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The Alliance for Business Leadership Inc.

 One Beacon Street, 15th Floor
 Boston, MA 02108
[P] (617) 401-2394
[F] --
Jesse Mermell
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 26-0847220

LAST UPDATED: 09/04/2018
Organization DBA The Alliance for Business Leadership
Former Names Progressive Business Leaders Network (2007)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes



Mission StatementMORE »

The Alliance for Business Leadership is a non-partisan coalition of CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders at all levels who have one thing in common: we believe that social responsibility and the sustainable growth of the Massachusetts economy go hand in hand.

Mission Statement

The Alliance for Business Leadership is a non-partisan coalition of CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders at all levels who have one thing in common: we believe that social responsibility and the sustainable growth of the Massachusetts economy go hand in hand.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $648,326.00
Projected Expense $610,691.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • ABL Leader Lab
  • ABL Think Tank Brown Bag Lunches
  • Progressive Power Hours

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

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


Mission Statement

The Alliance for Business Leadership is a non-partisan coalition of CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders at all levels who have one thing in common: we believe that social responsibility and the sustainable growth of the Massachusetts economy go hand in hand.

Background Statement

The Alliance for Business Leadership was founded by progressive business leaders in Greater Boston seeking an opportunity to connect with their like-minded peers and to serve as a voice for business leaders concerned just as much with social responsibility as with making a profit. In its nearly decade of existence, the Alliance has been the driving business force behind important advances in Massachusetts such as raising the minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, equal pay, and the prevention and wellness trust fund. 

Impact Statement

2016 Accomplishments:
1. First and leading business voice making the case for equal pay in Massachusetts.
2. Convened first ever ABL Leader Lab, bringing together 200 business and civic leaders for a day of interactive problem solving around pressing policy issues.
3. Nearly doubled organizational budget from previous year.
4. Only business voice educating business leaders and providing a business voice on paid family and medical leave.
5. Launched Business Leaders’ Learning Series on Education Reform.  
2017 Accomplishments: 
1. Hired third full time staffer
2. Engaged and educated 25 business leaders through the Business Leaders’ Learning Project: Workforce Housing
3. Engaged members around paid family medical leave, and minimum wage
2018 Goals:
1. Increase digital engagement for membership
2. Membership redesign
3. Hire a media consultant to develop a strategy to elevate the organization's profile, and assist with a podcast 


Needs Statement

1. Membership growth (incorporated in the membership redesign strategy).
2. Value-adds for members at different levels (launching new Executive Roundtable and Standing Committees)
3. Expanding scope of communications consultant to assist with profile raising on specific issues

CEO Statement

The Alliance for Business Leadership is a unique business organization in two essential ways:
1. Our members are individuals, not businesses. We are structured this way because, 
2. Our goal is to use the voices of business leaders to elevate the conversation around progressive public policy that created opportunities for everyone. Unlike other business organizations, we are not focused on improving the business climate or ensuring that our members’ companies have a better bottom line in the next quarter.
Fair or not, the business community has influence over how policy is shaped. The Alliance for Business Leadership seeks to bring forward-looking, civic-minded men and women from the private sector to take advantage of that platform and serve as a megaphone for issues like inequality, diversity, workforce housing, criminal justice reform, education reform, paid family leave, immigrants’ rights, and the minimum wage, among others.

Board Chair Statement

Geographic Area Served

The Alliance organizes progressive business leaders from throughout Massachusetts, but primarily focused in Greater Boston. 

Organization Categories

  1. Social Science - Alliances & Advocacy
  2. -
  3. -

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



ABL Leader Lab

ABL Leader Lab is a day-long problem solving convening that brings together 250 business and civic leaders for a hands-on, interactive workshop on pressing policy issues facing the Commonwealth. Topics have included: health care cost containment, sustainability, education reform, transportation, economic development, veterans’ employment, workforce housing and economic empowerment. 
Budget  $120,000.00
Category  Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Citizen Participation Programs
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success  250 business and civic leaders assist policy organizations and public officials in solving problems and further developing ideas in the public interest. 
Program Long-Term Success  Ideas and policies developed at ABL Leader Lab implemented or advanced in the public sphere
Program Success Monitored By  The program has only been offered once, and working groups were set up to advance the ideas developed in each Leader Lab track. 
Examples of Program Success  The education working group from the 2016 Leader Lab developed the idea of a boot camp for business leaders looking to learn more about education reform. That boot camp was developed and was attended by 25 business leaders, each attending 4 sessions. 

