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Just A Start Inc.

 1035 Cambridge Street #12
 Cambridge, MA 02141
[P] (617) 494-0444
[F] (617) 494-8348
[email protected]
Lynn Sanders
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 23-7121174

LAST UPDATED: 08/31/2017
Organization DBA Just-A-Start Corporation
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Just-A-Start (JAS) is a community development corporation dedicated to building the housing security and economic stability of low- to moderate-income people in Cambridge and nearby communities. Through innovative, comprehensive, and integrated programs, JAS creates and preserves affordable housing, provides housing resources and services, offers education and workforce training for youth and adults, and builds community engagement. JAS’s vision is a better future for each and every community member: a secure home, a sustaining career, and engagement in the community.

Mission Statement

Just-A-Start (JAS) is a community development corporation dedicated to building the housing security and economic stability of low- to moderate-income people in Cambridge and nearby communities. Through innovative, comprehensive, and integrated programs, JAS creates and preserves affordable housing, provides housing resources and services, offers education and workforce training for youth and adults, and builds community engagement. JAS’s vision is a better future for each and every community member: a secure home, a sustaining career, and engagement in the community.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $5,607,416.00
Projected Expense $5,405,688.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Biomedical Careers Program
  • Housing Services
  • JAS YouthBuild
  • Real Estate Development
  • Youth Program

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

Just-A-Start (JAS) is a community development corporation dedicated to building the housing security and economic stability of low- to moderate-income people in Cambridge and nearby communities. Through innovative, comprehensive, and integrated programs, JAS creates and preserves affordable housing, provides housing resources and services, offers education and workforce training for youth and adults, and builds community engagement. JAS’s vision is a better future for each and every community member: a secure home, a sustaining career, and engagement in the community.

Background Statement

JAS was founded in 1968 as a community revitalization and youth training program focused on improving Cambridge’s then-struggling Wellington-Harrington neighborhood. JAS was officially incorporated as a multi-service organization for community development programs in 1971. Since then, the organization has grown to provide affordable housing programs, housing stabilization and homelessness prevention, and training, education, and related services for low- to moderate-income youth and adults.

As a dynamic multi-service organization, JAS continues to grow and evolve to reinforce its impact on Cambridge and surrounding communities. Recent improvements to core functions include restructuring financial management, increasing fundraising capacity, overhauling IT systems, and better integrating programs to provide clients with a broader range of services that will better meet all of their needs. Additionally, the organizations Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2020 was developed to focus efforts more effectively, ensure the fiscal vitality of the organization, and serve greater numbers of community members. JAS also recently gained official certification as a Community Development Corporation (CDC) and was awarded an allocation of $125,000 in Community Investment Tax Credits in 2017 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These innovative tax credits support CDC’s fundraising capabilities by allowing donors to claim a tax credit (or, when no tax liability receive a cash payment) from the state equal to 50% of their contribution to JAS.

JAS is governed by a 14-member volunteer Board of Directors, the vast majority of whom are residents of communities served by the organization. JAS is managed by an Executive Director with extensive experience in non-profit leadership including strategic planning for new services, facilities, and programs; advocacy, community relations, and financial management. JAS has an annual budget of approximately $5.4 million, which is supported by funding from a variety of public and private grants, contracts, and fees. JAS has three divisions of programming: Real Estate Development, Housing Resources, and Education & Training. A senior manager leads each division and all three incumbents in these roles have advanced degrees related to their field. Across these divisions, the agency employs approximately 45 individuals who work at two facilities located in Cambridge.

Impact Statement

2016 Accomplishments

· Provided affordable rental housing for approximately 1,500 Cambridge residents.

· Delivered education and workforce development services to over 250 low- to moderate-income youth and adults through the operation of five education and training programs.

· Provided housing resources, including homelessness prevention, home improvement resources, and other supportive services to about 1,500 individuals.

2017 Goals

· Continue to operate affordable housing, education and training, and housing resources programs at capacity to support the economic security of about 3,000 low- to moderate-income individuals and families in Cambridge and surrounding communities.

· Complete occupied rehab of 273 units of affordable housing in the Rindge Tower Apartments.

