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Fourth Presbyterian Church

 340 Dorchester Street
 South Boston, MA 02127
[P] (617) 2681281
[F] --
Burns Stanfield
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 22-2525921

LAST UPDATED: 01/14/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

We are called to bear witness to the Good News of new life in Jesus Christ by praising God, growing together in the Spirit, and serving our neighbors in love. Through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, we seek to glorify God and shine as a beacon of hope in the community with open doors, eager hands and caring hearts.

Mission Statement

We are called to bear witness to the Good News of new life in Jesus Christ by praising God, growing together in the Spirit, and serving our neighbors in love. Through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, we seek to glorify God and shine as a beacon of hope in the community with open doors, eager hands and caring hearts.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015
Projected Income $443,289.00
Projected Expense $443,262.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Fourth Church Food Pantry
  • Fourth Church Teen Programs
  • Soul Possibilities Afterschool Programs
  • Summer Meals Programs

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

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


Mission Statement

We are called to bear witness to the Good News of new life in Jesus Christ by praising God, growing together in the Spirit, and serving our neighbors in love. Through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, we seek to glorify God and shine as a beacon of hope in the community with open doors, eager hands and caring hearts.

Background Statement

Fourth Presbyterian Church was incorporated in 1870, mainly by European immigrants, growing soon thereafter with a wave of immigration from the Canadian Maritimes. The church flourished in the early part of the century, but declined in the years after World War II when families moved to the suburbs. By the early 1980s, there were 8 congregants and the doors were almost closed permanently.

With support from the national church and the arrival of a new pastor in 1991, the congregation embarked upon a journey of transformation, growth, and expanded community presence. Membership is now 162, with another 350 “friends” involved regularly in the community ministry of the church. Over 1500 people benefit from various ministries in a typical month. Fourth Church is now recognized as a vital presence in the South Boston community, with awards from universities, local nonprofits, and governmental bodies.

The church is one block from two different BHA housing projects and the congregation is highly diverse socio-economically. Most members come from nearby, though some commute from other areas. Worshippers are mainly Euro-American, but also include Haitians, Asians, Albanians, African-Americans, and Latinos. Participants cherish the sense of care, community, and being known.

Fourth Church is committed to serving its neighbors, and it seeks to respond to particular needs as they surface. Over the last several years, the church’s programs have included mediation, support for battered women, Baby Basics (free diapers to struggling families), and an AIDS ministry. Currently, the church operates a food pantry (serving some 220 families a month), a tutoring program with free meals, a club for the elderly, 12-step recovery groups (including one for youth), music/art lessons, science classes, children’s musical theater (over 80 productions), English classes, cooking classes, summer camps, youth groups, community organizing, and a financial literacy class in Spanish.

In an effort to build bridges in the community and improve access to quality programs, we have taken some of our popular afterschool programs “on the road” and offered them in the facilities of the nearby housing projects. With the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), we have also been active leaders in an effort to broaden health care access in Massachusetts, control health costs, prevent gun violence, and support affordable housing.

Impact Statement

Top Accomplishments:

We fed hungry people -- distributing groceries from a pantry for 10,000 family members, serving over 7000 free meals to low-income children in summer programs and 2000 free meals to young people during the school year in tutoring and teen drop-in programs. In its 21 years of existence, our Summer Meals Program has served over 114,000 free meals to young people.
We brought beauty and art into our neighborhood -- teaching music and art to over 500 young people and hosting 7 music recitals, 3 dance concerts, and 6 musicals. An exceptionally talented adult ensemble offered 6 more public performances.  A special spring recital featured four youth from our music program who have won prestigious awards in piano performance at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
We got people to vote -- increasing the number of ballots cast in local precincts by 47% through our civic engagement project, prompting a visit by the mayor-elect in November 2013 to congratulate the trained teens who did the bulk of the door-to-door canvassing.  In November 2014, the governor-elect similarly sent his own congratulations.
We embraced city-wide leadership -- As an active member of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, we engaged public advocacy, especially with addiction issues. In Oct. 2014, we hosted the two gubernatorial candidates. 
We had a joyful fund-raiser in May – raising $50,000 for special projects and drawing 300 supportive neighbors and friends.

