Share |

Room to Grow - Boston

 142 Berkeley Street
 Boston, MA 02116
[P] (617) 859-4545
[F] (617) 859-4503
Robyn Carter
Facebook Twitter
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 13-4012096

LAST UPDATED: 08/30/2017
Organization DBA Room to Grow
Room to Grow National, Inc.
Former Names Room to Grow New York (2004)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes


Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of Room to Grow is to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development.

Mission Statement

The mission of Room to Grow is to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $1,357,500.00
Projected Expense $1,354,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Room to Grow Clinical Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

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


Mission Statement

The mission of Room to Grow is to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development.

Background Statement

Room to Grow offers a specialized intervention that addresses a root cause of educational and economic disparity - the parenting skills and resources required for healthy childhood development. The organization was founded in 1998 in New York City out of the recognition that every parent raising a child in the earliest years needs support, information and essential items for a growing baby, and that every child deserves the opportunity to have basic needs met, learn and grow, and reach his or her fullest potential. Room to Grow expanded to Boston in 2005. Since then, our Clinical Program has provided parents with information and guidance to support their babies’ physical, social and cognitive health, along with a tremendous material benefit. During the three-year program, families receive the retail-value of $10,000 worth of essential items for their baby including all of the educational toys, clothing, books and safety equipment needed during the first three years of life. At Room to Grow, we believe that by nurturing and educating both parent and child we increase the probability that children will enter kindergarten ready to learn and thrive.

Impact Statement

Room to Grow Boston is happy to report that we are continuing to level the playing field for children born into poverty as they enter school. Low-income families visit our warm and inviting space every three months, learning everything from coping skills for managing life’s challenges to how they can promote language and early literacy skills in their children.

In 2016 Room to Grow Boston: 
  • Served 339 babies and their families
  • Welcomed 109 new babies into our program and graduated 51 families
  • Increased referrals 47% over 2015 as a result of increased social worker outreach
  • Collected over 57,000 baby items that were donated by individuals, corporations, and permanent collection sites, to distribute to families in need
  • Volunteers served more than 8,400 hours, completing meaningful projects and tasks necessary to fulfill our mission
2017 goals include:
  • Add a bilingual social worker, broadening responsiveness to the linguistic diversity of our community
  • Increase inventory to support programmatic expansion; grow our Community Relations team by one to support collection and distribution
  • Continue building partnerships with innovators in the parenting and early childhood sector such as the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University so that we continue to align with the latest resources in the field, influencing funders and policy leaders to provide more children in Boston with a strong start.

Needs Statement

A donation to Room to Grow dramatically improves the likelihood that babies being raised in poverty in Boston will start school on track, and their parents will have the support and skills they need to help their child succeed in life. By making a donation today, you will give a baby born into poverty hope for a bright future.
  • $7,500 sponsors a family for the full three year program. This includes visits to Room to Grow four times a year where the family will receive one-on-one parenting education and guidance, connections to community resources, and all the clothes, toys, books, baby gear and equipment their baby needs from the third trimester of pregnancy until the child turns three.
  • $2,500 will fund a baby's participation in the program for one year.
  • $1,200 enables Room to Grow to help a baby in the program develop early literacy skills and form strong social and emotional bonds.
  • $500 will provide an expectant Mom with all the essentials for a newborn's arrival.
  • $250 will support a baby's parents with the knowledge and materials needed to provide a safe and healthy home environment for their baby as they play, bathe, and sleep.

CEO Statement

At some time or another, many of us come to the realization that the world is profoundly divided, always highlighting the differences among people, driving a wedge between us all, forcing us to retreat to the apparent safety of our small circle of family, friends, and associates. We see these divisions everywhere—rich-poor, male-female, young-old-and wonder how to escape the symbolic poverty these stances suggest.

We yearn for a sustaining vision that reconciles these contradictions; a vision that sees both sides of things in a unified whole. But few of us go beyond the wishing and the hoping state. Few of us risk what is required to do the hard work: to see the similarities in each other, and to build the structures necessary to heal the damage done in lasting ways.

Our own sense of survival forces us to spend most of our waking hours looking out for ourselves. And as we do, something is lost in us and in those without resources of any kind to protect and heal themselves. It is axiomatic that our children are often the ones most at risk and we salute anyone who, in the trajectory of their own lives, takes time out to help them.

At Room to Grow, we have tried to take the risk, to devote the energy, and to overcome the voices that whisper to each of us to just let nature take its course—dedicating ourselves to trying to meet the needs of children in poverty, those least able to help themselves. We have done so out of a profound sense that these babies deserve what we wish for our own children, that we as a society are enriched, in the best sense of that word, when we help to lift the most helpless around us; that in shared sacrifice, we make ourselves, all of us, better, healthier, with a brighter future.

We see Room to Grow as a ray of light and hope, a living organism committed to ending the darkness those children born into poverty often experience. Come and visit us and see Room to Grow; not just the brightly colored shelves filled with the clothes, books, toys and other material things necessary for a healthy start in life, but the residue of hope for the future that Room to Grow also represents. And it seems that this hope is not only for the children we care for, but for all of us who benefit in the face and fact of our collective selflessness and dedication.

