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Massachusetts Poetry Outreach Project

 15 Channel Center Street, Suite 103
 Boston, MA 02210
[P] (617) 4020812
[F] --
Sara Siegel
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 27-0584283

LAST UPDATED: 01/04/2017
Organization DBA Mass Poetry
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes


Mission StatementMORE »

Words matter - spoken and written. When combined into a poem, into a form of art, they matter powerfully and beautifully. They move us to think, feel and act. To understand each other.

Mass Poetry’s mission is to engage schools, communities and the general public in poetry programs that move people with the art of the word. Our programs’ fundamental activities are reading, writing, performing and teaching. They develop students, teachers, and communities of people who have improved their powers of expression, literacy, and ability to connect with each other.

Mission Statement

Words matter - spoken and written. When combined into a poem, into a form of art, they matter powerfully and beautifully. They move us to think, feel and act. To understand each other.

Mass Poetry’s mission is to engage schools, communities and the general public in poetry programs that move people with the art of the word. Our programs’ fundamental activities are reading, writing, performing and teaching. They develop students, teachers, and communities of people who have improved their powers of expression, literacy, and ability to connect with each other.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2016 to Dec 31, 2016
Projected Income $196,528.00
Projected Expense $194,950.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Massachusetts Poetry Festival
  • Poetry in Public Places
  • Student Day of Poetry

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

Words matter - spoken and written. When combined into a poem, into a form of art, they matter powerfully and beautifully. They move us to think, feel and act. To understand each other.

Mass Poetry’s mission is to engage schools, communities and the general public in poetry programs that move people with the art of the word. Our programs’ fundamental activities are reading, writing, performing and teaching. They develop students, teachers, and communities of people who have improved their powers of expression, literacy, and ability to connect with each other.

Background Statement

In the spring of 2009, a group of poets from Massachusetts gathered to identify and connect two persistent challenges, one affecting poetry and the other arts education. They shared proof that the community of poets across the state was fragmented, poetry was distant from the lives of the public, that there was little access to accomplished poets, and that the art of poetry had retreated mainly to the academy. They also acknowledged the abundant evidence of the general decline in arts education in schools. In both cases, they recognized that people of all ages and communities across the state did not have access to one of humankind’s most ancient and essential art forms.

However, they knew that the talent and energy necessary to address these related challenges were abundant. As a result, Mass Poetry was created to better the imaginative lives of our citizens, poets, students and teachers - and to contribute to arts education - by engaging people in the art of poetry. The organization made a particular commitment to reaching audiences who do not traditionally interact with poetry.

Impact Statement

In the past year, Mass Poetry has reached over 4,000 public middle and high school students through our 5 regional Student Days of Poetry (bringing hundreds of students to college campuses to engage in writing-generative workshops with poet educators) as well as in-school Student Days of Poetry (bringing poets directly into a school).
Our program of bringing poems to public spaces in surprising ways has had significant impact.  The Raining Poetry project has become a phenomenal success. Working with the City of Boston, Mass Poetry has commissioned Danielle Georges, the city's Poet Laureate, to choose poems by poets with Massachusetts ties, which the Mural Crew then installs on city streets. Once dry, the poems are invisible until it rains, revealing beautiful poems throughout the city. Mass Poetry subsequently received inquiries from all over the world to replicate the project in communities across the globe.  New York Magazine made a video which has received over 23 million views on Facebook. Our program of putting poems in place of ads on the MBTA brought poetry to over 350,000 people this year.
The Poetry Festival is now the second largest such festival in the country. Our Evening of Inspired Leaders with readers such as Deval Patrick, historian David McCullough, a former police chief, CEO's, university presidents and non profit leaders has elevated the importance of poetry.
In the coming year, we will start a poet-in-residence program with public high schools. We are currently working with Lesley University to create an ongoing poet-educator certification course which would allow us to place certified poets in schools for long-term poet-in-residence positions. We plan one expanding our poetry in public places programs to new sites and new ways of bringing poetry to large numbers of people, often in surprising ways. We will be working with city governments and larger property management companies to do this.
We will continue all our other programing.