Top Goals for the current year

1. To broaden and deepen the relationships of the extended Fourth Church community, including members, neighbors, and  families who participate in our programs.
2. More specifically, to expand relationships with the growing Latino population in our neighborhood.
3. To increase capacity by raising new funds and adding new staff.
4. To continue our mission of building bridges in the community across barriers of race, economics and other issues. South Boston gentrification increases the importance of this bridge-building.
5. Maintain and improve our 145 year-old building.

Needs Statement

1. Additional staff support - half time, $25,000

2. Consistent, dependable funding -- $10,000 to hire a grant writer

3. Deeper bilingual capacity among key staff (training for current and future staff) Immersion programs would help: $1500 each for two full-time staff.

4. Building Improvements - $50,000

5. Training in social media usage - $2000

CEO Statement

From the Pastor of Fourth Church:

At the core of this remarkable church is a community grounded in its Christian faith, and thoroughly committed to living that faith as a beacon of hope in our corner of the city. Visitors to our gatherings are usually most surprised by the sheer variety of our members. Some are poor, some are not. Some have doctorates, others are adults learning to read. Ethnically, we are varied. Once, in fact, a city council candidate came to visit one of our summer day camps, and when he saw the racial diversity of our kids, he pulled me aside to quietly remind me: “you know, what you have here is a taste of what heaven is going to be like.” Amen, Councilor.

A diverse and caring community with a strong faith grounding can do great things, and that is precisely what this congregation aspires to do as a church in Andrew Square, one block away from two housing projects. We feed, we teach, we do arts instruction, we try to rebuild civic ties and remind our neighbors how important it is to vote. Along the way, crucially, we tend to relationships, and not just between church members. We meet individually with each other, for sure, but we also arrange individual meetings and small group gatherings with neighbors in the projects, young professionals moving in, elected officials, and more. We are trying to maintain that sacred work of knitting together community through relationships. And through our Youth Organizing Project, we are trying to pass on these community-building skills to the next generation.

All of those relationships have made it possible to take an active civic role in advocating for a $100 million affordable housing fund in 1999, health care access in 2005, health cost containment in 2012, and gun violence prevention today. 

We also do our best to celebrate with joy. The neighborhood knows us as a place of music. Our adults sing with spirit, so we get invited to spice up community gatherings. Kids come from many places to join our musicals, and their voices lift the roof. We are doing our best to shine as a beacon of hope, to share a little beauty with the neighborhood, and to keep singing along the way.

Board Chair Statement

In a Presbyterian Church, the “session” is the council which acts like a board. The session is moderated by the pastor. What follows is a statement from one member of the session:

I’ve lived in South Boston a long time. Joining the church was a part of recovery for me. Moving beyond drugs and alcohol requires a deepening of my faith and spirituality. Recovery also requires service. And I can do all of this at Fourth Church.

What I really love about this church is the amazing way we broaden opportunities for kids and adults in the neighborhood, including my own daughter who is now starting college. She grew up in this church and here she learned about community, love and service. She learned to sing and performed in over a dozen plays. And when my wife died suddenly, my daughter had a big team of women ready to step up and give her mothering when she needed it most.

We’re not a rich congregation. Every year, we have to work hard and throw in a few fund-raisers to meet our budget. But with the money we do have, we do a fantastic amount. We’ve been able to repair an old church building, we’ve kept our church going, and most important, we keep doing great programs for the neighborhood -- feeding families, teaching music & theater, giving teens a safe place to be, organizing for ground-making things like health care, and generally showing God’s love. I love that I can walk around South Boston and all sorts of people (no matter their religion or lack thereof) will tell me what a great place Fourth Church is for the community.

It’s an amazing place. We are a beacon of hope.

Geographic Area Served

City of Boston- South Boston
City of Boston- North Dorchester
The community efforts of Fourth Church focus primarily on the Andrew Square section of South Boston, an area that includes the Old Colony and MEM housing projects, though many families from Dorchester and beyond also participate in programs.   Through our work in building a community across lines of race and class,  and through our community organizing on issues like health care and violence prevention, our witness extends through Greater Boston and into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Organization Categories

  1. Religion- Related - Christianity
  2. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Community & Neighbourhood Development
  3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Arts Education

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



Fourth Church Food Pantry

FCFP distributes groceries twice a month and as needed for emergencies.  Families receive groceries for 3 days.  Recipients come primarily from South Boston and north Dorchester.  At a distribution, 175-240 recipients come, and the distributed food will serve 700-1200  total family members.
Budget  $8,500.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Household Goods Provision
Population Served Families Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Homeless
Program Short-Term Success  We expect 100% of participants to have enough food to eat for three days.
Program Long-Term Success 
The focus is on emergency relief.
Long term, we hope to build relationships with clients and include them in a larger community. 
Program Success Monitored By  Conversations with staff and volunteers.
Examples of Program Success  Personal thanks to program director and pastor for getting their family through a period of no food.