· Build a centralized database and intake and data collection system that enables more accurate outcome measurement for all programs and services provided by JAS, and increases cohesion across programs.

· Develop a plan for a new workforce training program providing low-income adults with an opportunity to enter careers in IT user support, with goal of launching program in early 2018

· Reinforce services provided to JAS client through continues efforts to maximize integration of housing and education and training services, including continuing to expand the newly launched Financial Capability Programs to increase the financial security and asset development potential of all JAS clients.

Needs Statement

Just-A-Start is currently in a phase of regeneration and capacity building after the organization’s first change in executive leadership in 45 years, as we prepare for our 50th Anniversary. JAS’s most pressing needs are:

1. Diversification of financial support through enhanced communications and fund raising, including a plan for generating increased private support and strengthening funding relationships with corporations.

2. Development of a centralized data collection system to: a) support program management, b) demonstrate and track program results and outcomes, and c) support fundraising efforts.

3. Continued ability to expand affordable housing opportunities in a dense, high value, urban real estate market. Market rate housing and land in Cambridge has reached astronomical prices, forcing many middle and lower income residents to choose between spending the majority of their income on housing, or moving to another community. Thus, JAS will take advantage of every opportunity to expand availability of affordable and workforce housing, despite challenges posed by density and limited availability of land.

4. Refinement of JAS’s workforce development strategy based on market research, evaluation of education and training programs, and input from local employers, corporations, and educational intuitions.

5. Continued expansion of a financial education and asset building program for JAS residents and program participants to provide them with tools to increase their economic stability.

CEO Statement

Just-A-Start is committed to providing opportunities to each and every community member – to open doors to opportunities for housing, education, and jobs. The doors of Just-A-Start’s housing open into safe, affordable homes for more than 1,500 community friends and neighbors. Other doors at Just-A-Start welcome young people and adults in their searches for education pathways and career opportunities, or provide safe havens for people fighting not to lose their homes. There are many other doors in Cambridge that have been opened to Just-A-Start’s rehab specialists, allowing them to help renovate and repair these homes to make our neighborhoods stronger.

Opening doors – opening opportunities. That’s what Just-A-Start has done for the past 49 years, and will continue to do. Next year – 2018 – is Just-A-Start’s 50th Anniversary and we are excited about sharing the year’s celebrations with the community and our partners! Over the years, Just-A-Start has helped thousands of our neighbors, friends, and community partners – thousands of doors to opportunity have been opened. Please take some time to read through our profile and learn more about this wonderful community resource, and open your door to Just-A-Start.

Board Chair Statement

Opportunity. A powerful word. A word that means both challenge and possibility, potential and pursuit, connection and selection. For us, the doors of Just-A-Start’s properties symbolize the possibility and connection that opportunity can bring to each and every individual. But as we all know, each and every individual does not have equal access to opportunities, and that inequity challenges every community. The gap between have and have-not continues to widen. Just-A-Start is here to build the bridge across the gap, champion opportunities in housing and job training, and advocate for all individuals to have access to these opportunities, particularly those individuals who are less able to advocate for themselves. We’ve been doing it for 50 years and, with the continued support of our partners and friends, we can continue to do so for another 50 years!

This means a steadfast commitment to the creation and maintenance of safe, affordable housing as well as the ongoing provision of housing resources and services to residents of our properties and local community members alike. Home is the foundation upon which everything else is built. JAS is a responsible developer and owner of quality affordable housing and works to preserve these important assets and expand housing opportunities. JAS helps families stabilize their housing and assure safe, long-term housing security. Doors are opening all the time – opportunities are opening all the time.

This also means staying true to JAS’s roots in education and job training for youth and adults alike. JAS helps low-income community members develop knowledge and marketable skills, and provides more education and career opportunities for individuals who are trying to build economic resiliency and mobility. Whether in high school, out of high school, going to college, developing new skills or exploring career possibilities, JAS has programs and resources to expand career options and earning power.

Opportunity. It’s the goal that brings everything JAS does, and everyone we touch, together, year after year.