Needs Statement

1) Executive Director (probably cost us $100,000 plus benefits)
2)  Development Director (probably cost us $80,000 plus benefits)
3)  Board expansion - no real dollar cost
4) Support of Student Day of Poetry poet-in-residence program (including poet-educator certification course and public school placement. To target low performing schools in Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Lynn, Lawrence and Lowell we need to raise an additional $35,000.)
5) Increased marketing for Mass Poetry festival and other programs and events. (We need to raise an additional $15,000)

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement

When I started Mass Poetry, many people, especially potential donors, were not that interested. "Poetry ? -- no one can understand poetry any more. Too hard. Too inaccessible. Poetry is just not relevant." Yet, especially in times of great joy, such as weddings, or great sadness, such as funerals, most people turn to poetry. It remains a vital form of expression and art.
Over the last 7 years, as people began to hear of the work that our little organization was doing with young people and seeing students get passionate about writing, finding their voices, telling their own truths, more people began to be interested in our work. When we brought Raining Poetry to Boston and poems appeared in the rain on sidewalks, thousands were delighted. When we put poems on the MBTA, tens of thousands were thrilled to encounter poems in the course of their normal days.
I believe in the power of poetry. Its ability to heal, to comfort, to allow us to discover ourselves and much about the complexities of being alive. I have seen poetry become a passion of a young person who, before hearing a poet, scoffed at the idea of writing anything let alone poetry. Once in love with poetry, I have seen those young people transformed. They work to acquire literacy skills. Once quiet in the back of class, they come alive. They quicken as they find their voice and exult in a new found ability to tell their own and unique truths. 
However I am a realist. I know that poetry had largely retreated to the academy and that many people feel totally disconnected to this oldest of art forms. Too many poets seem to glory in being inaccessible. That is why I believe in the work of Mass Poetry. If we can revive and reconnect poetry to the lives of tens of thousands of people, we will have done something worth doing. If we can build new audiences for poetry, we will have an impact on the future. If we can bring poetry to schools, teachers and young people,  we will transform lives. And that is why I am passionate about Mass Poetry.
Mass Poetry has come far in a very few years. Now we are in the second year of a 3-4 year program to build capacity and reach a funding level that can sustain the work at near the needed level. For a small organization with a tiny staff, Mass Poetry has had a very large impact.

Geographic Area Served


Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Arts & Culture
  2. Unknown -
  3. -

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



Massachusetts Poetry Festival

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival is the second largest poetry festival in the US. This three-day festival features hundreds of poets from New England (as well as nationally and internationally) in readings, workshops, performances, and more for upwards of 1000 attendees.
Budget  --
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Adults Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  The number of volunteers Mass Poetry recruits for the Festival is an incredible indicator of the success of the festival. We also see many repeat attendees who are eager to take part year after year.
Program Long-Term Success  As The Mass Poetry Festival continues to grow, we will be able to showcase more and more poets as well as reach a larger number of attendees from throughout New England. It is our hope that with an increase in featured poets and visitors, we will be able to expand the number of citizens of Massachusetts who incorporate poetry into their daily lives several times a year.
Program Success Monitored By  Following the festival we send all volunteers and attendees a survey to see what they liked best about the festival and what could be improved. In general the only complaints are that attendees are unable to attend every session they would like because they are overlapping!
Examples of Program Success 

Headliners: Kim Addonizio, Lucie Brock-Broido, Rafael Campo, Carol Ann Duffy, Oliver de la Paz, Cornelius Eady, Rhina Espaillat, Forrest Gander, David Ferry, Li-Young Lee, Philip Levine, Susan Rich, Marge Piercy, Vivian Shipley, C.D. Wright

200 performing poets, 940 paid attendees, 105 volunteers, 40 complimentary admissions, 46 small press fair exhibitors