ABL Think Tank Brown Bag Lunches

ABL Think Tank Brown Bag Lunches are hour-long, small, informal lunches that bring together business leaders and policy experts for conversation and learning about policy topics of interest to the progressive business community. The lunches sometimes lead to business leaders deciding to engage on an issue or seek more information through the Alliance, and sometimes merely lead to an informative mid-day discussion. 
Budget  $1,000.00
Category  Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Citizen Participation Programs
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success  15 business leaders attend ABL Think Tank Brown Bag Lunches each month. 
Program Long-Term Success  Progressive business leaders are better informed about the issues of interest to them, and the issues driving the agenda in state government. 
Program Success Monitored By  Attendance is tracked, and members are surveyed about topics to be included in future sessions. 
Examples of Program Success  10-20 business leaders attend the lunches, held approximately once a month. 

Progressive Power Hours

Approximately every other month the Alliance hosts a signature Progressive Power Hour, bringing together 30-50 progressive business leaders with a high profile public official for an hour long interactive conversation about policy issues facing Massachusetts. 
Budget  $3,000.00
Category  Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Citizen Participation Programs
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success  At least 30 progressive business leaders attend each Progressive Power Hour. 
Program Long-Term Success  Progressive business leaders and public officials build lasting relationships that lead to cooperative advancement of progressive policy in Massachusetts. 
Program Success Monitored By  We monitor attendance and seek feedback from participants about speakers they’d like to see at future Progressive Power Hours. 
Examples of Program Success  A 2016 Progressive Power Hour with Speaker DeLeo resulted in a detailed conversation about the Alliance’s support for equal pay, which opened up an ongoing dialogue with the Speaker and his office throughout the equal pay debate in the State House. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The main opportunity facing the Alliance at the moment is the increase in the number of business leaders looking to plug into civic life in the wake of the election. The Alliance has a chance to take advantage of people’s desire to “do something,” and work with them to channel their energy into the organization’s work. 


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Jesse Mermell
CEO Term Start Feb 2015
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Jesse Mermell is the President of the Alliance for Business Leadership, a coalition of progressive business leaders united in the belief that social responsibility and sustainable economic growth go hand-in-hand. She previously served as a member of Governor Deval L. Patrick’s senior staff. As Governor Patrick’s Communications Director, Mermell was responsible for communications strategy and for overseeing the press operations of the Governor’s office.

Mermell is the former State Director of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She has also held positions as the Vice President for External Affairs at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and as the Executive Director of FairTest and of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus.

Mermell is an active community member, having been elected to the Brookline Board of Selectmen in 2007 and serving until 2013. Upon her election she became the youngest Selectman in the history of Brookline, and created a female majority on the Board for the first time since the Town’s founding in 1705. Mermell is also a former Brookline Library Trustee and Town Meeting Member.

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

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 3
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 0
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 1
Gender Female: 4
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
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


Reporting and Evaluations

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


Board Chair Ms. Beth Monaghan
Board Chair Company Affiliation InkHouse
Board Chair Term Apr 2018 - Apr 2020
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Beverly Armstrong Board Secretary Voting
Mr. David Belluck Board Vice-Chair Voting
Mr. Joshua Boger Board Vice-Chair Voting
Mr. James Boyle Board member Voting
Mr. Jeff Bussgang Board Chair Voting
Mr. Geoff Chasin Board member Voting
Ms. Elyse Cherry Board member Voting
Mr. Sean Curran Board member Voting
Mr. Thomas Dretler Board member Voting
Mr. Philip Edmundson Immediate Past Board Chair Voting
Mr. David Gasson Board Treasurer Voting
Mr. Jack Manning Board member Voting
Mr. Quincy Miller Eastern Bank Voting
Ms. Beth Monaghan Board member Voting
Ms. Colette Phillips Board member Voting
Dr. Emily Reichert Board Member Voting
Mr. James Roosevelt, Jr. Board member Voting
Ms. Andrea Silbert Board Vice-Chair Voting
Mr. Alan Solomont Board member Voting
Ms. C.A. Webb Board member Voting
Me. Daniel Wolf Board Member Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 18
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 7
Male: 14
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 51%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Executive
  • Governance and Nominating
  • Marketing
  • Public Policy/Advocacy

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Alliance has made a significant commitment to diversifying its Board in the past 2 years. Since 2015, 10 new Board members have been added - 7 of them women or people of color. Additional Board recruitment is on going, with a commitment that at least 50% of all new members will be women or people of color.
The Alliance is working to professionalize its Board operations, recently adding a committee structure and setting contribution requirements for Board members.  