Geographic Area Served


JAS’s programs serve Cambridge and surrounding communities. JAS provides affordable rental and home ownership housing and home improvement assistance in Cambridge, MA. Homelessness prevention services are available to residents of Cambridge and nearby communities including Malden, Everett, and Revere. Depending on the program, JAS’s education and training programs are open to residents of Cambridge, Chelsea, and surrounding Metro North and Greater Boston communities.


Organization Categories

  1. Housing, Shelter - Housing Development, Construction & Management
  2. Education - Educational Services
  3. Employment - Job Training

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



Biomedical Careers Program


The Biomedical Careers Program is an intensive, tuition-free, 9 month, 760 hour program that prepares graduates for entry level jobs in the biomedical industry. Classroom instruction includes biology, chemistry, computers, and medical terminology, followed by laboratory skills training at Bunker Hill Community College. Support services are also provides to address potential barriers to students’ success, while career development training, including interviewing skills, resume preparation, and letter writing, prepares them to enter the job market. Job placement assistance is provided for at least 12 months after graduation. Partners with biomedical industry representatives provide curriculum review, guest speakers, fieldtrip visits to local biotech companies, an annual Job Fair, and job referrals. Recent industry supporters and employers include Biogen, Genzyme, Shire, and MA Biologic Laboratories.


The Biomedical Careers Program enrolls 20-30 low/moderate income individuals annually, most of whom are unemployed, underemployed or displaced workers. The average age of students is mid-30s, and many continue to hold jobs while enrolled to support families during enrollment in the program. Many students are immigrants with good educational/skills backgrounds who have been unable to access career-level employment in the US. The student population is very diverse, with recent classes having the following demographic characteristics: 49% male, 51% female; 20% Asian, 35% Black/African American, 12% Latino/a, 18% white, 15% other; 54% having first language other than English. Most students live in Greater Boston/Metro North communities.

Budget  $290,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Postsecondary Education
Population Served Adults Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 

The program expects to build a bridge for disadvantaged local residents to access jobs and to become successful in the life sciences.  The program is designed to assist unemployed or underemployed, disadvantaged individuals to enhance their English comprehension, Math competencies, academic skills, computer skills, and laboratory skills.  By enhancing their skills in these areas they will be successful in entry level positions in the biotechnology/biomedical sciences arena, with career ladders readily available to well trained and motivated participants.

Typical class cycles will include 20-30 enrollees, 90% of which will graduate from the nine month occupational skills training program. The placement rate to training related positions for graduates will be 75%. 

Program Long-Term Success 

The expected long term success is a career in the life sciences or other industry that will provide independence and financial security throughout their working life. It is anticipated that 90% of graduates will remain employed in a skilled career field providing a living wage for the remainder of their work lives, and will significantly increase their previous annual earnings, resulting in an improved quality of life for themselves and their families. We also expect that there will be significant community impact in terms of savings in public supports and taxes paid by participants over their working careers.

Program Success Monitored By 

Staff maintain records of every enrollee (including graduates and dropouts) and confirm each reported job placement through the employer, collecting information such as name of employer and address, supervisor, job title, salary data, weekly hours, and start date. Staff follow up at least quarterly with all placed individuals for at least one year to support and monitor their success.

Annual reviews and monitoring site visits are conducted by various private and public funding sources, including the City of Cambridge, to ensure the program is reaching outcome goals. Over its 22 year history, all monitoring visits have indicated acceptable workforce development standards.

Examples of Program Success 

An assessment of the increased earnings of participants during the past 5 years has demonstrated that the average class increases its earnings by $311,000 annually. 

With the tools and resources provided by the JAS Biomedical Careers Program, a recent graduate, Luc indicates “The program has given me a start to achieve my goals and be able to provide for my family.” Luc went on to enroll in a Bio-Manufacturing program at Middlesex College. Luc’s spouse also went through the Biomedical Careers Program and was able to acquire a certificate and gain employment in the biomedical sector. “Just-A-Start’s Biomedical Careers program gave my family and me the opportunity to afford a lifestyle that we may have not had otherwise.”