Fourth Church Teen Programs

FCTP  make special connections with the youth of Andrew Square, particularly teens from MEM and Old Colony Housing Developments.  Many of these youth are at risk, and most are low-income.   FCTP began with a Friday Night gathering -- "Friday Night Live"  -- taking place at the church.   Learning from our successful summer series of "Teen Crib" drop-in times,  we now have three nights of gathering ALL YEAR.
During the school year, Friday Night Live is supplemented by two nights of Teen Crib, one in MEM housing project and one at Old Colony housing project.  All three nights include a free nutritious dinner.
       The focus of all nights is on good relationships and  community-building.  25-45 youth
       We look to develop leaders in the Youth Organizing Project, hiring youth organizers to train in the techniques of broad-based organizing.    Examples:   organizing to repair lights in the project,   City Hall lobbying for an improved intersection,  statehouse lobbying- youth jobs.
Budget  $12,000.00
Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Leadership
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 
Short-term, we want 100% of the kids to be safe.  Their neighborhood is dangerous with many voices pulling them to unhealthy endeavors.
We want them to have a healthy dinner.  They are poor.
We want them to have healthy relationships with each other.
We want them to have healthy relationships with adults.
We want them to learn the skills of community organizing. 
Program Long-Term Success 
Long-term, we want to help low-income youth navigate adolescence.
We seek to nurture future citizens.
We seek to build community now and for the future.
We want them to know love.
We want relationships with them and their parents. 
Program Success Monitored By 
The program director monitors results in consultation with program volunteers and staff.
We set goals in YOP for numbers of relational meetings and other organizing metrics.
We set turn out goals for "action meetings."
Youth leaders learn to do the monitoring themselves.
Accountability is key part of the trainings and the youth jobs. 
Examples of Program Success 
Remarkable turnarounds in the behavior of troubled kids.
Civic engagement campaigns to increase neighborhood voting have documented success five years running.
Number of ballots cast has increased by over 35% in comparisons to elections before campaigns.  Youth set goals for "voter contacts" and they surpass goals.
In last campaign,  Mayor-Elect came to congratulate them in public gathering at the church.   25 youth participated.  11 of these were deemed "problem youth" previously.
Separate initiative has been the Civil Rights Pilgrimage:   8 teens, racially and socio economically diverse, travel with two adults to visit Selma, Birmingham, Montgomery and Atlanta,  visiting Civil rights sites and meeting with participants.  Powerful experience. 

Soul Possibilities Afterschool Programs

Soul Possibilities began in 1992 as a program offering music lessons to families in South Boston.  It grew into an array of after school offerings to support families in the educational enrichment of their children, primarily in the arts.  Offerings now include: lessons in piano, voice, violin, guitar; children's musical theater, advanced children's theater, filmmaking, science class, several dance classes, magic class, art and design classes, cooking class, HomeworkHelp (tutoring and dinner, 2 nights a week)
Budget  $46,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other General Arts Education
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 
Immediate skill development -  90% perform successfully in a recital/performance
 Community experience of producing show - parents
Meal for at-risk children
Homework improvement- 60% improve grade
Program Long-Term Success 
1- Children learn particular skills
2- Children gain confidence, particularly in public presentation
3- Children perform better in school
4- Community -building performances 
5- More beauty in the neighborhood 
Program Success Monitored By 
Program instructors monitor growth of students
Homework Help leader monitors grade reports 
Examples of Program Success 
Several long-term students have success in piano competitions.
90% experience success in recitals
Stories of students becoming willing to speak in class after theater experience,  some students pursue acting in high school or college
Reports from community members of the joy and contribution to the community from theater productions.
Reports from teachers on improved student performance in class after tutoring 