Headliners: Rita Dove, Richard Blanco, Stephen Burt, Denise Duhamel, Nick Flynn, Regie Gibson, Jorie Graham, Richard Hoffman, Adrian Matejka, Marge Piercy, Rachel Wiley

160 performing poets, 950 paid attendees, 97 volunteers, 36 complimentary admissions, 44 small press fair exhibitors

2016: (ticket price increase)

Headliners: Sandra Beasley, Martha Collins, Mark Doty, Edward Hirsch, Marie Howe, Ada Limón, Greg Pardlo, David Rivard, Charles Simic, Ocean Vuong

176 performing poets, 890 paid attendees, 103 volunteers, 40 complimentary admissions, 50 small press fair exhibitors

Poetry in Public Places

In 2014 Mass Poetry began placing poems on the Red Line of the MBTA in place of advertisements. Since then we have placed poems on different lines and the response is always positive. The overall goal of the program is to have people regularly encounter a poem in the course of their everyday lives. The poems on the T have reached well over 300,000 people.
In April of 2016, Mass Poetry launched Raining Poetry, an innovative new public art project. Working with the City of Boston, we have commissioned the city's Poet Laureate to choose poems by poets with ties to Massachusetts. We then stencil these poems and install them on sidewalks throughout Boston. After they are applied, the poems disappear. They are only visible when it rains or when water is splashed directly upon them.
Budget  $60,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Public Art Programs
Population Served General/Unspecified Adults College Aged (18-26 years)
Program Short-Term Success  We have had an incredible response to both poems on the T and the Raining Poetry projects. New York Magazine made a video of the Raining Poetry project which has received over 23 million views on Facebook, and we are thrilled with the amount of people that are talking about poetry. We have had requests from numerous organizations throughout Massachusetts to bring Raining Poetry elsewhere throughout the state.We receive dozens of emails from people encountering a poem on the MBTA and how important, uplifting, mood changing, gratifying and enriching it was for them.
Program Long-Term Success  Long term we will have brought poems into the lives of several million residents of Massachusetts. The result will be that people realize that they appreciate poems, that poems can be accessible and meaningful for them and they will want more poetry in their lives.
Program Success Monitored By  Our success is monitored by the amount and tenor of feedback received through email and social media. It has been overwhelming and only positive. Long term we would welcome the chance to do quantitative research with statistically valid sample sizes to track the impact of our work. But right now we are not at sustained scale nor could we afford such research.
Examples of Program Success  We have received nearly 100 emails from artists and organizers throughout the world (including from Finland, India, New Zealand and England) seeking to bring Raining Poetry to their communities. The fact that 23 million people viewed the Raining Poetry short video is a clear example of the program's success.

Student Day of Poetry

Student Day of Poetry is our program for public middle and high school students throughout the state. Regional events bring hundreds of students to a college campus to work with poet educators in writing-generative workshops, listen to poetry performances, and participate in an open-mic. In-school events bring poet educators directly into a school to work with the students in a manner that reflects the school's curricular and budgetary needs and size.We hope to build on these programs to place poet educators in schools for semester and year long sustained work with students.
Budget  $9,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Literature
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Following each SDOP we provide students with a survey which shows a marked increase in interest in reading and writing poetry. We also hear from teachers how students who were apathetic about poetry are now writing their own poems.
Program Long-Term Success  Long-term, students who participate in Student Days of Poetry show an increased command of the English language. Being part of a program that demonstrates multiple ways of engaging with poetry ignites a passion to learn command of the tools that will enable self-expression for these students.
Program Success Monitored By 
Most of the schools that we work with bring their students back for multiple years of Student Days of Poetry and/or participate in in-school Student Days of Poetry, often requesting a specific poet with whom their students connected. 
Following the event, we survey both teachers and poets to see what worked and what didn't and make subsequent changes, including providing teachers with a guideline of expectations at the event as well as a space where poets can share classroom materials and best practices. 
Examples of Program Success 
1 state-wide Student Day of Poetry for 1000 students from 29 schools
3 in-school Student Days of Poetry
5 regional Student Days of Poetry, each with over 300 students
Student Day of Poetry at Mass Poetry Festival
5 in-school Student Days of Poetry
2 planned Student Days of Poetry (statewide in Boston and small western Mass Student Day of Poetry)
Student Day of Poetry at Mass Poetry Festival
8 in-school Student Days of Poetry (as of summer 2016)