Housing Services

Individuals and families referred to Housing Services are typically at risk of eviction, at risk of homelessness, and are unstable with respect to financial, educational, and work issues. Housing Services assist these individuals and families to become stable for the long term with respect to preserving affordable housing, establishing financial independence, advancing personal, educational and work goals, and strengthening family stability. Housing Services also assists these individuals and families to establish effective communication and conflict management practices and gain knowledge of and access to a wide range of resources, programs and services available to them. Additionally, Housing Services works with homeowners to resolve conflicts and educate condominium associations as to how to maintain their housing asset and work together. The individuals served by Housing Service learn what their legal rights and responsibilities are to help them become effective advocates for maintaining stable housing and resources for themselves and their families.


Budget  $470,000.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Housing Support
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Families Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated
Program Short-Term Success 

- 90% of individuals and families for whom mediation is provided will have either avoided eviction and homelessness or will be able to relocate to and stabilize themselves in new affordable housing.

- 80% of the families who are provided with comprehensive homelessness prevention services – rental assistance, dispute resolution, case management and stabilization – will avoid eviction and homelessness while increasing their overall economic stability.

- 90% of small property owners who receive affordable legal services will regain legal, financial and management stability for themselves and their properties.

Program Long-Term Success  Individuals and families will have stabilized housing. Housing is the foundation for family stability, employment, optimal health, and academic performance of children.
Program Success Monitored By 

JAS Housing Services measures progress and outcomes through careful follow up with and monitoring of the individuals and families that we serve. For mediation and legal services cases, we follows through and/or monitor clients in order to maximize compliance with agreements reached. Housing Services will provide further mediation and/or legal services when agreements break down. For homelessness prevention clients, we follow up by monitoring housing and service plans, tracking compliance, conducting interviews, and providing collateral services needed to maximize the value of interventions provided. While monetary assistance is the initial stage for most individuals and families that receive homelessness prevention services, full stabilization case management and follow-up are inherent in our programs. We enter required information into our Housing Management Information System (HMIS) to document and monitor measurable outcomes.

Examples of Program Success 

One of our clients was a domestic violence victim. She had left her batterer to move to MA to be closer to a family member. When she first entered our program she was on the verge of homelessness. She was an immigrant whose green card had expired, making it impossible for her to find work. With Housing Services’s help, she secured housing using rental assistance that we provided. We assisted her in school placement for her child who had special needs, and advised her how to obtain child care. We were instrumental in helping her find support services for her immigration issues. She has since received her permanent green card, is in a training program, and is actively looking for work. We also assisted her with dispute resolution with a landlord, and helped her move to a new and less stressful environment. Her children are secure and happy, and she is well on her way to becoming a productive member of her community. She will be applying for US citizenship at the earliest possible date.

JAS YouthBuild

 JAS YouthBuild is a comprehensive youth development program providing young men and women who have dropped out of high school with a second chance to earn a high school diploma or HiSET and transition into productive citizenship. Building on two national program models, YouthBuild & AmeriCorps, JAS YouthBuild engages youth in service to their communities by rehabbing affordable housing while simultaneously enabling them to develop academic, vocational, employability, leadership, and life skills and to make a successful transition to employment, training, and/or post-secondary education. Over a one to two year period, rigorous academic instruction is provided in English language arts, math, social studies, and science to prepare for HiSET tests, MCAS tests for diploma students, and future postsecondary education and training. Certificate training and other postsecondary transition supports put graduates on career pathways in building trades, health careers, and other in-demand occupations.


JAS YouthBuild serves approximately 50 out-of-school youth each year, all of whom are ages 17-24, high school dropouts, and low-income, and approximately 30% of whom are young women. Many are homeless, parenting, court-involved, learning disabled, and have poor work histories. A number of youth come from immigrant families in which English is not the primary language spoken at home. Many students come to the program viewing it as their “last chance to get their lives together.” These youth typically come from southern tier Metro North communities, including Cambridge and Chelsea, and reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of those communities. In the spring of 2015, 8% of you in the program were black, 80% were Latino/a, 5% were white, and 8% identified as some other race/ethnicity.

Budget  $1,300,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Dropout Programs
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent College Aged (18-26 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Students gain the skills, credentials, personal life adjustments, and re-connections to community needed to transition to the next step leading to a fulfilling career.  Short term achievements by the end of the program include:

· 57% of students will increase one or more Adult Basic Education levels in reading and/or math.