Summer Meals Programs

SMP has three components.  2 Day programs serve children ages 4-13 every weekday for six weeks.  The third piece, Teen Crib, serves teens in the evening with dinner and a drop-in program for 7 weeks.   The day programs include free breakfast and lunch and classes in art, music, science, dance, theater, athletics and more.  The day programs average 110 a day and Teen Crib averages over 30 per evening.  Together, they serve over 7000 free meals a summer.
Budget  $85,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 
Experience of community
Fed .... not hungry for the summer
Relationships with caring adults
Experiences in the arts
Relationships with each other 
Program Long-Term Success 
Healthy children, nourished by good meals
Community participants
Social skills
Young people who feel safe to explore in art and education 
Program Success Monitored By 
Quality staff monitors results every day of the summer
Follow up with many throughout academic year
We set goals for relational meetings with parents and meet those goals
We track the number of meals and monitor quality
We track behavior quality and note improvement in 75% of the cases 
Examples of Program Success 
Stories of behavior turn arounds
Because many children come back each year, we can track significant improvement.   Some children have become staff.
Over 107,000  free meals served in 20 years. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As stated, we seek to shine as a beacon of hope in the community.  That Light shines in many ways.  We adjust to different needs and situations as we learn from our neighbors (and each other, of course)  through relationships and small group gatherings.   The list above represents four main areas of program from our activities right now.  It is now exhaustive, and it will change.  But the list does paint a picture of our efforts to strengthen our community.
       The practices of community organizing (relational meetings and house meetings)  infuse the whole list,  but some of our specific issue campaigns don't fit into the categories described above.   We worked hard with GBIO on an affordable housing campaign, for example, and won a $100 million housing trust.  Funds from that trust are now helping build affordable housing for veterans on D Street.
      Similarly, we worked hard with GBIO to have a first in the nation universal health care bill.  Our members and neighbors who were previously uninsured now get health care.
      We are working now on gun violence prevention, health care cost control and other issues. 


CEO/Executive Director Rev. Burns Stanfield
CEO Term Start May 1991
CEO Email
CEO Experience
Rev. Stanfield graduated from Princeton in 1982 and Harvard Divinity School in 1988.
He was a professional musician for 2 years and then became an ordained Presbyterian Pastor.   He has served Fourth Church since that 1991 ordination.
He also teaches at Harvard Divinity School and Andover Newton Theological School.
He has been moderator of Boston Presbytery,
commissioner to the national Presbyterian Church Assembly
and President of the South Boston Neighborhood Development Association.
 He is currently President of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO).
He has received public service awards from Princeton, Harvard, South Boston non profits and the City of Boston. 
Co-CEO Ms. Katie Cole
Co-CEO Term Start June 2012
Co-CEO Email
Co-CEO Experience
Ms. Cole got her bachelors with honors from University of North Carolina, and she recently graduated from Boston University with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters in Social Work.  
She has also worked developing housing for low-income families in Appalachia, and she is an accomplished musician.
She is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Community Angel Julies Family Learning Program 2012
Woodbridge Award for Community Service Princeton University Class of 1982 2012
Shamrock Award for Community Service South Boston Citizens Associations 2000
First Decade Award Harvard Divinity School 1998


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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Fourth Presbyterian Church was a founding member of the South Boston Association of Non profits  and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.
FPC collaborates with local non profits extensively,  particularly the Perkins School, Old Colony Housing and MEM Housing.   It collaborates with congregations across the city. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Again, it is awkward to fit the workings of a church into the template offered by this site.  Our management does not follow a business model per se, and our guidelines and rules for operations are contained in the PCUSA Book of Order,  where there is in fact also a "Book of Discipline" for situations when rules are neglected.    The level of accountability within the denomination and presbytery is quite high.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 5
Number of Volunteers 65
Number of Contract Staff 20
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 5
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 14
Hispanic/Latino: 4
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 15
Male: 10
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
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 --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Exempt
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

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


Board Chair Rev. Burns Stanfield
Board Chair Company Affiliation Pastor
Board Chair Term May 1991 - 2018
Board Co-Chair Dr. Michelle Sanchez
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Harvard Professor
Board Co-Chair Term Jan 2010 - Jan 2016

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Susan Devine retired telephone worker Voting
Sharon Matthews retired teacher Voting
Stephen Rose Human Resources for Translating Firm Voting
Michelle Sanchez Harvard professor Voting
Tim Sanchez Scientist Voting
Ken Shallow own HVAC business Voting
Burns Stanfield Pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church Voting
Grace Stanfield youth member Voting
Katie Stansifer Graduate Student MIT Voting
Tyiesha Thompson Construction Worker Voting
Katie Walsh Wediko Social Worker 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: 16
Hispanic/Latino: 4
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): Syrian 1
Gender Female: 16
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