Julie Burns, CSW, Founder, Room to Grow

Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)
Room to Grow families live in the Boston area, primarily in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Children's and Youth Services
  2. Public & Societal Benefit - Public & Societal Benefit NEC
  3. Human Services - Family Services

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



Room to Grow Clinical Program

Parents expecting a baby are referred to Room to Grow by selected prenatal programs assisting low-income families throughout Boston. Upon their referral, parents visit our warm and inviting space every three months from just before the birth of their baby until their child turns three. During their one-on-one appointments with a social worker, parents select new and nearly new clothing, toys, books, and other baby essentials, free of charge, and receive information and support to ensure their child's healthy and secure start in life.  
Our innovative program aims to achieve three principal goals:
  • Children will thrive during their critical first three years of life and meet appropriate cognitive, social and physical milestones.
  • Parents will attain the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to assure children fulfill their emotional, intellectual and physical potential.
  • Low-income families will have access to clothing, books, developmentally appropriate toys and other items that middle-class families can afford to buy for their children.
Budget  $1,110,590.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Family-Based Services
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Families Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Children will thrive during their critical first three years of life, meeting appropriate cognitive, social and physical milestones in their development that prepare them for success.
  • 100% of parents where developmental concerns exists will receive information about resources available to them.
  • 100% of babies exhibiting concerning development will be referred to an appropriate external support system i.e. early intervention.
  • Parents will engage in early literacy and language activities with their child.
  • Parents will be more confident caregivers.
  • Families will all receive the baby goods necessary for the next stage of development free of charge at each quarterly visit.
  • 100% of parents will see a decrease in the financial strain that often accompanies raising children while living in poverty.
Program Long-Term Success 
Room to Grow has worked with families in Boston for over ten years. Room to Grow has provided parenting guidance and material necessities such as toys, books, and clothing to hundreds of parents raising babies in poverty. Boston's Room to Grow clients have received thousands of hours of clinical support paired with $1,400,000 worth of essential baby items. 
We believe that children raised in a nurturing and secure environment will become capable parents themselves. Our hope is that by offering tangible comprehensive support early on, we will help to strengthen families and increase the probability that children will enter kindergarten ready to learn and continue on to succeed in school and work, thereby making it more likely they will escape poverty as adults.
Program Success Monitored By 
Room to Grow is focused on the families of the clinical program and is dedicated to ensuring the success of both the program, and its affect on families. Our recent evaluation efforts have demonstrated strong indicators of program success. The Room to Grow program model is being advised by Columbia University and we have piloted implementation of three evidence­based tools to track maternal depression, social/emotional development, and school readiness. Additionally, these tools will enable us to introduce comparison data to analyze our effectiveness in those three core areas, further evaluating our model and impact. Investing in data collection and analysis is core to our service model and this step will further evaluate our impact and set the stage for future growth of the organization.
Examples of Program Success 
 Sample findings
  • 88% of all families complete the full three-year program
  • 89% of clients report an excellent satisfaction with Room to Grow overall
  • 97% of parents are more knowledgeable about milestones critical to their children's development
  • 96% of parents feel more confident in parenting 
  • 95% of parents have developed daily routines with their child, including reading, telling stories, or singing
We will continue this effort and seek to both validate and compare some of our internal data with outcome indicators gathered using field-tested instruments.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Robyn Carter LICSW
CEO Term Start Mar 2012
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Robyn Carter has dedicated her career to providing leadership and service in Boston human service organizations committed to building upon the strengths of children and families. Prior to joining Room to Grow in March of 2012, Robyn was the Vice President of Programs and Services at United South End Settlements and served as a Network Director for early childhood and prevention programs at the Home for Little Wanderers. Robyn was a 2006 Schott Fellow in Early Childhood Education and Care and is now an alumnus of the CAYL (formerly Schott) Fellowship program. She has served on the Boards of the Neighborhood Parents of the Hurley School, and the Massachusetts Association for Early Childhood Education and Care (MADCA). Robyn holds a BA in Psychology from Williams College and an MSW from Boston University.

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 11
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 3,000
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 9
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 12
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

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


Board Chair Ms. Mary Cannon
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Chair Term June 2015 - June 2017
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
James Athanasoulas Sankaty Advisors, LLC Voting
Mary Cannon Community Volunteer Voting
Jennifer Dowd Community Volunteer Voting
Sarah D. Greenhill Community Volunteer Voting
Jeff Hoffman CVS Health Voting
Eve Lehrman New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Voting
Giselle Nelson Community Volunteer --
Carlton Smith LS Trading Voting
Uma Thurman No Affiliation Voting
Brooke Thurston Community Volunteer --
Christi Wood Community Volunteer --

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Robert Baldassarre KPMG LLPP --
Peter Conlin -- --
Danielle Frissell J.P. Morgan --
Anne S. Hildreth U.S. Trust --
Alison Nogi Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts --
Thomas Reith Burns & Levinson --
Yaron Shlesinger Three Bays Capital LP --
C.A. Webb _Underscore VC --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 8
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $1,801,943 $1,349,396 $1,162,974
Total Expenses $1,324,280 $1,233,808 $1,111,674

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$368,936 $320,821 $345,398
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $174,376 $174,137 $153,776
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $94 $8,418 $1,000
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $557,386 $580,650 $459,961
Revenue In-Kind $207,752 $218,271 $202,840
Other $493,400 $47,100 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $913,753 $851,327 $774,726
Administration Expense $183,972 $222,561 $171,420
Fundraising Expense $226,555 $159,919 $165,528
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.36 1.09 1.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses 69% 69% 70%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 21% 15% 17%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $6,882,467 $4,997,203 $2,583,441
Current Assets $6,417,569 $4,893,653 $2,440,883
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $186,494 $138,384 $131,695
Total Net Assets $6,695,973 $4,858,819 $2,451,746

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
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? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 34.41 35.36 18.53

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Room to Grow National has two local sites in New York City and Boston. The audited financial statements and 990s include information for both sites.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary revenue and expense data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization and reflects its Boston-based financial data. The asset and liability data above is per the audits and reflects the organization's national financial data.


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?