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Warmer Winters

 22 Hilltop Drive
 Leominster, MA 01453
[P] (978) 537-3464
[F] --
-- --
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2706755

LAST UPDATED: 06/04/2013
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

To enhance the quality of life in Central MA by gifting newly-made, hand-knit warmth to neighbors in need, and by teaching knitting to the elderly and to children, giving them purpose, and engaging them in the community.

Mission Statement

To enhance the quality of life in Central MA by gifting newly-made, hand-knit warmth to neighbors in need, and by teaching knitting to the elderly and to children, giving them purpose, and engaging them in the community.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2012 to Dec 31, 2012
Projected Income $14,000.00
Projected Expense $12,000.00

ProgramsMORE »


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2010 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2009 (%)

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


Mission Statement

To enhance the quality of life in Central MA by gifting newly-made, hand-knit warmth to neighbors in need, and by teaching knitting to the elderly and to children, giving them purpose, and engaging them in the community.

Background Statement

Warmer Winters began as a group of seven knitters and crocheters knitting for homeless people in the Winter of 2006. The group gave out 200 items that Winter. In September of that year, the founder of Warmer Winters became a Community Builders Fellow (an initiative of the United Way) which comprised business consultation, mentoring, and a small stipend. It was enough to grow Warmer Winters to 35 volunteers. In 2007 Warmer Winters gave out 900 warm, Winter items. Shortly after that, Warmer Winters began it's teaching program. Last year, the organization gave out 3,300 items and taught 60 people to knit.

Impact Statement

1. Distributed 3,300 warm, Winter items to 24 agencies for their clients in need.
2. Taught individuals with dementia and developmental disabilities to knit.
3. Taught children (ages 8-12) and the elderly to knit

Needs Statement

1. Additional revenue streams
2. More volunteers who knit and/or crochet and/or teach knitting
3. Board members for our board of directors with legal, IRS-related experience, and a treasurer
4. $5,000 per year for the heavy, thick yarn used for warm items
5. A webmaster to manage our website to help us get the word out about our services

CEO Statement

Warmer Winters is a unique organization in that it serves several different populations. The primary population is people who are homeless or otherwise in need. We seek to warm bodies, but also hearts. Warmer Winters uses heavy, thick, warm yarn. Certainly, a heavy sweater worn in a home without heat can make a real difference. We're told, though, that the fact that we give beautiful, new items made with care makes a difference. We even put gift tags on the items we give so that the people who receive them know that we respect their dignity, and give from our hearts. Does giving something new make a difference, or is second-hand just as good? Ask the 8 year old boy who received one of our sweaters. He said, "It's so warm and comfortable. This is the first new sweater I ever had". A 4 year old girl said, "I love my rainbow sweater. It's my Christmas present". Words like these tell us we are warming more than hands.
Warmer Winters reaches out to the elderly in recruiting volunteers. Many are alone and in search of a place to belong. We also reach out to people with disabilities and people who are low income. Since we give all our yarn to volunteers free of charge, low income people can knit or learn to knit for their own families as well as contribute to the community. Our monthly "Knit Knites" are warm, friendly evenings where everyone belongs. It's fun for a good cause.

Board Chair Statement

I have had the privilege of serving on and leading nonprofit boards for many years.  When I ask myself “why Warmer Winters?”,especially as a non-knitter, I always point to two very important attributes of the organization…attributes that not all nonprofit organizations can state:


1.       Warmer Winters is 100% sustainable by volunteer efforts.  There are not too many nonprofit initiatives - especially one’s like Warmer Winters that are serving over 3,000 neighbors-in-need through over 25 agencies, for which donors and volunteers know that 100% of their gifts of time and treasure go to providing warm clothes and warm feelings to those whom we serve!  From our hero and founder Judy Gentry - whose tireless efforts have made Warmer Winters a model of doing much with little, through to all of our individual volunteers and business partners, no compensation is ever requested or provided!


This is unique in the age of highly compensated nonprofit executives, board members and fundraisers!


Why am I, and so many others, so committed to Warmer Winters?  It is because of the love of “gifting” to those in need that our founder and executive director Judy Gentry has instilled throughout all levels of the organization.  She brings so much love and dedication to the cause, and is so open to new ideas and diverse supporters, that we can’t help but follow her example!