While we have tried to provide information to fit the categories of this online form,  the fit is far from perfect.  
          In a Presbyterian church, the congregation elects "elders" (of varied ages!)  to meet in a council (called "the session") which oversees the life of the church (in accountability to a group called "the presbytery" which has represents from all churches in the region).  These elders must be official members of the congregation.
       The pastor of a church is the moderator  of the session.  We are calling him "chair"  in your form.
       Elders serve the session in three year terms, and can serve no more than two terms in a row.
       The "Clerk of Session"  takes minutes from meetings, but also generally is a key representative of the session. We are calling her "co-chair" in your form.
       Another group called "the deacons"  is also elected by the congregation from the membership of the church.  Their responsibilities are different, but  deacons are also key church leaders.
      Governance guidelines, discrimination policies, etc.   are all written into our Presbyterian constitution, which is called The Book of Order.   This guides PCUSA churches across the nation. 

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015
Projected Income $443,289.00
Projected Expense $443,262.00
Form 990s --
Audit Documents

2013 Compilation

2012 Compilation

2011 Compilation (with 2010 comparative data)

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $468,088 $408,442 $466,026
Total Expenses $442,931 $411,759 $427,891

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $177,518 $169,780 $180,479
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $265,368 $225,517 $276,953
Investment Income, Net of Losses $18,277 $10,937 $2,643
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $6,925 $2,208 $5,951

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $272,214 $238,555 $256,820
Administration Expense $170,717 $173,204 $171,071
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.06 0.99 1.09
Program Expense/Total Expenses 61% 58% 60%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $1,089,205 $1,076,685 $1,091,403
Current Assets $327,450 $283,881 $267,550
Long-Term Liabilities $299,625 $314,882 $331,708
Current Liabilities $40,795 $38,175 $32,750
Total Net Assets $748,785 $723,628 $726,945

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
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? 6.00

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? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 8.03 7.44 8.17

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 28% 29% 30%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the Fourth Presbyterian Church's compilation documents. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.
The Fourth Presbyterian Church is part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as indicated in the above IRS Letter of Determination documents. Please note, while the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is covered under a 501(c)(3) status, it is not required to file an annual return (Form 990) with the IRS because it is a church, as such, no Form 990s are posted above.


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?

We seek to shine as a beacon of hope in our Andrew Square community.

This Light means many things, and will change from season to season as needs change, of course. When family communications were breaking down and South Boston teens were committing suicide, we trained teens, parents and adult leaders to do community mediation because there was a need for that. When youth and police were at odds, we co-sponsored community conversation tables to build communication between teens and officers. When people kept knocking on our door looking for food, we opened a food pantry. When the Spanish-speaking immigrant population increased, we offered an English class and financial literacy workshop in Spanish.

Most fundamentally, we seek to:

a) facilitate strengthened relationships between the people of our community, across lines of difference (such as race, class, turf);

b) nurture the conviction that individuals, families and communities can overcome our challenges, especially when we work together;

c) create opportunity for our neighborhood’s young people;

d) add beauty and joy to our community.

Looking at our community’s situation right now, our goals are to

1- Facilitate 200 individual meetings each year

2- Facilitate 10 small group meetings (“house meetings”) each year

3- identify 6-10 community leaders from numbers 1 and 2 and deepen relationships with these key community leaders

4- Sustain those programs which are “shining light” and helping neighbors overcome challenges (eg, recovery programs, educational support, policy advocacy) and/or adding beauty (the singing, the dance, the kids raising the roof in musical theater…). Meet participation goals for each.

5- Add new efforts, when feasible, to shine light. (For next year: a strengthened English class for Spanish-speakers, and one new class in the arts.) Measure with participation goals.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Our strategies begin with the tools of broad-based organizing: one-on-one relational meetings and small group “house meetings.”

Within the congregation we use these skills (along with traditional spiritual practices like prayer, study, discernment) to build a strong core community, our backbone. Looking beyond the congregation, our leaders use these tools to build relationships in the broader community: neighbors, program participants, community leaders, elected officials, etc. These tools also help us identify where community needs – “which corners need Light.”

Relationships and a continually re-knit community fabric are central to our goal of an enhanced, strengthened community.

With our Youth Organizing project, we are intentional about training neighborhood teens (primarily those from the nearby housing projects) these arts of community organizing.