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $439,719 $381,215 $338,108
Total Expenses $501,956 $395,545 $218,854

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $372,835 $344,670 $325,175
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $59,384 $35,045 $12,013
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $7,500 $1,500 $920

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $312,335 $258,462 $122,207
Administration Expense $160,521 $113,883 $80,053
Fundraising Expense $29,100 $23,200 $16,594
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.88 0.96 1.54
Program Expense/Total Expenses 62% 65% 56%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 8% 7% 5%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $76,306 $128,344 $128,319
Current Assets $76,306 $128,288 $128,040
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $30,303 $20,104 $5,749
Total Net Assets $46,003 $108,240 $122,570

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 2.52 6.38 22.27

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Alliance’s revenue contracted after a rocky leadership transition several years ago, but with new leadership in place as of February 2015, and the expansion of the Board of Directors, the organization’s finances are stable and on an upward trajectory. 

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs above is per the organization's audited financials for FY17 and FY16 and per the IRS Form 990 for FY15. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


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?

The Alliance seeks to use the voices of progressive business leaders to advance practices and policies in Massachusetts that create growth and opportunity for everyone. 
Over the next 3-5 years the Alliance seeks to:
- Grow our membership numbers from 170 to 300-500.
- Employ 4-5 full time staffers.
- Grow our budget to approximately $750,000
- Develop and begin to execute a plan for long-term growth 
- Cement a place in the Massachusetts civic landscape as an established a voice for the business community as other existing business organizations. 
Though a somewhat fuzzy measurement, we envision long-term success, at least in Massachusetts, as establishing ourselves so that no reporter, organizer, activist, or powerbroker claims to know what the “business community” thinks about a given issue without having checked with the Alliance first. Long-term success means that all corners of Massachusetts civic life recognize that there are a wide range of views within the business community, and that there is a loud and organized voice pushing for policies and practices that create growth and opportunity for everyone.  

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

1. Growing our staff: As a small staff of 2, soon to be 3, we can accomplish a great deal, but in order to achieve long-term success for the organization we will need additional bandwidth to focus on growth and membership engagement, policy education, and programming. 
2. Growing our budget: new staff and new programs cost money.  
3. Growing our membership: like most organizations, we are bigger, faster, louder, and stronger when there are more of us. 
4. Professionalizing our operations: Sine 2015 we have been focused on professionalizing our operations, and this focus will continue into the future. From better membership data collection to improve budget reporting to the Board, and other advancements, we stand to further our impact when we operate at a higher level.
 5. Committing to diversity. A staff and board that looks like the Greater Boston business sector will make our organization more effective and relevant. 

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

The Alliance has some essential core assets at its disposal, making achieving our goals highly probable:
1. A high-powered, dedicated Board. The Alliance Board of Directors is a who’s who of the progressive business community, and has redoubled its commitment to the organization in the years since new leadership took over in 2015.
2. Stabilized finances. The Alliance’s finances are in the best shape of recent memory, and the organization’s funding sources are diversified between membership dues, foundation support, major donors, corporate sponsors, and Board giving.
 3. Staff leadership. Though a small team, the Alliance’s staff has deep relationships in Massachusetts civic, political, and media circles.  
4. A plethora of partners. Policy and issue organizations of every stripe seek to partner with the Alliance because they know that having a business voice making the case for their cause only strengthens their position. We have the opportunity to team up with respected experts like Transportation for Massachusetts, CHAPA, POAH, Health Care for All, ACLU, NAACP, and many more. 

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

Each year the President sets qualitative and quantitative goals in partnership with the Board of Directors, makes quarterly progress reports, and a year end report. If needed, goals are reassessed with the Board at quarterly Board meetings. Goals are also discussed at monthly meetings with the President and Board Chair. These goals exist in two sets - one set of organizational goals and one set of personal goals for the President. 
EXAMPLE (note: for purposes of document size, only one category of goals has been provided to offer an example of goal tracking)

Alliance Organizational Goals - 2016


Q2 Goal

Q2 Actual

Q3 Goal

Q3 Actual

Q4 Goal

Total Goal



1. Add 18 new Alliance members

Add: 2 Alliance Leaders 2 Participating Leaders 1 Rising Leader; Convene rising leaders advisory board

Scheduled rising leaders meeting for Q3. Added 5 new members - 3 Participating Leaders; 2 Rising Leaders.