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The greatest challenges Mass Poetry faces can be summarized as scale and sustainability. The organization needs to institutionalize itself, grow its board, grow its budget, grow its staff. That growth will then allow Mass Poetry to scale its programs. That growth will allow Mass Poetry to create more sustained programming especially - but not only - in our work in schools.
In schools we need to build on the Student Day of Poetry where students get excited about poetry, often for the first time in their lives. These events not only introduce them to poetry but also to amazing poets, often poets of color, often younger poets, always dynamic, exciting and accomplished, and for the first time students have models that they can admire and seek to emulate. However those events need to lead to a sustained involvement with effective poet educators. We have the building blocks for that more sustained programing in schools. We need support to achieve it.
The same is true of our work bringing poetry to public spaces. Raining Poetry and Poetry on the T have demonstrated what we can do. But we need to have large numbers of poems on all the MBTA lines and bus lines throughout the state. We need to be stenciling poems on sidewalks in communities across the Commonwealth not just in Boston. We need to be working with property managers and retail stores to creatively install poetry in their properties. We are well positioned to do this but again, we need to institutionalize the organization, bring in the necessary resources, and then we can scale and sustain.


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Michael Ansara
CEO Term Start Jan 2009
CEO Email
CEO Experience Michael Ansara spent many years as an organizer and Executive Director of nonprofit organizations, including as the Executive Director of Mass Fair Share. He has founded and run three successful businesses in the fundraising and customer service fields. He has been on the boards of two technology companies and serves on the board of Tupelo Press. Currently he is retired from active management and devotes himself to writing.
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 1
Number of Part Time Staff 6
Number of Volunteers 100
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 7
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

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

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

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


Board Chair Mr. Michael Ansara
Board Chair Company Affiliation Board Chair
Board Chair Term Jan 2009 - Jan 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Michael Ansara Retired Voting
Heather Coughlin Mercer Voting
Amy Gorin Community Volunteer Voting
Gregory LeStage McKinsey & Co Voting
Don McLagan Retired Voting
Nicco Mele Shorenstein Center, Harvard University Voting
Larry Weber Race Point Global 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: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 7
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

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

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The board is very much in process. In the past 12 months we have instituted a clear board with set policies and brought in 3 new members. Over the next 12 months we seeks to bring in another 5 new members and to work to diversify the board racially and ethnically as well as to make it 50% female.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2016 to Dec 31, 2016
Projected Income $196,528.00
Projected Expense $194,950.00
Form 990s

2015 990EZ

2014 990EZ

2013 990EZ

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 $197,346 $197,215 $143,699
Total Expenses $241,086 $188,473 $120,589

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 $163,941 $164,604 $117,229
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $33,405 $32,611 $26,470
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $218,256 $175,648 $114,911
Administration Expense $3,180 $3,676 $2,082
Fundraising Expense $19,650 $9,149 $3,596
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.82 1.05 1.19
Program Expense/Total Expenses 91% 93% 95%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 12% 6% 3%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $1,250 $37,033 $28,291
Current Assets $1,250 $37,033 $28,291
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $7,957 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $-6,707 $37,033 $28,291

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 --
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? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 0.16 inf inf