From this relational and community base we identify 1) potential leaders, 2) ideas for programs that we can sponsor and 3) issues we might address politically with other community members. Such issues can cover a broad spectrum, from getting BHA to fix broken lights in the projects to working with GBIO to secure funding for affordable housing to working with GBIO and other allies to pass universal health care legislation in 2006.

With respect to programs, we regularly evaluate our offerings to see how well they are working and attracting participants. Our strategy is to be resourceful, reflective and flexible.

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

While a moderate size church with many members of limited financial means; Fourth Church is rich in resourcefulness, people, credibility and relationships. Located as we are between two BHA housing projects, we are also in an excellent position to build connections between different constituencies in South Boston and craft a strong witness for the city.

One key asset is our core congregational community, with its high level of commitment and diverse membership. Our diversity and breadth give the organization great flexibility. We can respond quickly to changing needs. The variety of skills and talents represented in the core community also gives us the ability to be creative and resourceful.

Relationships are central to our effectiveness, and related to that, we have good credibility in the community. For example, a computer lab in one of the nearby projects was about to be closed earlier this year. We knew from teens and interested families in our programs that they were troubled by this development. We were then able to work through our network of relationships, including those with officials in City Hall, to help the residents save their computer lab.

This network of relationships deepens our witness beyond the neighborhood. We work with groups from across the city – hosting choirs from Roxbury or Cambridge, for example -- and likewise get invited to participate in special events metro-wide. These connections become their own witness of bridge-building. They also deepen our power to act with nearby residents needing support.

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

Built into our operation is regular reflection and evaluation of the community work we do. First, our core community gathers at least once a week as a congregation in communication. These gatherings include time to discuss, check-in, reflect on programs, and envision new directions.

Second, our key council (the “session”) meets at least once a month to intentionally evaluate oversee program direction. This team of leaders is especially committed.

Third, there will be a few town meeting type gatherings to evaluate and imagine community witness. This kind of gathering is especially important to the process of envisioning new kinds of community presence.

Fourth, each program has its own small team of leaders who meet regularly to evaluate and fine-tune plans as needed.

Built in to these practices of reflection and evaluation is a commitment to accountability. There will be regular goal-setting for the number of individual relational meetings in the community, for example, and a small leadership team will help all participants honor those goals. In another example, the large Summer Meals Programs have goals for participation and standards for quality program. Daily meetings of the key leaders are the vehicle for checking in on participation, altering tactics, and doing follow up with families as needed.

Reflection, evaluation, and accountability are a part of the week to week culture. This reinforces our adaptability. When a particular teen leadership program ceases to be effective, as we determined a few years ago with one effort, we discontinue it. That particular move created space for us to adopt a different approach to working with the many at –risk teens in Old Colony, and that Teen Crib program continues to do well.

Again, our fundamental goal is to “Shine Light” and strengthen this Andrew Square community. That is not a static project; it requires a nimbleness made possible by relationships and resourcefulness.

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

We have met goals for individual meetings and house meetings, but the goal doesn’t go away, of course. Building and renewing community ties is an on-going process, particularly as people move in and out of Andrew Square.

We’ve created space, relationships and programs to nurture hope, though that is also an ongoing project. This picture best gets painted by stories. We can report that three teen programs attracted over 50 different at risk youth in the past year, for example; but the real story is in the miracle of 10 of these young people making remarkable strides in more responsible, mature, and caring behavior. Among adults, we see the same kind of marvels in the neighbors who get sober, or finish a GED, or begin to contribute to the community.

We have had great success in offering young people opportunities, creating safe space for 50 teens in the projects, supporting 15 young people in their schooling, strengthening a nearby elementary school with theater, robotics and tutoring. Our Summer Meals Program had 110 young people every day, and within that program are hundreds of units in instruction in music, art and more. This fall we are sending seven long-term youth from our programs off to college.

It is an odd thing to quantify Joy and Beauty, of course, but we also count among our accomplishments five big youth musicals with some 140 participants overall. Each show was performed twice and filled the house with supportive neighbors. We count another five adult performances which also filled the hall with neighbors, and in two cases brought together a broad mix of Boston neighborhoods.

What we have yet to accomplish is deeper and broader connections with the Latino community. We have made great inroads and have a good base of relationships; but we want to go further since this community is such a vital part of the new Andrew Square.