Add: 6 Rising Leaders; Host summer reception to kick off rising leaders initiative

Added1 new member. Hosted 2nd Rising Leaders advisory board meeting, planned rising leaders outreach strategy.

Add: 3 Alliance Leaders 3 Participating Leaders 1 Rising Leader

Add 18 new members: 5 Alliance Leaders, 5 Participating Leaders, 8 Rising Leaders

Current paid members: 72

2. Add a minimum of 4 new BOD members, at least 2 of whom are women or POC

Research and recruit at least 4 new BOD members, at least 2 of whom are women or POC.

Outreach to Shereen Shermak, Quincy Miller, and Liz Reynolds.

Research and recruit at least 4 new BOD members, at least 2 of whom are women or POC. Begin to secure commitment to join BOD.

Outreach to Dan Wolf.

Finalize commitments from at least 4 new BOD members, at least 2 of whom are women or POC. Vote to add new members at December BOD meeting.

Add a minimum of 4 new BOD members, at least 2 of whom are women or POC.

Current BOD members: 24. Total BOD seats per by-laws: 40.

3. Begin process of hiring 3rd staffer by end of 2016


Assess with Executive Committee what staff growth should look like.

Discussed with BOD.

Assess financial situation, finalize and post job description, begin interviews.

1 additional staff person

Ideal scenario would be to have an offer in to someone before the holidays, and have them start right after the new year.


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

The progress the Alliance has made in the past two years has been remarkable. The organization has come from losing members, losing money, making a minimal impact on the public dialogue, and offering next to no meaningful programming to gaining members, sustaining itself financially, contributing regularly to the civic discourse, and offering regular and compelling programming. While much work remains to be done, these have been two years of significant progress towards reaching our long-term goals. 
The following recent areas of progress as essential to propelling the Alliance toward our ultimate goals:
1.  Gaining members. We have been slowly and steadily gaining members, after a period of membership decline. It goes without saying that we need members in order to make a difference on the issues we care about. We expect this rate of growth to pick up with the addition of a new full time staff person who will focus 50% of their time on membership growth. 
2.  Financial sustainability. In early 2015 the Alliance’s revenue came mostly from Board contributions. Today, revenue is a healthy mix of membership dues, foundation support, major donors, corporate sponsors, and Board contributions. Clearly this makes for a more sustainable and stable model. 
3. Contributing to the civic discourse. After going dark for a period of time, the Alliance is a regular voice in Greater Boston media outlets. In 2016 the organization averaged 6 media hits in Greater Boston per month, including letters to the editors, tv appearances, op-eds, and quotes in stories. 
4.  Offering meaningful programming. All Alliance programming is now designed to offer attendees a chance to both give something and get something. To learn and to teach. We don’t strive to be the flashiest business group in town, but rather to be the most meaningful. All Alliance events are intentionally accessible, interactive, and innovative. ABL Leader Lab is the prime example of this new approach to programming, where attendees are asked to roll up their sleeves and work directly with elected officials, workshopping in-development ideas that will impact policy in the region. 
There have been many opportunities to learn what doesn’t work. We have learned that business leaders like to be extremely informed about issues before making public statements. These lessons have resulted in the development of programming like boot camps where business leaders can do a deep dive in a policy area one the course of several sessions, to get a detailed sense of an issue and feel fully prepared to engage in a public setting.
We have also learned that programming must be rooted in what interests the members. Programming that doesn’t have an enthusiastic core of support within the Alliance membership does not succeed.
Additionally, we know that an obstacle for organizational success is the challenge around recruiting corporate sponsors as a “progressive” organization. Some companies shy away from being associated with any group that could be perceived as political, though we do no political work and are a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Some companies also express concerns about being associated with a group that is advancing causes like paid family leave that may not mesh with their internal policies or offerings. Despite this, the Alliance has remained steadfast in its commitment to aligning itself with progressive values. 
We have yet to accomplish all of our desired outcomes around professionalizing the Board, largely due to the constraints of staff resources. We have also yet to document a long-term plan, but an off-site strategic planning session has been scheduled for the Board in May of 2017.