2.      The second attribute that is at the core of the mission of Warmer Winters is that we don’t just “gift” items to those in need, we also assist the elderly, young people and those down on their luck to again feel that they have value and can help themselves!  We do this by teaching them to knit for their own families or to learn a skill, by giving them leadership training and experience, and mostly by treating each person or family that we come into contact with, with respect and dignity.


Won’t you join with us?

Geographic Area Served

Central Massachusetts Region

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Human Services
  2. -
  3. -

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




This program is different within Warmer Winters as it is the only program that is focused primarily on youth. Not only do we teach knitting to children, but we also teach them the value of contributing to the community. As a result of the learning, these young people are able to focus, concentrate and follow through in all aspects of their lives. These classes are held at youth centers and public schools at the behest of the schools and community organizations.
Budget  .
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) Minorities Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Program Short-Term Success 
Short term success includes decreased absenteeism and enhanced social skills at our program and in their school experience.
Program Long-Term Success 
The parents of the youth see our program as a important part of their children's enrichment. The parents are proud of the children's success and some parents want to become more involved with Warmer Winters. Some at-risk youth's school attendance is facilitated by their desire to participate in the knitting program. Therefore, the long term academic success of many of these youth is motivated through the availability of our after-school program. At one of our sites, students with good behavior are rewarded by advancing to the teen program.
Program Success Monitored By 
Unlike other community projects that seek placement within after-school programs, Warmer Winters is invited to be a part of many programs. There are waiting lists for the knitting program in one of our current teaching sites. Also, one of our youth center locations reports a decrease in the overall behavioral issues of participants throughout the school day as a results of their participation in our program.
Examples of Program Success 
A boy and his brother who had been fighting constantly had signed up for our class. As a surprise to all, rather than fighting during the knitting lessons, the older brother mentored his younger sibling in learning to knit. Another example of program success is the class representative appointment of one of our students who had been at-risk for expulsion from his school. The guidance counselor in the school specifically credited Warmer Winters for helping turn this youth around.


Warmer Winters mission includes educating community members so they are able to experience the joy and benefits of giving back. We are able to assist people of all ages to give back to their communities. The joy that they feel in helping others is an important attribute to becoming a well-rounded and engaged member of society. Also, the skills learned by working with Warmer Winters helps its volunteers develop skills such as interpersonal communication, leadership, organization, and management.
Budget  .
Category  Human Services, General/Other Personal Enrichment
Population Served Adults Elderly and/or Disabled K-12 (5-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
Our leadership programs almost immediately impart confidence and enthusiasm for community service for our volunteers of all ages. One of our volunteers took on the task of contacting all 50 inactive volunteers to reengage them, resulting in a feeling of success in carrying out a project for that volunteer. Now this volunteer has gone on to tasks involving greater responsibility at Warmer Winters for the community. This volunteer has also demonstrated initiative in designing her own program.
Program Long-Term Success 
Our long term successes include volunteers of all ages and abilities that have stayed in school, obtained employment, and became board members of Warmer Winters and other nonprofit agencies. An at-risk teenage volunteer, entered our speed-knitting contest, and used her surprise win to help renew her confidence in school and life. She has gone on to college, something she never thought she could achieve. Two middle-age women who had been volunteers of Warmer Winters for two years, were able to obtain paid positions due in part the skills they developed while working at Warmer Winters. Some of these skills included inventory management, volunteer management, project planning and interpersonal skills. Four of our current board members began their relationship with Warmer Winters as volunteers. Not only are they assisting Warmer Winters, two of our board members also serve other community organizations.
Program Success Monitored By 
The success of this program is evident by the number of leadership program volunteers taking on added responsibility at Warmer Winters and in the community; including becoming teachers for knitting and managing craft shows.  
Examples of Program Success  --


Our second oldest program is well-known to the communities we serve for giving elders alternatives to the many passive activities that are normally available. This program actively engages the elders in utilizing their cognitive and motor skills. Often times family members of our participants are pleasantly surprised at the level of activity their family members are able to participate in.
Budget  .
Category  Human Services, General/Other Senior Services
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens People/Families of People with Health Conditions
Program Short-Term Success 
Classes continue to grow and additional classes are requested from all over our service area.
Program Long-Term Success 
A number of the elders we have taught now actively knit for their families and friends.
Program Success Monitored By 
We monitor our short term success by class attendance and requests for additional classes and knitting materials.
Examples of Program Success 
One of our new students is 101 years old and she is working on her second scarf. She had not knit in more than 60 years, and did not think she could remember how. A quick refresher from Warmer Winters brought it all back to her. A 98 year old woman with vision issues, who used to knit, was certain that she could not regain her skills. We are currently working with her to make progress on her first scarf since she her vision began to fail.