Long Term Solvency

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

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The operating deficit of $43,740 at the end of 2015 is somewhat misleading. Primarily it was caused by some omitted end-of-year donations not arriving until January. By February the deficit was totally made up. This year, 2016, we project a small operating surplus.
For the first time we are seeing significant growth in donations from Foundations. We have received a three-year commitment from the Bloomberg Foundations Arts Innovation and Management program. We are being actively considered for first-time grants from a small number of major foundations. Building continuing and significant support from larger foundations remains one of our challenges and goals for 2017.
We are also seeing a small but significant increase in funding from government both at the state and municipal levels. We are receiving funding from local cultural councils and the City of Boston. We are receiving increased funding from the Mass Cultural Council and we are starting a dialogue with the National Endowment for the Arts.  
Finally we are seeing a broadened pool of large individual donors, in large part due to the work of the Board of Directors. 

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs 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 function expense detail for FY13 and FY14 is per the nonprofit's Form PCs on file with the state of MA.


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?

Mass Poetry seeks to reconnect a large number of people with poetry; to use the power of poetry to transform the lives of people, especially young people; and to build new audiences for poetry.
Long term, we seek to have vital, on-going poetry programs in at least 100 high schools and 40 middle school,s especially in lower income communities. Through those programs, we will impact the lives of 6,000 to 10,000 young people, instilling a lifelong love of poetry, boosting literacy skills and for a substantial number, providing a way for them to find their unique voice and tell their truths. We seek to have a majority of residents in urban communities across the Commonwealth encounter a poem at least 3-4 times a year in the course of their daily lives. We seek to actively bring poets and poetry to many of those who need it the most and have the least access to it: young people in low income communities, senior citizens, patients in health settings, prisoners and others. We seek to sustain a growing and thriving community of poets and poetry lovers. We seek to grow the audience for poetry over the next decade by tens of thousands. The result of this work will be to revitalize the art form of poetry, enrich the lives and culture of tens of thousands of residents of the Commonwealth and positively impact the lives of thousands of young people.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

1. Schools Program: Bringing students to Student Days of Poetry; placing poet educators in school; carrying out professional development programs for teachers; designing and implementing a certification course for poet educators. These strategies expose students to poetry and poets. As the students get excited about poetry, we will work with teachers to sustain that excitement and work with their students to support their writing of original work. We will then supplement teachers with dedicated and trained poet educators who can work in schools. The result will be thousands of students exposed to and excited about poetry and 1,000-2,000 young people seriously writing their own poetry. That in turn helps their creative and critical thinking and their acquisition of core literacy skills.
2. Poetry in Public Spaces: We will install poetry as public art in places where tens of thousands of people will encounter poems in the course of their everyday lives. We are doing this through placement of poems on the MBTA. We are doing this through the Raining Poetry program where poetry is stenciled onto sidewalks with an invisible super hydrophobic spray so that when it rains the poem is visible and emerges on the sidewalk. We will do this with large scale property owners so that poems appear on elevator screens and inside large buildings. We will forge new partnerships with companies, property owners, public transit, city and state government to pioneer new and unique ways of bring poetry to people.
3. Poetry  Celebration: The Mass Poetry Festival is the expression and experience of support for the community of poets and poetry lovers in Massachusetts. We will continue to grow this event. We will experiment with moving to an every-other-year schedule, experiment with bringing the festival to Boston, and experiment with off-year mini festivals in gateway cities. Our U35 program nurtures and supports younger poets under the age of 35. 
4. Our Common Threads program produces a selection of poems and a guide to group reading and discussion. This is then used by schools, churches, book clubs, public libraries and senior organizations to engage with poetry from Massachusetts poets.
5. The Evening of Inspired Leaders and Poetry promotes poetry, dramatically elevating it in the eyes of the audience and through the array of accomplished leaders who share a poem and discuss how that connects with the work and their leadership.
6. Over time we would like to experiment with taking poets to read their work in senior housing, prisons, hospitals, clinics, businesses and venues with significant foot traffic. This program however will have to wait for the maturation of the other programs listed above and development of additional resources.

