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LEAP for Education Inc.

 35 Congress Street, Suite 102
 Salem, MA 01970
[P] (978) 740-6667 x 109
[F] (978) 740-6668
Linda Saris
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 47-1445061

LAST UPDATED: 10/11/2018
Organization DBA --
Former Names Salem CyberSpace (2014)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

LEAP for Education empowers underserved and first-generation-to-college students to succeed in college, career and life. We do this by teaching students academic and life-skills needed to perform at higher levels in middle school and high school. LEAP also provides ongoing personalized support and community connections to help students graduate from college and create a future based on their strengths and interests.

Mission Statement

LEAP for Education empowers underserved and first-generation-to-college students to succeed in college, career and life. We do this by teaching students academic and life-skills needed to perform at higher levels in middle school and high school. LEAP also provides ongoing personalized support and community connections to help students graduate from college and create a future based on their strengths and interests.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $1,026,225.00
Projected Expense $1,025,951.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • Brothers for Success
  • College Success Program
  • Forten Scholars Early College Program
  • The Teen Center

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

LEAP for Education empowers underserved and first-generation-to-college students to succeed in college, career and life. We do this by teaching students academic and life-skills needed to perform at higher levels in middle school and high school. LEAP also provides ongoing personalized support and community connections to help students graduate from college and create a future based on their strengths and interests.

Background Statement

The youth programs of LEAP began in the summer of 2003 (under the name Salem CyberSpace) with  7 students. Since then, it has grown from a small after-school homework help center to a comprehensive academic program engaging over 800 youth per year in summer and school year programs at LEAP, at the Collins Middle School in Salem, at Salem State University, at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, Gloucester High School and at the O'Maley Middle School in Gloucester. All of these programs are designed to improve academic performance, engage youth in career and college exploration, improve college readiness and increase graduation rates from high school and post-secondary schools.

College Success was initiated in 2009 in response to our students’ growing need for academic support and college guidance as our long-time participants entered their junior year of high school. Parent Academies were added in 2011 to inform and guide parents through the academic journey from high school to college. In 2013, College Success expanded to the communities of Peabody and Gloucester and began recruiting students at the end of 10th grade rather than the middle of 11th grade. In 2018, LEAP, in partnership with Salem State University and Salem High School developed an Early College program and is a key partner in a 100 Males to College initiative, both funded under Department of Higher Education grants.

LEAP is the premier academic program serving low-income youth ages 11-23 in Salem and surrounding communities. During the period 2013-2016, this program was chosen as one of two state-wide programs by the Department of Higher Education to participate in a DHE-funded pilot to provide students with highly intensive college services.

In 2012, LEAP teamed up with the Salem Public Schools (SPS) to apply for after-school grants from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). To date, this partnership has been awarded 3 different grants to run both school year and summer middle school programs. SPS provides the space and instruction and LEAP provides the program coordination, assessments, budgets, purchasing and logistics and is the liaison with DESE. In June 2015, LEAP was hired to provide similar services in Gloucester's middle and high school. In addition, LEAP provides instruction related to college and career readiness and STEM. (see below).

In 2016, LEAP opened its Teen Center at its facility in Salem and now serves 40 students in academic support, civic engagement, community service activities and enrichment programs. 

Impact Statement

Education is the key to creating stronger individuals, stronger families and stronger communities. And never before has the need been greater to expand the view of the possible and create a level playing field for all.

A college education for first-generation-to-college and economically disadvantaged students significantly increases opportunities for a productive, fulfilling life and higher income potential. And the benefits extend in domino-like fashion, creating college expectations for siblings, and supportive parents that now believe in the once unbelievable. In turn, better educated citizens are able to contribute more back to their communities.

LEAP serves as a powerful, non-traditional force in education on the North Shore, improving student academic performance in middle school and high school, and helping to build the life skills students need to set their sights on college, career and a better life.

LEAP provides the catalyst that forever changes the direction of students’ lives, creating everlasting, cascading value for the students, their families and our communities.

FY 2018 accomplishments:
  1. In FY 2017, LEAP 0pened a Teen Center for low income, largely minority youth in grades 9-12 offering academic support, enrichment, and civic and community engagement.  In FY 2018 enrollment increased by 50% and now serving 50 teens.
  2. Hired a Director of Development to develop a fundraising infrastructure and bring in funds through major gifts and annual giving. Completed the implementation of a Donor Database
  3. Updated its 3-year Strategic Plan
  4. Implemented a college and career strategy for students in grades 8-12 called Career Connections.
 Top Goals for FY 2018-2019:
  1. Implement multiple social-emotional and life skills programs across all grade levels
  2. Expand and strengthen its Career Connections
  3. Expand its family engagement activities
  4. Create a long term technology plan and implement a Student Information System
  5. Continue to enhance financial sustainability by creating a 6 month cash reserve.