Volunteers from all over the country knit and crochet hats, mittens, scarves, sweaters, and baby items for neighbors in need in Central Massachusetts. Warmer Winters seeks to warm hearts as well as bodies by recognizing the dignity of each recipient by attaching gift cards to every item. For many of the  recipients receiving these newly made items it provides renewed self esteem.
Budget  .
Category  Human Services, General/Other Family-Based Services
Population Served Families Homeless Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success 
Shelter space is limited, especially for families with children experiencing loss of jobs or housing, resulting in many people having to find ways to stay warm during the winter months. Warm hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters can help make this task a little more bearable. Even those in shelters have to wait all day for the shelters to open and for people living under bridges our hand knit warmth may be the only means they have to fight the cold on a daily basis.
Program Long-Term Success 
Over the past six years Warmer Winters has distributed nearly 12,000 newly knitted items to neighbors in need. Items have been distributed to 24 agencies throughout Central Massachusetts. This program prevents individuals from suffering from cold related illnesses, which results in fewer school days and work days missed. It helps people who have a daily struggle with the cold to have an easier time becoming more productive in their daily lives.
Program Success Monitored By 
Success is measured in this program by the number of newly knitted items that are gifted to neighbors in need each winter. We gift these items to local agencies whose need far exceeds our resources. For example, Warmer Winters gifted 600 items to the Department of Children and Families last year; they serve over 4,000 families.
Examples of Program Success 
One of the ways Warmer Winters knows it is successful is by the kinds of things recipients of our items say, this is how we know we make a difference. One eight year old boy, upon putting on one of our sweaters, shouted, "this sweater is so warm and comfortable and it's the first new sweater I have ever had!" He wore it every day for a week except Wednesday, when asked about Wednesday he answered, "that's the day I share it with my brother."


One of our unique strengths is empowering individuals with disabilities by teaching them to knit. Learning to knit and following through on a project provides a great sense of success for people who often feel undervalued. Giving back is especially important to those who feel they are served rather than serving their fellow man. In addition to feeling success through completing a project, people with disabilities who have learned to knit believe they have something to offer the community. Many of the people with disabilities who learn to knit become volunteers for our signature program, and involve themselves more completely with Warmer Winters.
Budget  .
Category  Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success 
The Alzhiermers students have shown a greater ability to concentrate in the Warmer Winters activities than in other activities. These students continue to return to our program week after week, surprising even their professional care-givers.
Program Long-Term Success 
Especially for persons with disabilities such as Alzheimers and Dementia, learning to knit provides brain stimulation and social connection for individuals suffering with these conditions. According to Occupational Therapists,  persons with Arthritis and Cerebral Palsy, receive a unique form of physical therapy and can enhance their fine motor skills. All of the individuals in this program feel empowered by their success. Some of these students have a better range of movement and fine motor skills in all areas of their life as a result of learning to knit.
Program Success Monitored By 
Success of this program is seen in the number of people who continue to attend. In fact, a second instructor was added at one of our teaching locations due to the increased demand.
Examples of Program Success 
A 93 year old woman with arthritis and depression, who was taught to knit by Warmer Winters, now contributes two lovely scarves to Warmer Winters every month. She said, "I never thought I'd feel so useful at my age." A 30 year old woman with cerebral palsy, who was feeling useless, felt a great deal of pride when she successfully learned to knit. She has gone on to become a prolific volunteer for Warmer Winters.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Seven years ago, I stood at a bus stop. It was a freezing cold Winter.The snow swirled and the wind howled. People passed me, heads down, fighting the wind. Then I saw a young woman holding the red, raw, mittenless hands of two little girls. I knew then I had to do something. I started a small knitting group called Warmer Winters. We have been fortunate to have business partners that help us in many ways. Our major challenges are becoming a 501c3, finding qualified people to help us with our finances. We also have challenges that are opportunities. We are currently teaching 6 classes a week. We could teach more (and increase that revenue stream) if we could find more people to teach. As we expand we need more yarn to help more people. The need is greater than we can meet. These are all growing pains and we are dealing with all of them. What we need are more volunteers and funding so we can expand. Our greatest rewards come from the people we help like the 8 year old Alex who said when he received one of our sweaters "This is the first new sweater I ever had" I may not have been able to help those two little girls, but in the ensuing 7 years, Warmer Winters has gifted more than 10,000 warm items to neighbors in need.


CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Judy Gentry
CEO Term Start Feb 2006
CEO Email
CEO Experience --
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
Fitchburg Business Networking Group --
Fitchburg State University Center for Civic Engagement --
Metrowest Nonprofit Network --
Mount Wachusett Community College Center for Democracy and Humanity --
North Central Massachusetts Volunteer Management Network --
United Way Community Builders of North Central Massachusetts --
Wachusett Chamber of Commerce --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


American Red Cross
Catholic Charities
Cleghorn Neighborhood Center/United Neighbors of Fitchburg
Spanish American Center
Department of Children and Families
Montachusett Opportunity Council
Project Apples
Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network
Valiton Home
Montachusett Verterans Outreach
Early Intervention Partnership
Health Families
Child Care Resources
Resources for Communities and People
Battered Women's Resources
Pathways for Change
Rosie's Place
Visiting Nurses Association
Fitchburg Tenant's Association
Healthy Directions
Gardner Community Action Center
Head Start (Leominster and Fitchburg)
Leominster Office of Emergency Management
Fitchburg Community Action Center
Veteran's Homestead
Riverview Foundation
The Rose Project
Coffeelands Trust Espresso Gifts Cafe
4 The Cause Marketing and Consulting
Minuteman Press
Precise Event Planning
Hey Good Lookin'
Destare Martini Bar
Geronimo Properties
Workers Credit Union
Commerce Bank

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 85
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

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

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
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 N/A N/A


Board Chair Mr. David Michael Roth
Board Chair Company Affiliation 4 The Cause Marketing & Consulting
Board Chair Term Jan 2008 - Dec 2016
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Debra Buxton Workers Credit Union Voting
Ms. Elise Clark Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Joan Davidson Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. John Feeley Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Judy Gentry Executive Director NonVoting
Ms. Megan Gentry Akamai Technologies Voting
Mr. James Goodhue Commerce Bank Voting
Mr. Edward Herter Clean Impressions Voting
Ms. Michelle Rattanavong Precise Event Planning Voting
Ms. Lynne Rhodes Central MA Career Centers Voting
Ms. Nancy Senecal Congregational Church of Christ 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: 1
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 6
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 50%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2010 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2009 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2012 to Dec 31, 2012
Projected Income $14,000.00
Projected Expense $12,000.00
Form 990s

2010 990

2009 990

2008 990

Audit Documents

2011 Audit

2010 Audit

2009 Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2011 2010 2009
Total Revenue $6,000 $4,800 $4,650
Total Expenses $5,800 $4,750 $4,000

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2011 2010 2009
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $1,800 $950 $800
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $1,800 $1,650 $1,450
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $2,400 $2,200 $2,400

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2011 2010 2009
Program Expense $4,800 $3,770 $3,500
Administration Expense -- -- $0
Fundraising Expense $1,000 $980 $500
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.03 1.01 1.16
Program Expense/Total Expenses 83% 79% 88%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 56% 103% 63%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2011 2010 2009
Total Assets -- -- --
Current Assets -- -- --
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- --
Current Liabilities -- -- --
Total Net Assets -- -- --

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2011 2010 2009
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
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 2011 2010 2009
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities nan nan nan

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2011 2010 2009
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets nan% nan% nan%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

This nonprofit is fiscally sponsored by United Neighbors of Cleghorn, Inc and as such does not have their own 990s and audits.  The numbers listed above are per the nonprofit.The assets of the organization are not significant, as the only true assets are the items to be distributed.  As such, the numbers are not listed.


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?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


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


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


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