· 50% will earn a HiSET or high school diploma during program.

· 80% will attain an industry-recognized certificate, i.e. PACT (Pre Apprenticeship Construction Training) or CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)

· 100% include post secondary education or training in their career plan, and 30% participate in college dual enrollment experiences and/or internships

· 90% earn an AmeriCorps Education Award to be used for college or further training.

· 100 units of affordable housing will be rehabbed in one year.

Program Long-Term Success  Previously disenfranchised youth (16 to 24) will attain success, skills, and begin on a path toward a career.  Graduates will be active members of the community having had positive experiences with community service and leadership training.
Program Success Monitored By 

Short-term effectiveness is assessed using the following: standardized tests to measure educational advancements; student/staff progress assessments; tracking of number of students who set short and long term career goals, with postsecondary experiences (PSE) as a part of those goals; number of students who participate in dual enrollment college classes, internships, or other PSE-related activities; attainment of industry-recognized credentials, employment and high school credential; and number of affordable housing units rehabbed. Formal assessments are made on a quarterly basis and provide ongoing feedback for continuous program improvement.

Assessment tools include: TABE, MCAS and Accuplacer test scores; HiSET scores (formerly GED test); Individual Goal-Planning Tool documenting goal setting and achievement of goals; student surveys and feedback; Student Policy Committee feedback; Monthly Housing Production Report; Partner Sign-off sheets; feedback from partners and funders.

Examples of Program Success 

Marilyn joined JAS YouthBuild as a 20 year old single parent, lacking a diploma and job. After years involved with DYS and various education programs, she lacked direction but knew that she wanted a bright future for her child. Recognizing the need for education and a career, she found the support and guidance she was seeking at YouthBuild, and achieved her lifelong goal of a high school diploma 2 years after joining the program. After graduation, she decided on a career helping young people like herself. She is now working towards an AD in Human Service at Bunker Hill Community College and  rejoined YouthBuild as a full-time AmeriCorps member, continuing to give back as a role model for new JAS YouthBuild students.

Real Estate Development

JAS Real Estate Development develops affordable homes for low- to moderate-income families. Our multi-family developments for first-time homebuyers and renters have affordability protection through long term Affordable Housing Agreements with the City of Cambridge and State funders. Our rental properties have deeded income restrictions and our homeownership units are repurchased at a restricted resale prices, preserving long term affordability.


In the design process the JAS Real Estate team collaborates to incorporate many green and sustainable features to help keep operating costs low for new homeowners and rental operations. Two of our more recent developments were awarded Platinum status under the LEED™ for Homes program. Whether new construction, adaptive reuse or preservation, all our homes get high efficiency boilers with programmable thermostats, high performance energy star windows, low flush toilets, shower heads, and faucets, and energy star appliances.

Budget  $550,000.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Affordable Housing
Population Served Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated Families Adults
Program Short-Term Success  Approximately 1800 low- to moderate-income people enjoy housing stability.  
Program Long-Term Success 
- Since 1984 JAS has developed 130 affordable homes for purchase, 24 developed in the last 5 years.
- Since 1994 JAS has managed the preservation, rehab and City managed resale of 62 home ownership units secreed by the City's Affordable Housing Agreement, 47 have been secured in the last 5 years.
- Since 1973, JAS has developed and preserved 598 units of rental housing, 51 units in the last five years.
Program Success Monitored By  Number of rental units maintained and occupancy rates of rental properties. 
Examples of Program Success 

As a single mother raising two infants, Deborah had a goal to gain more independence and find a more comfortable living arrangement then living at her mother’s home with a large group of extended family. She wanted her kids to come home to a space they could feel comfortable in; one they could call their own. Due to her son’s disability, Deborah was limited in her ability to find full-time employment and knew she would need some assistance to secure a place of her own. As JAS was completing a new development of apartment homes a few blocks from Central Square, she secured assistance from the Cambridge Housing Authority that enabled her to rent her first apartment in our newly completed development. With a stable affordable home, she has had the ability to do more with her children and become involved in the community. Deborah states: “I feel proud of myself. Just-A-Start has given me the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of life related to personal financing and has prepared me to become a future homeowner."

