Share |

WriteBoston Inc.

 2300 Washington Street
 Roxbury, MA 02119
[P] (617) 5412604
[F] --
Sarah Poulter
Facebook Twitter
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 46-1255108

LAST UPDATED: 03/18/2019
Organization DBA WriteBoston
Boston Teens in Print
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of WriteBoston is to promote deep learning through writing. The organization offers training and coaching for teachers, along with writing opportunities for students, built on the premise that powerful thinking and writing are inseparable.

Mission Statement

The mission of WriteBoston is to promote deep learning through writing. The organization offers training and coaching for teachers, along with writing opportunities for students, built on the premise that powerful thinking and writing are inseparable.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $1,063,400.00
Projected Expense $1,014,900.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Professional Development, Coaching, & Instructional Support
  • Teens in Print Newspaper
  • Writing Centers

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

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


Mission Statement

The mission of WriteBoston is to promote deep learning through writing. The organization offers training and coaching for teachers, along with writing opportunities for students, built on the premise that powerful thinking and writing are inseparable.

Background Statement

Located in the heart of Boston, WriteBoston is an organization that is dedicated to improving the writing skills of young people and supporting educators to teach effective writing. WriteBoston was started by former Mayor Thomas M. Menino and researchers from Harvard Graduate School of Education as a direct response to low scores on the English language arts portion of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test.

WriteBoston helps create writers – thinkers, communicators, problem solvers. WriteBoston believes that writing is essential to student achievement and all young people can be flexible, thoughtful communicators and problem solvers when writing is embedded in daily learning. WriteBoston partners with middle and high schools, local universities, community and government agencies, businesses, newspapers, and funders to provide comprehensive writing support to schools and opportunities for Boston students. Bridging in-school and out-of-school experiences, WriteBoston provides academic supports that help Boston youth make significant gains as writers. Programs include school writing centers, teacher coaching, training and professional development, and the Teens in Print (TiP) youth development programs, including an afterschool journalism program and the TiP Summer Journalism Institute for high school students.

A chief focus is building teacher capacity to teach and use writing to support student learning across all content areas. Recognizing that writing is an essential skill for success in college, employment, and life, WriteBoston’s staff works to insure that every secondary school student gains proficiency in this area.

Impact Statement

WriteBoston has strengthened the skills of over 15,000 students and teachers in 30+ secondary schools. Through teacher coaching, professional development, and direct work with students, we have been able to demonstrate substantial improvement in both student writing and teacher practice. 

Needs Statement

  • Volunteer: Support high school students as a tutor at our Writing Centers, be a guest speaker at Teens in Print, or talk to us about other ways to connect your talents to our programs.
  • Donate: Place your resources where your heart is by supporting the writing voices and education paths of high schoolers. Folks like you keep the lights on and help us grow to serve more students.
  • Connect us to your Network: Help WriteBoston expand its network by leveraging yours. You can host a house party, or make a thoughtful introduction to an individual, foundation, or organization who might be interested in this cause.
  • Connect us to your Workplace: Make a meaningful connection for a sponsorship, corporate volunteering, hosting students for a jab shadow event, pro-bono support, or matching a personal contribution.
  • Stay in Touch: Join our e-newsletter mailing list  or cheer us on via social media @writeboston and @bostonTIP.

CEO Statement

Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)
City of Boston- South Dorchester
City of Boston- East Boston
City of Boston- Hyde Park
City of Boston- Jamaica Plain
City of Boston- Mattapan
City of Boston- Mission Hill
City of Boston- Roslindale
City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- West Roxbury
City of Boston- North Dorchester

WriteBoston programming serves the needs of students in Boston and the Gateway Cities. Since 2000, Boston and the Gateway Cities together have welcomed approximately 125,000 foreign-born residents. Today, 33% of Gateway City youth and about half of Boston youth have at least one immigrant parent. 70% of all jobs will soon require post-secondary training; yet fewer than 25% of Gateway City students and 20% of Boston students are graduating high school and earning a college degree.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Secondary & High Schools
  2. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs
  3. Education - Graduate & Professional Schools

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

Under Development


Professional Development, Coaching, & Instructional Support

WriteBoston provides tailored professional development services to schools, districts, and education organizations that support urban youth. Lasting change to instructional practice requires expert, job-embedded support at the classroom level. For this reason, our core approach to adult learning marries new ideas (workshops and trainings) with ongoing implementation support (instructional coaching).
In urban school districts, a chronic roadblock to increasing student achievement is the persistent lack of continuity and coherence around vision and practice between district leadership (Superintendents, District Literacy Coordinators, Principals), instructional supports (District Literacy Coaches and Teacher-Leaders) and classroom teachers. Our professional development services reach maximum impact when we are able to work with every level of a school district to help them align goals, practices, and desired student outcomes.


Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Teacher & Faculty
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Program Short-Term Success 

The scope and reach of our Professional Development has expanded dramatically in recent years. 
After 10+ years of exclusively serving Boston Public Schools, WriteBoston now provides district-level literacy support to the Fall River, Revere, Everett, Malden, and Chelsea Public School systems.
WriteBoston has also added four educational organizations to its portfolio: City Year Boston, Tenacity, United Way, and the Dudley Promise Corps.
In 2016, more than 300 educators received high quality professional development across seven school districts and four education organizations, impacting a total of more than 4,500 middle and high school students. This represents close to a 200% increase over 2015 in our scope of educator support.
Program Long-Term Success 

WriteBoston has dedicated its efforts to building a community of writers since 2002. Over WriteBoston’s fifteen year history, the organization has increased scores on the English Language Arts portion of the MCAS by an average of 27% in partner schools. To read about several long term partnerships, please see case studies from Chelsea Public Schools, Greater Lawrence Technical School, and Boston Community Leadership Academy on our website. 
Program Success Monitored By 

Our assessment strategy is driven by the same questions that undergird our mission: are we making a difference in the life trajectories of the youth we serve? What impact are we having on college acceptance, attrition, and completion? Do changes we espouse make it through the classroom door and have a significant impact on the educational experience and outcomes of students? 

In assessing our work we use a combination of measurement tools: qualitative surveys, classroom level audits of student reading/writing/discussion, pre and post assessments, end-of-year test scores and embedded assessments, college acceptance rates, and rates of usage and scope of influence. 


Examples of Program Success 

In 2016-17, WriteBoston worked with over 375 teachers across 7 school districts and 4 education organizations. 92% of educators reported gaining actionable strategies to use in their professional practice, and 90% reported that WriteBoston professional development would increase their effectiveness in their role. Compared to other professional development they had participated in, 82% of educators rated WriteBoston professional development “better” or “much better.” The more years of experience—and presumably professional development—the more likely the educator was to rate WriteBoston professional development highly effective.


Teens in Print Newspaper


Since 2004, Teens in Print (TiP) has been Boston’s only citywide teen newspaper, written exclusively by teens for teens. Through a partnership with The Boston Globe, TiP is published 4 times per year. TiP has published articles written by more than 1,250 Boston public high schoolers.

During the school year, the newspaper functions as an afterschool and contributing writers program, offering opportunities for students to build their writing skills and learn journalism basics. The curriculum is rigorous and deeply aligned with the expectations of the common core state standards, giving students engaging and authentic ways to build school-ready writing, reading, and speaking skills. During the summer, TiP continues as a free, six-week paid summer camp that engages youth in career exploration, the fundamentals of journalism, and building job-readiness skills. In the current political climate, we see an increased need for this program. TiP sits at a critical intersection of youth voice and media literacy training: we need more young people engaged in making and understanding the news, and feeling empowered to share their voices.


Budget  $160,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Extracurricular Arts & Culture
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Program Short-Term Success 

Since starting in 2004, Teens in Print has published over 60 issues with articles by more than 1,250 Boston youth. TiP staff writers produce 30+ articles for each issue, an impressive number that has more than doubled since the newspaper began.

Our 2017 program evaluation show that 84% of students reported learning skills that will help them in school, 88% felt more prepared for future jobs, and 96% felt confident in preparing for a job interview. Averaging 10 different survey data-points, 88% of students reported growth in confidence, motivation, and personal responsibility. 100% of the TiP class of 2017 graduated and entered college.

Students in our six-week summer journalism institute—which offers an 180 hours of intensive but supportive academic and pre-college programming—felt more connected to other teenagers in Boston and felt that they had greater ways to express themselves and get their ideas heard after participation in the program. A comparison of pre- and post-surveys show student gains of 6 – 39% across nine distinct writing and research skills, with the greatest growth in “journalism-specific” skills: conducting interviews, fact checking, and analyzing media messages.


Program Long-Term Success 

Teens in Print has a 13-year track record of success, having published over 1,250 student writers and seen countless teens graduate high school and go on to college. Program graduates cite the impact that TIP has had on their readiness for college and the necessary habits for success. Recent program graduate Aisha Mohamed, now a freshman at Ryerson University, said of her time in Teens in Print, “Learning the skills and strategies of a real journalist forced me to listen and think critically about what people are saying. Whether in the news, in a conversation, in a newspaper or a book, I can tell when people are getting off task. It’s also made my writing clearer and more organized, too. I know that any profession or college major I decide to pursue will require me to write well and demonstrate my critical thinking skills. I can’t wait to go to college to see where things lead, and I’m confident that my experience as a teen reporter has set me up for success."