Needs Statement

  1. To provide curricula that develops critical thinking and problem-solving throughout our programs for students in grades 6 through 12.
  2. To enhance career services, job readiness skills, and social capital for all students in grades 6 though 12 in a way that personalizes it for each student through the development of an Education and Career Plan.
  3. Develop and implement a technology plan to collect and report data and improve communication and collaboration.
  4. Build fundraising capacity and infrastructure to sustain our growth.
  5. Develop a Succession Plan for the Executive Director.
  6. Develop a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Policy and Plan
  7. Expand the Board with diversity goals

CEO Statement

In Peabody and Salem, about 40% of the low income students enrolled in college and only 30% persisted through the second year of college. In Gloucester those numbers are 30% enrollment and 23% persistence. A 2010 Social Impact Research Report indicates the 4 primary reasons for these dismal outcomes are: lack of academic preparedness, lack of aspiration, lack of college knowledge and financial resources. Programs that can address these needs have higher success rates. We address the academic, social-emotional and financial needs of low income and first generation students to assure success in high school and college and we do this from middle school through college.

1. We do not cherry pick students–Most programs like ours have minimum GPA’s and other eligibility requirements. Many do not assist students going to community college as they are at higher risk of dropping out.

2. Unlike other programs, we also provide academic support (Salem only). About 40% of our students have received academic services for 3 years or more with many attending our programs since middle school. Even students who join us in 11th grade for help with the college process have access to tutoring and homework help through our middle school programs and the Teen Center.

3. We continue to provide structured services by paid trained advisers (not volunteer mentors) to our students through college graduation which includes helping our community college students transfer into 4 year colleges. So far, 50% of our community college students who finish their two year degrees have gone on to 4 year schools and to date, LEAP's graduation/retention rate for our community college transfers is 87%. Nationally, only 29% of students who finish their two year degrees transfer to 4 year schools. Of those that do transfer, only 62% on average complete a for year degree. 

4. We work closely with the parents of college-bound students providing services and thorough information so families make informed decisions regarding applying to and financing college, completing financial aid forms, understanding financial aid award letters, as well as other relevant topics. We offer four free parent workshops which are open to the public. In addition, we offer many one-on-one family meetings throughout the school year.

5. We address the social-emotional needs of our students to best prepare them for success in college, including life skills and psych-ed workshops on subjects such as recognizing signs of depression, healthy relationships, and managing stress, to name a few.

6. All of our students leave for college with aspirations, they learn how to identify all their choices and then make responsible decisions, and are provided with a social network of caring adults. 

Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

LEAP for Education serves students and their families in Salem, Peabody and Gloucester.

Organization Categories

  1. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs
  2. Education - Educational Services
  3. Public & Societal Benefit - Public & Societal Benefit NEC

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



21st Century Community Learning Centers

In 2012, LEAP partnered with Salem Public Schools to apply for a 21st Century grant for 60 middle school students. LEAP was the program coordinator for 2013 and 2014 providing grant oversight and administration, assessment and budgeting. In 2015 and 2016, LEAP's role extended to curriculum development and instruction, with a focus on STEM. In June 2015, LEAP was successful in being awarded another 3.5 year renewal to this grant as a Promising Practices site in a very arduous and competitive process. In 2016, LEAP is providing program coordination, site supervision and instruction.
In June 2015, the Gloucester Public Schools LEAP to take on a similar role in the Gloucester middle and high school program serving approximately 200 students.  
Budget  $85,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Afterschool Enrichment
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  Enrollment and attendance - we are aiming for 60 highly engaged students in school year and summer programs with an average of 100 hours of attendance during the school year.
Program Long-Term Success  Students develop 21st Century skills and engage at high levels in school day classrooms and progress to high school with a higher likelihood of success.
Program Success Monitored By  We use the Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO) assessment form developed by the National Institute for Out of School Time at Wellesley College. This measures student improvement during the school day and after-school programs. Programs select 3 learning outcomes to measure - some are academic and some are social-emotional outcomes.
Examples of Program Success  Need data here

Brothers for Success

Brothers for Success (BFS) is a partnership between LEAP for Education (LEAP), the Graduate School of Education at Salem State University (SSU) and Salem High School (SHS). The goal of BFS is to facilitate the successful transition from high school to college for a cohort of 15 males of color from SHS.

Students participate in 6 bi-weekly sessions focused on establishing trust and building cohesion within the group. Within the broader framework of College Readiness, students explore issues, challenges and opportunities that are specific to young men of color. Dialogue centered sessions are facilitated by Dr. Steven Oliver, Assistant Professor at Salem State University and include current SSU students as peer mentors who will give first-hand accounts of their experiences.

Among the many issues Brothers for Success discuss are the barriers low-income males of color face (social, emotional, racial, socio-economic, guilt) when considering applying to college, and the group provides support and role models to help these young men on their journey.

