. REgular process evaluation occurs on a monthly basis through data reporting and analysis using a client database system to track programmatic efforts and to monitor quantitatively the success and growth of our multiple programs. Key indicators are: # of individual children, adults, and families served; # of community peer support groups held; # of Information and Referral calls answered; and # of hours spent on services; amount others.

Further, numerous instruments are used to measure satisfaction levels of all individuals participating in TCR programs, including peer support groups, parenting education workshops, professional trainings, and teen events. In order to understand the impact of peer support group participation on children and parents in family groups, TCR implements both pre- and post-participation surveys of children and adults. The qualitative data resulting from these instruments allow TCR to hear directly from participants about aspects of the program that are effective and ideas for improvement. By implementing evaluation instruments with both adults and children, TCR is able to understand some of the impact that participation has on grieving families. As an example, one teen surveyed said, "Through the support sessions, I grew from my dad's death and learned that it was okay to be upset sometimes because I can survive grief." Another teen expressed, "The Children's Room focuses on grief, losing someone you love, a person who is so dear it's hard to bear. Everyone there has lost someone they loved. Seeing that can really make a person open their hearts to these people and they are no longer strangers in a room. They are the voices helping you get by, a reason to believe that things will get better. I guess what TCR has really portrayed to my heart is that there is hope, and that happiness will seep in even if it takes time."
 
Grief, feelings of isolation, and the consequences of experiencing the death of a parent or sibling are difficult to measure quantitatively. By implementing surveys and interviews with all participants, TCR is able to use self-report measures to identify key aspects of program impact on both individuals and families. 

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

TCR has gone from serving 7 families in our first year to serving over 100 families in peer support groups at our Arlington center each year. Our major accomplishments include creating additional services families can access in order to find the right fit for their needs and schedules; such as Parenting While Grieving educational series, monthly arts-based family nights, individual consultations, teen-specific programming, and comprehensive referrals.

Beyond our center, we have created free peer support groups for children and teens at various schools and community centers in the greater Boston area. Since our first school-based peer support group in 2011, TCR has created a total of 9 groups for children and teens at off-site locations, including 2 Boys & Girls Clubs in Chelsea and Boston. These groups have served almost 100 youth who are not able to access our Arlington groups. We have also deepened our collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, conducting professional trainings for Club staff and beginning preparations to develop peer support groups in additional Clubs this coming year.
 
A significant addition to our services is our professional training program that provides professionals in various social services, education, and healthcare settings with the tools they need to support grieving children and families and create crisis plans for their communities. We also train and supervise graduate and undergraduate students each year through our internship training program, educating the next generation of professionals entering the fields of mental health counseling, expressive therapies, and social work.
 
We have identified additional program needs and have begun efforts to address them.
 
TCR offers a "Parenting While Grieving" educational series for adults who have lost a partner/spouse, but we do not have this service available for families who have lost a child. These parents will face different parenting challenges and grief reactions; in order to provide the best support to these families, it is necessary to develop a separate series specifically for them. To meet this need, TCR has begun preparations to offer a new "Parenting While Grieving" series for parents who have lost a child and are parenting surviving children.
 
TCR also is in the process of creating additional programming specifically for teens. Teens can be a particularly challenging group to reach and they are also at greater risk of turning to substances and other unhealthy behaviors to cope with their grieving. We recently hired a Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator to assist with the development and implementation of our growing teen programming.
 
One teen program we have offered in the past and hope to revitalize is our unique Teen Performance Troupe. With professional guidance, teens created their own show and performed it in schools, hospitals, and community centers in greater Boston, sharing their stories and educating others on grief and loss.