Educators, BPS administrators, city officials and local media echo TiP’s value. Boston Public Schools Committee Chairperson Michael O’Neil said of WriteBoston and Teens in Print, in 2016, "For 14 years, WriteBoston has been helping young people find their voice, and many students are stronger writers and leaders because of its success.” Jonathan Kauffman, Director of Northeastern's School Journalism, praised Teens in Print and the college’s collaboration, saying “Especially in these tumultuous times, having the energy and enthusiasm of Teens in Print on campus shows the difference journalism can make in the lives of students and the contributions students can make to good journalism. We hope this is just the start for many students who want to enter the media or learn more about it."

Teens in Print has distributed nearly 1 million copies of TiP throughout Boston’s public schools, community centers and libraries.

Program Success Monitored By 

TiP operates on the premise that providing students with opportunities to write about issues that matter to them parallels the writing demands presented in college and the professional world. By interviewing other teens and generating articles, students learn how to organize their thoughts, present their ideas coherently and compellingly, and ultimately deepen their writing skills.

TiP tracks participation and measures quantitative and qualitative outcomes. TiP’s measurable objectives align with the ACT Framework and 21st Century Workforce Skills, and include researched-based indicators linked with post-secondary success. TiP’s three primary objectives are: 1) increase student mastery through writing by the opportunity to publish stories in five editions of the TiP newspaper per year 2) increase in self-efficacy as measured by 85% of students reporting growth in confidence, motivation, and personal responsibility; and 3) post-secondary success as measured by at least 85% of students enrolling in college.

Beyond participation rates and college-enrollment, student-level data is gathered through student surveys. Pre and post-program student surveys assess changes in writing skills; confidence; connectedness to others; relationships with caring adults; cultural awareness; personal responsibility; work readiness; and initiative.

Examples of Program Success 

Examples of program success are best showcased in the students' work and voices. To read the most recent issues of Teens in Print, as well as older articles, visit the program's website. 

Writing Centers


Writing is an iterative process that often requires 1:1 support – an impossibility for many classroom teachers given their caseload. Each of our Writing Centers is run by an experienced coordinator and is open during the hours of the school day. Volunteer tutors–carefully chosen professionals, retirees, and university students trained and supported by our paid coordinators–guide young people through the writing process, while providing critical individual attention and support. Additionally, tutors push in to classrooms to support writing activities and lessons, which allows more students to experience the one-on-one support and real-time writing feedback that is essential to improving writing practice.

Students seek out the Writing Center or are referred by teachers, with teachers often focusing on students who are English Language Learners or students currently falling behind in coursework. 

Budget  $50,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Student Services
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Program Short-Term Success  During the 2016-2017 school year, 412 students were served through 1,405 individual tutoring sessions at two Writing Centers. 91% of students who used the Writing Center 3+ times felt that their writing improved because they worked with a tutor. 94% of teachers saw growth in student engagement with writing assignments after their students worked with a tutor.
Program Long-Term Success 

In addition to assisting students with classroom writing projects, our Writing Centers offer students feedback and support with crafting college essays, scholarship applications, and other pieces of writing that are critical for a student’s success in life. Students also have an opportunity to express themselves creatively and academically through one-on-one and small group tutoring.

WriteBoston Writing Centers provide students a place to receive help and feedback. They are immersed in a community of supportive writers where they're able to learn how to ask for help and integrate advice and feedback into their writing.

Program Success Monitored By 


From 2014-2016, WriteBoston partnered with ESC New England, an area consulting firm, to develop a more comprehensive evaluation and measurement protocol for our Writing Centers. This project centered on better capturing impact on student learning, writing growth, and post-secondary success.

We now have implemented significantly revamped evaluation tools, including teacher, tutor, and student surveys and a database used to track student and classroom services.

The Writing Center documents service activities during the school year with formal exit forms. For each one-on-one tutorial or classroom visit, the tutor completes a form that includes student name, teacher, date/period, assignment type, focus area of tutorial (12 options spanning reading, pre-writing, drafting, and revision), and notes on progress or challenges. The Writing Center Coordinator (WCC) trains all tutors on using these forms and their value as the first step to accessing impact data. The forms are then entered into a database pre-populated with student and teacher information. Basic reports are embedded into the system, enabling regular reporting to school teachers and administrators about usage trends. The WCC is also better able to review patterns in Writing Center activity (by individual student name, content area, grade level, English Language Learner level, etc.) and target particular students for increased support. At the end of each school year, WriteBoston conducts surveys of students, teachers, and tutors about changes in student writing skills and confidence.  

Additionally, through a partnership with the BPS Office of Data and Accountability, we can now link WriteBoston service data with the school district’s student achievement data. This partnership enables us to examine whether students receiving Writing Center support are making academic gains more rapidly than their peers. 