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

Mass Poetry has a very small staff, including one full time program director, a half time director of the festival, a part time web content coordinator, and 3 interns. The organization benefits from a very small but very active Board of Directors. Mass Poetry is able to carry out the large programming that it does because of the unique structure of collaboration that it has built over the last 7 years with the active support and involvement of 300 poets across the state, a formal partnership with 60 local poetry partner organizations, a formal partnership with WBUR, partnerships with 4 MFA programs and 7 colleges and universities; a close working relationship with the Office of Arts and Culture in Boston and with other major literary organizations including Grub Street, Mass LEAP, the Favorite Poem Project and the Boston Book Festival. Mass Poetry has built a solid reputation for innovative and successful programing: extensive Student Days of Poetry, the Mass Poetry Festival, two extraordinary Evenings of Inspired Leaders, Raining Poetry and poems on the MBTA.
Mass Poetry has a very large and willing volunteer base being able to field 120 volunteers for events as needed. The organization also has a unique email list of 6,000 poets, English teachers and poetry lovers who have opted in to regularly receive information.
Mass Poetry is the only organization of its kind in the state. Through its staff, board and partnerships there is unique expertise. The organization has created a culture of making large programming happen with very few resources and small budgets. Overall the organization is poised to make breakthroughs and grow significantly. The past budgets (under $200,000 annually) demonstrate the organization's ability to have great impact. We are now positioned to raise significantly more dollars, get larger grants and donations. With that increase in support can come new staff, particularly an Executive Director and a Development Director. With those in place, Mass Poetry can begin to scale and see order of magnitude increases in impact.

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

We have very clear and measurable metrics for success:
1. Number of schools working with us
2. Number of students in our programs
3. Number of students writing original poems because of their work with us.
4. Number of poet educators graduating from our certification program 
5. Number of poet educators in residence in schools
6. Number of teachers completing our professional development courses
7. Number of poems installed in public places
8. Number of people who have seen a poem in a public place
9. Number of people attending the Mass Poetry Festival 
10. Number of groups reading Common Threads
11. Number of people at readings where we have taken poets to unique venues in senior housing, prisons, hospitals, health clinics, buildings and other locations

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

Mass Poetry has done a remarkable job of accomplishing a lot with very few resources. We have created and sustained the poetry festival that is now the second largest in the country. We have had 4,000 students participate in our Students Days of Poetry. We have held 4 professional development courses for teachers and graduated over 100. We have created and launched Raining Poetry and seen a video about it go viral. We have held two very successful Evenings of Inspired Leaders. We have had 350 groups read and discuss Common Threads. We have sustained a U35 reading program. We have built a 6,000 person email list and created a website that is a resource for poets and poetry lovers complete with a comprehensive statewide schedule of poetry events being updated in real time. We have helped launch and support an independent group of spoken word teaching artists who run the Louder than a Bomb teen spoken word festival and we continue to be their fiscal sponsor. 
What we have not accomplished so far is a sustained program in schools that can profoundly change the lives of young people. We have the building blocks for that program in place. The key is the poet educator certification program being jointly developed with Lesley University. This program will create a pool of poet educators that can work effectively in schools. To be effective they must be not only able to teach poetry but also trained in classroom management, lesson plan and curriculum development and the range of skills that make a teacher a sustained success in a classroom.
To scale the programs we have in place, we need to bring in additional staff and institutionalize the organization. We are in the process of building a significant Board of Directors and are in the first phase of that process with seven board members. We will also need to fund and hire an Executive Director and a Development Director.

With new staff, resources, and the poet educator certification program in place, our schools program can both scale and create a sustained involvement with schools and students. Only that sustained involvement can produce the desired results.
With additional staff and increased funding, we can take Poetry on the T and Raining Poetry to scale and to a sustained level. So far our poems appear on the MBTA in too limited numbers and only 3-4 times a year. Raining Poetry has been a remarkable success in Boston but should be spread to communities across the Commonwealth.