Youth Program

This program brings career awareness and readiness to the forefront for high school students as they are beginning to think about their path in life, and shows them how those concepts are tied to their educational success in high school and beyond. Youth are offered a continuum of employment opportunities, training, and supports for different skill and experience levels, allowing them to build their resumes from a first early supported work experience, to gaining teamwork and leadership skills, learning to find jobs and work with supervisors and coworkers, and identifying an education path that will support their career goals.
Budget  $280,000.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Transitional Housing
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Families
Program Short-Term Success 

While residents and children are occupants of JAS House the emphasis will be to achieve many short term goals. It is expected that at least 90% of residents will receive regular health care and 80% will achieve regular dental care. 100% of residents will receive training to achieve enhanced parenting skills. All residents will be referred to appropriate educational, vocational or job placements opportunities in order to enhance their self-sufficiency.


In addition to the residents, considerable care and attention will be provided to their children or children to be. All pregnant residents will receive referrals to appropriate prenatal care and will be provided transportation as needed to appointments. All residents with children will achieve 100% compliance with required health care immunization and will maintain them up to date while at JAS House. In addition all children will receive regular health care as needed.

Program Long-Term Success 

It is expected that all enrollees who complete their participation at JAS House will secure long term stable affordable housing for their family and obtain and sustain educational and/or vocational training while they are a resident. A major component of programming is to teach residents the ability to manage their finances. Budgeting skills will be developed and taught which will provide a template for their long term financial health. The development of house management skills are critical to each residents long term stability and positive functioning in the community. These skills are taught to each resident along with parenting skills which are designed to maintain healthy, well-functioning, intact family units.

Program Success Monitored By 

All residents will be discharged to an appropriate new housing environment which will support their continued growth. Of those transitions, 75% will enter stable housing; 25% will enter adult shelter settings.


In order to achieve long term success 100% of discharged residents will have a safety plan in place to prevent episodes of domestic violence. At least 90% of all discharges will be able to maintain a budget, will acquire the skills to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for themselves and their children, and 90% will be able to independently access appropriate health care for themselves and their children.


Exit interviews will be conducted with all discharged residents to ensure they are prepared for their future and have met the above outcomes. Through the review of discharge data and follow up efforts (for 1 year) residents will be monitored to ensure their continuing success in achieving their optimal functioning in the community.

Examples of Program Success  Nancy and her 4 month old baby boy lived at JAS House for several months. Prior to her arrival, she experienced challenges finding a stable place to live. Nancy was thankful for the opportunity to have a staff of employees who care about the residents and their well-being. Nancy learned life and parenting skills as well as lessons on how to budget her money for her and her family. Nancy stated that JAS’s program has given her a start to “prepare for the outside world and become more independent."  While living at JASH, Nancy returned to high school in an effort to graduate. Faced with the challenges of attending school and taking care of her baby, Nancy managed to get through it all with the help and support of the JAS House staff. Upon graduation, Nancy’s goals were to find permanent housing, and to enter employment in the healthcare sector.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

JAS offers a range of housing, resources, and education and career development programs serving low- to moderate-income people from Cambridge and surrounding communities. The five programs listed here are not exhaustive of all of the services we offer. Please visit for more complete information about the organization's program and services. 


CEO/Executive Director Ms Deborah S Ruhe
CEO Term Start July 2013
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Deborah Ruhe has more than 30 years of business and non-profit experience. She has been Executive Director of Just-A-Start Corporation since July of 2013. Prior to joining JAS she was Executive Director of Hosteling International - New England for over ten years. There she oversaw six facilities in Massachusetts and developed new hostels in Hyannis and Boston. The Boston Hostel, opened in 2012 and is a world-class 480 bed accommodation winning global recognition and awards for historic preservation, innovation and green design.


Deborah led health care organizations for over twenty years including Health Options in New Hampshire, Fenway Community Health, and the clinical operations of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She provided management assistance to family planning providers in Asia and Africa as a Senior Advisor for Management Sciences for Health, based in Cambridge. Deborah was the President of the Board of Directors of Victory Programs, Inc. and has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations and community service initiatives.