WriteBoston monitors program quality through careful tutor selection and training. Training is on-going and responsive to the issues tutors face in the classroom, including readings on topics such as teaching writing, supporting students with learning disabilities, and meeting ELL student needs.


Examples of Program Success 

For a story of program success, please read the attachment entitled, "The Essay That Changes Your Life."

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


CEO/Executive Director Ms Sarah Poulter
CEO Term Start July 2016
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Co-director Sarah Poulter focuses on organizational operations and development. She has worked for WriteBoston for seven years, in roles ranging from Grant Writer to Director of New Business and Evaluation and Executive Director. Sarah brings 15 years of leadership in intermediary organizations, as well as experience in management and partnership building through her time as Program Director for City Connects, Project Director for Boston Plan for Excellence, and her work at the Boston PIC.

Co-director Jessie Gerson, who joined WriteBoston in 2015, serves as Chief Academic Officer and leader of all youth and educator programming. Gerson has provided professional development support to Boston district and charter schools, Gateway City school districts, and partners including City Year, Tenacity, and United Way. She served as the Literacy Director for McCormack Middle School in Dorchester, and directed the Oakland Practitioner Teacher Training Program in Oakland, CA. She started her career as a middle school humanities teacher and has worked as a coach and consultant, training new and experienced teachers and strengthening school-wide literacy practices.

Co-CEO Jessie Gerson
Co-CEO Term Start July 2018
Co-CEO Email
Co-CEO Experience Co-director Jessie Gerson, who joined WriteBoston in 2015, serves as Chief Academic Officer and leader of all youth and educator programming. Gerson has provided professional development support to Boston district and charter schools, Gateway City school districts, and partners including City Year, Tenacity, and United Way. She served as the Literacy Director for McCormack Middle School in Dorchester, and directed the Oakland Practitioner Teacher Training Program in Oakland, CA. She started her career as a middle school humanities teacher and has worked as a coach and consultant, training new and experienced teachers and strengthening school-wide literacy practice.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Mrs. Betty Southwick Mar 2002 June 2016

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Corporate Citizenship Award Boston Business Journal 2017
Corporate-Nonprofit Partnership Finalist PR Daily's 2017 Nonprofit PR Awards 2017
Social Innovation Root Cause 2006


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 9
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 41
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 9
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? No
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
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 N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually


Board Chair Mr. James Tierney
Board Chair Company Affiliation Managing Director, New England Market; JLL Boston
Board Chair Term Sept 2017 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Heidy Abreu Senior Director, Corporate Law, Sarepta Therapeutics Voting
Caren Arnstein (Retired) Former Senior Vice President, Head of Corporate Communications, Genzyme, a Sanofi Company --
Doug Banks Executive Editor, Boston Business Journal Voting
Arthur Bom Conselho Vice President, Private Wealth Relationship Manager, Merrill Lynch Voting
Robert Consalvo Chief of Staff, Boston Public Schools --
Derrick Jackson Columnist and Photographer, The Boston Globe Voting
Mr. Nick Martin Coca Cola Voting
Frannie Moyer Lead Teacher Mentor, Wheelock Educator Mentor Corps; Lecturer, School of Education, Brandeis College Voting
Jake Murray Cofounder, WriteBoston; Faculty Director of Professional Education, School of Education at Boston University Voting
Phillip Page Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Cambridge College Voting
James Tierney Managing Director, New England Market; JLL Boston 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: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 7
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 91%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Governance and Nominating

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $1,063,400.00
Projected Expense $1,014,900.00
Form 990s

2018 Form 990

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

Audit Documents

2018 Audited Financials

2017 Audited Financials

2016 Audited Financials

2015 Audited Financials

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Revenue $1,260,523 $892,228 $720,871
Total Expenses $635,478 $856,162 $769,329

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- $0
Individual Contributions $998,185 $261,129 $351,895
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue $175,870 $541,623 $303,350
Investment Income, Net of Losses $92 -- $0
Membership Dues -- -- $0
Special Events $86,376 $89,476 $65,626
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- $0

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Program Expense $438,683 $587,457 $479,049
Administration Expense $83,797 $151,165 $177,142
Fundraising Expense $112,998 $117,540 $113,138
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.98 1.04 0.94
Program Expense/Total Expenses 69% 69% 62%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 10% 34% 27%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Assets $1,245,206 $545,095 $100,000
Current Assets $1,243,941 $545,095 $100,000
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $75,067 $0 $148,458
Total Net Assets $1,170,139 $545,095 $-48,458

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
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 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? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 16.57 inf 0.67

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the orgnization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. This nonprofit was previously fiscally sponsored by the Boston Local Development Corporation (BLDC), until September of 2013, when WriteBoston received its own nonprofit status.


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?