Share |

Community Outreach Group Inc.

 PO Box 380275
 Cambridge, MA 02238
[P] (781) 642-6662
[F] --
Jennifer Kimball
Facebook Twitter
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3379870

LAST UPDATED: 01/04/2019
Organization DBA COGdesign
Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design
Former Names COGdesign (2014)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

The Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design (COGdesign) provides pro-bono landscape design services to under-resourced community groups in greater Boston with the goal to create together beautiful, resilient, green spaces which meet neighborhood needs.

Mission Statement

The Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design (COGdesign) provides pro-bono landscape design services to under-resourced community groups in greater Boston with the goal to create together beautiful, resilient, green spaces which meet neighborhood needs.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $60,000.00
Projected Expense $50,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Project Design

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

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


Mission Statement

The Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design (COGdesign) provides pro-bono landscape design services to under-resourced community groups in greater Boston with the goal to create together beautiful, resilient, green spaces which meet neighborhood needs.

Background Statement

COGdesign was launched in 1995 as a program of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) student chapter at the Radcliffe Seminars in Landscape Design. After receiving many requests for design help from community groups, and witnessing designers’strong interest in working with community projects, organizers decided to  incorporate COGdesign as an independent non-profit organization in 1997.

To date, COGdesign has worked with community clients on 109 landscape design projects in greater Boston and eastern Massachusetts in rural, suburban, and urban locations.

Impact Statement

In the last year (9/1/17-4/1/18), twenty COGdesign volunteers (ten of whom are new to COG) are working on eight landscape designs for eight sites:
  1. Community garden for Mission Hill Health Movement, Roxbury
  2. Entrance garden for Boston Collegiate Charter School, N. Dorchester
  3. Revitalized Peace garden for Egleston Square Main Street, Roxbury
  4. Community gardens/greenhouse design for GreenRoots Food Justice and Urban Agriculture, Chelsea
  5. front yard gardens for formerly homeless housing at Haley House, S. End
  6. Stormwater mitigation, redesign of hillside path, creation of native plant bioswales for Paige Academy, an elementary school in Roxbury
  7. Park and community gardens for Hoops & Homework, after school program in Framingham
  8. Redesign of front entrance for Fenway Victory Gardens, Back Bay
COGdesign volunteers are continuing work on three projects begun in 2016-17:
  1. creation of park at Codman Square Great Hall, Dorchester
  2. redesign of grounds First Church Roxbury
  3. food forest at Egleston Square branch of Boston Public Library, W. Roxbury

Needs Statement

- A stable, long-term source of funding
- Skilled administrative assistance for maintaining databases, creating mailings, maintaining website and so on.
- More experienced volunteers to act as Project Managers for more projects. Our capacity to take on new projects is limited by the number of Project Managers available to manage the relationship between community clients and volunteer designers.
- Dedicated volunteers to support community clients in planning to maintain their new landscapes, and to carry out maintenance when requested. 
- Dedicated volunteers to document our projects, especially skilled photographers 

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

COGdesign concentrates on urban sites in Greater Boston, but we have worked with community clients throughout eastern Massachusetts.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Botanical, Horticultural & Landscape Services
  2. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Neighborhood/Block Association
  3. Public & Societal Benefit - Citizen Participation

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

Under Development


Project Design

COGdesign's volunteer landscape designers complete plans for 5-10 projects per year on average, donating $50K-$100K of professional time.
Budget  $30,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental & Sustainable Design
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success  Designs completed for community groups, enabling them to begin fundraising and/or installation work
Program Long-Term Success  Populations gaining access to healthy, attractive, useful open spaces in their own communities
Program Success Monitored By  Community groups break ground for project
Examples of Program Success  The site is built and maintained as open space.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms Jennifer Kimball
CEO Term Start Oct 2017
CEO Email
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
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


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
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

COGdesign has a dedicated and hard-working core group of Board members and other volunteer.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 30
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % --

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

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? No
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A


Board Chair Ms Karen Clay
Board Chair Company Affiliation Rebuilding Together Boston
Board Chair Term May 2016 - May 2018
Board Co-Chair Valerie Burns
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term May 2016 - May 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Valerie Burns Retired Voting
Lyn Carroll Community Volunteer Voting
Karen Clay Landscape Designer Voting
Terese D'Urso Community Volunteers Voting
David Jay ASLA Weinmayr Jay Design --
Jean Krasnow Community Volunteer Voting
Ellan Siegel Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
John Furlong Boston Architecture Center NonVoting
Linda Herman Floral Designer --
Karen Howard Howard Garden Designs --
Clarke Keenan Retired NonVoting
Sally Muspratt Sally Muspratt Landscape Design NonVoting
Todd Richardson FASLA Richardson & Associates Landscape Architects NonVoting
Alexandra Schweitzer Healthcare administrator --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 6
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $60,000.00
Projected Expense $50,000.00
Form 990s

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $64,242 $62,700 $70,237
Total Expenses $77,204 $93,702 $67,774

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $58,021 $52,074 $53,931
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $1,580 -- $3,500
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $4,641 $10,626 $12,806
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $66,373 $76,624 $54,311
Administration Expense $8,798 $9,919 $6,815
Fundraising Expense $2,033 $7,159 $6,648
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.83 0.67 1.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses 86% 82% 80%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 3% 11% 10%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $18,529 $31,763 $63,577
Current Assets $18,529 $31,763 $63,577
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $87 $2,160 $3,167
Total Net Assets $18,442 $29,603 $60,410

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
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 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 212.98 14.71 20.07

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990-EZs. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. Please note, additional functional expense breakout detail was obtained from the Form PC on file with the state of Massachusetts for FY15, FY14 and FY13. 


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?

Our present goal is to complete landscape designs for 5-10 community groups each year for the next five years, enabling them to bring healthy, attractive, and useful open space to their neighborhoods. We hope to see at least half of our completed designs built in that time period; the time to completion varies with the site, funding timetables, and city, state, and federal regulations and requirements.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

We undertook a Board retreat in January 2018 to revise our mission, vision and positioning statements; and to examine the strategy and visioning process we had undertaken in partnership with the ESC group in 2015 to establish long-term strategies for supporting COGdesign. We are currently implementing that plan as we continue our successful practice of communicating our mission to landscape architects and designers throughout greater Boston, and working with our many referred community groups. At this point, we have as many applicants for COGdesign's services as we can serve.

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

We have a large database of professional landscape designers who would love to change the world. We have a part-time Executive Director who has extensive experience in web and print publishing to communicate COGdesign's mission and needs. And folks on our mailing list continue to respond to our annual Call for Projects as evidenced by the many applications we receive.

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

We will complete more projects for more communities, and see more of them built and enjoyed -- like Symphony Park, a COGdesign project that celebrated its opening in June, 2015, the Codman Academy playground, opened October, 2015, and the Food Project Community Garden installed April 2016. Our budget will grow and COG may partner with more non-profits in Boston.

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

Our 2014 baseline was three projects completed. In 2015, we worked on six projects. Volunteers have worked on nine projects so far in 2016--three continuing from 2015.