Deborah has an MS in Management from Antioch/New England Graduate School and attended the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire.

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

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Mr. Gordon Gottsche May 1968 June 2013

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Kathleen A. Carney Director of Resource Development --
Bill Gordon Director of Real Estate Development --
Gina Plata Director of Education and Training --
Kathryn Rosenberg Director of Finance and Administration --
Gerry Zipser Director of Housing Resources --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Summer Program Best of the Best Award Office of Workforce Development 2012
Award for Outstanding Non Profit Cambridge Chamber of Commerce 2007


Affiliation Year
Associated Grant Makers --
Mass Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) --
Massachusetts Nonprofit Network --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Mass Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC)

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 40
Number of Part Time Staff 4
Number of Volunteers 25
Number of Contract Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 7
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 36
Hispanic/Latino: 5
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 2
Gender Female: 27
Male: 23
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
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. Peter Munkenbeck
Board Chair Company Affiliation Consultant
Board Chair Term June 2015 - June 2018
Board Co-Chair Paul Parravano
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation MIT
Board Co-Chair Term June 2010 - June 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Barbara Aiken Retired from Commonwealth of MA Voting
Tara Dendy Community Cooks Voting
Lisa J. Drapkin Coldwell Banker Voting
Shawn Fitzpatrick Shire Pharmaceuticals Voting
Gustavo Gallego JVS Voting
John Henn Foley Hoag - Retired Voting
Jesse Kanson-Benanav Somerville Community Corporation Voting
Michael R. Kuhn Cambridge Savings Bank Voting
Joel Miranda YouthBuild USA Voting
Peter Munkenbeck Consultant Voting
Paul Parravano MIT Voting
Shane Steffens EF Educational Tours Voting
Susan Stockard Retired Voting
Zoe Weinrobe Recap Real Estate Advisors 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: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 6
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 85%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Real Estate
  • Resource Development

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

JAS's Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 identified a need to focus on improving Board governance. This is a process the JAS Board had not previously been engaged in, and has begun to undertake. JAS was founded in 1968 and has only had its second Executive Director for the past four years. Therefore, with new internal leadership, strengthened infrastructure, and strategic planning it is an opportune time to engage in a coordinated and comprehensive process to reinforce the organization’s governing body. In 2016, with this in mind, JAS welcomed seven new members to its Board, brining reinvigorated energy and refreshing new perspectives. It is more important than ever that the JAS Board understand and incorporate its roles in providing governance, strategy, and leadership for the organization, and work together in an effective shared leadership capacity.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $5,607,416.00
Projected Expense $5,405,688.00
Form 990s

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

Audit Documents

2016 JAS Audit

2015 JAS Audit

2014 Consolidated Audit (covers 18 mos. ending on Dec. 31, 2014)

2013 JAS Audit

2012 JAS Audit

2011 JAS Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $7,368,685 $7,607,923 $7,295,833
Total Expenses $7,185,286 $7,176,843 $7,185,950

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$854,500 $590,790 $386,754
Government Contributions $3,316,822 $3,493,246 $4,010,833
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $3,316,822 $3,493,246 $4,010,833
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $70,000
Earned Revenue $3,132,301 $3,342,996 $2,812,308
Investment Income, Net of Losses $64,640 $164,764 $15,938
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $422 $16,127 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $5,889,939 $6,476,655 $6,776,290
Administration Expense $1,085,248 $642,385 $354,212
Fundraising Expense $210,099 $57,803 $55,448
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.03 1.06 1.02
Program Expense/Total Expenses 82% 90% 94%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 5% 1% 1%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $25,836,301 $23,976,969 $32,864,748
Current Assets $5,354,815 $8,334,607 $7,946,280
Long-Term Liabilities $19,525,880 $19,727,403 $28,651,618
Current Liabilities $793,284 $230,008 $624,652
Total Net Assets $5,517,137 $4,019,558 $3,588,478

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 Yes
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 6.75 36.24 12.72

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 76% 82% 87%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s.
Please note, the 2014 consolidated audited financial statement posted above reflects an 18 month period ending on 12/31/2014, as the organization changed its fiscal year in 2014 from a July 1 - June 30 fiscal year, to a calendar year Jan. 1 - Dec. 31.


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?

JAS’s priorities are for all people to have affordable, safe housing, sustainable employment, and be engaged in their communities. The programs and services of JAS are designed to allow low- to moderate-income individuals and families achieve these ends in a community with a very high cost of living. Long-term success for JAS’s work is measured by:

1) The number of individuals and families who have a safe, secure home in JAS-owned rental housing, through affordable homeownership opportunities, or in the community through JAS’s housing stabilization or home improvement work.

2) The number of individuals who have obtained the skills needed for employment or to continue their education towards a career that will provide economic stability. Measured through: Attainment of educational credentials, job placement, job retention, increases in wages, etc.

3) The number of individuals served by JAS who become more involved and invested in the place they live and their neighbors.

Each one of JAS’s programs has its own delineated goals, objectives, and indicators that are monitored to guide the design and adjustment of the service delivery model.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

JAS provides a continuum of housing and education and training programs and services. Housing is a basic human need and essential for the stability and security needed to allow individuals to thrive, learn, and find gainful employment. Housing provided ranges from affordable rental apartments to affordable first time home ownership opportunities. Services include the resolution of housing related disputes with mediation, guiding homeowners with rehabilitation projects, and financial assistance and case management to prevent homelessness. Long term success is measured by the number of residents housed, the resolution of housing disputes that provide for stabilized residencies, and the residents who are able to maintain their homes.

Sustainable careers are the second area of focus for JAS. JAS enables underemployed or unemployed adults and disconnected youth to gain education and skills to be successful in the workforce. JAS operates youth programs for Cambridge high school students who need supplemental education and work experience to be successful in and after high school. JAS YouthBuild allows youth who have dropped out of high school to gain the basic high school credential and real world work experience through a nationally recognized, intensive model, which includes classroom education as well as job-site experience, and community service and leadership training. The Biomedical Careers Program provides adults with a free nine-month education and a pathway to entry level jobs in biotech and related industries that provide stability and opportunity for advancement.

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

JAS’s core programs have been delivered for 20 to 49 years, giving the organization and our staff the expertise necessary to provide effective services that continue to evolve to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Program staff include licensed teachers and social workers, experienced project managers, worksite managers with relevant experience in the trades, and attorneys. All JAS programs are community based and delivered in partnership with numerous organizations including educational institutions, local employers, and public and community agencies. JAS has the long term experience, community relationships, and professional staffing to deliver its diverse range of programs with excellent results.

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

JAS’s success in achieving these goals is measured by assessing the individuals who participate in each or our programs and reside in JAS’s affordable rental housing. JAS’s programs individually collect extensive client data, which includes information on demographics, family income, and government program participation, as well as attendance and assessment data showing their progress throughout participation in our programs, and feedback from their evaluations of JAS’s programming. Data on clients is analyzed periodically to measure their progress towards expected outcomes. JAS’s programs are also monitored by government and private funders including the U.S. Department of Labor, the Metro North Regional Employment Board, and the City of Cambridge. 

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

On an ongoing basis, at any time, JAS is providing affordable rental housing and residential services to approximately 1,500 low- to moderate-income individuals in 19 developments across Cambridge. In 2016, JAS provided mediation, conflict resolution, and homelessness prevention services that helped to keep 527 households (1,500 individuals) in stable housing. Last year, JAS also managed the rehab and resale of 11 affordable units through the City Deed Restricted condo program, and provided financial and/or technical assistance to homeowners to improve 66 units.

In May of 2016, a diverse group of 24 students successfully graduated from our Biomedical Careers Program. These graduates are expected to increase their annual income by about $15,000 the year after graduation, as demonstrated by finding of an independent evaluation completed by UMass Boston’s Canter for Social Policy. Also last year, JAS YouthBuild served a total of 55 high risk youth providing education to complete a high school credential, work experience at affordable housing community service sites, leadership and life skills training, and supportive services. In 2016, JAS’s youth programs at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School provided job readiness and career development services and supportive employment experiences to a total of 128 young people. JAS’s Financial Capability Program was launched in early 2017, and the organization is currently developing a workforce training for IT user support roles for be launched in early 2018.