Budget  $15,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Guidance & Counseling
Population Served Males Minorities Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  The short term success is getting enrollment and attendance. In year 1, we have 14 males enroll with a 60% attendance rate. We need to focus on improving this by doubling the enrollment and increasing attendance to 80%
Program Long-Term Success  This program is in its second year. We will measure this in high school graduation, college enrollment and persistence--the same as for college success.
Program Success Monitored By  We will monitor success through grades, obtained through their school transcripts, and enrollment in the college program as seniors. We aim for 100% high school graduation and 80% college enrollment.
Examples of Program Success  The program just completed its pilot year.

College Success Program

College Success: This program, operating in Salem and Peabody, offers high-quality educational and advisory services that assist students in career exploration and the entire college process from their junior year of high school through college graduation and financial planning throughout. For many, this will include both a 2-year and 4-year degree.
In the 11th grade, students engage in self-exploration and career exploration. This year is dedicated for students to understand and develop their strengths and passions and to engage in social-emotional learning experiences to begin to prepare them for being independent and successful college students. By the end of junior year, students have identified careers that match their interests, have attended 6 life skills and social-emotional workshops, prepared a resume, visited 8 colleges, finished their college essay and developed a college list. In senior year, students prepare their college applications, financial aid and scholarship applications and thoughtfully make their college selection. During high school, parents attend up to 4 parent workshops.
Budget  $435,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Guidance & Counseling
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations Families
Program Short-Term Success 
High School graduation and college enrollment rates - 95% of our students will graduate with 4 years and 100% within 5 years.
College enrollment - 100% of our students will enroll in college (defined as enrolled in a post-secondary school on a part-time or full-time basis within 6 months of high school graduation). 
Program Long-Term Success  We measure long-term results in persistence (students persist into sophomore year of college) and graduation from a 2 year or 4 year college or technical college. We aim for an 85% persistence and graduation rate combined. Once we have more graduation data, we will start reporting these separately.
Program Success Monitored By  We have access to both student high school transcripts and college online accounts in order to monitor academic status. For students who do not not continue with our college advising services, we monitor by following up with them at yearly intervals.
Examples of Program Success 
100% of our students have graduated high school and enrolled in college for the past 6 years of our programs.
Through this period, we have maintained an 85% persistence/graduation rate which is far above the rate for students in our demographic pool and their average GPA leaving high school. 

Forten Scholars Early College Program

This program is a partnership between Salem State University (SSU), Salem High School (SHS), LEAP and the Workforce Investment Board.  The program is targeting students "in the middle" academically. Students will be enrolled in college level courses taught at Salem High School by Salem State University faculty. They will receive academic support services through the high school and through tutors provided by SSU. LEAP will provide college readiness programs one day per week and in the summer. In the short time and the WIB will provide career services. This program is completely free to students.
Budget  $140,000
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) At-Risk Populations Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success  Students will gain confidence that they can complete college level work and earn credits towards high school diploma and college.
Program Long-Term Success  These students will enroll and graduate from a 4-year college at higher rates that their peers in similar demographic groups.
Program Success Monitored By  Salem State and SHS will track grades, retention rates, reenrollment rates, college enrollment and college persistence. 
Examples of Program Success  This program is in its first year and data is not yet available.

The Teen Center

LEAP's Teen Center, located at LEAP's administrative headquarters in Salem, is an after school program that provides Salem high school students with academic support, enrichment opportunities and community service during the school year and summer. The Teen Center offers life skills, college readiness, as well as social-emotional/behavioral health workshops that address stress, anxiety, depression, mindfulness, substance abuse, among others.
Examples of enrichment activities include: Girls Who Code (a group of teen girls learning about computer science); ELL (English Language Learners) St., a school year and summer program designed to help English Language Learners advance their speaking and comprehension skills.; Youth Ventures, a group of aspiring entrepreneurs; the 84, a teen advocacy group working on a national anti-smoking campaign; Girls in STEM, a partnership program with Salem State to develop interest in STEM careers.
There are always bi-lingual staff on hand to help students with homework and provide tutoring. 
Budget  $275,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Afterschool Enrichment
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Minorities Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 
By the end of the 10th grade, 75% of these students will join College Success program and begin to create their pathway to college.
100% of these students will be able to articulate what their strengths and passions are, what their aspirations are and who makes up their social capital network.
Program Long-Term Success  72% of these students who are primarily low-income, minority, B/C students, and/or first-generation-to-college, will become successful college graduates and enter college with the confidence, aspiration, and skills to graduate and move into a career that matches their strengths and passions. (100% graduate high school, 85% enroll in college, 85% graduate college).
Program Success Monitored By 
Participation in our programs is the most important indicator of success. Students' attendance and participation in activities will be tracked.
Students will also self-report through oral and written journals what their aspirations and strengths are, choices they have, decisions they have made and social capital they have formed.
Examples of Program Success 
From Manny Cruz - a student who participated in the ALC as a middle school and high school student.
"I struggled throughout most of my childhood to cope with the instability that living in poverty caused. I was so angry at the world, and I brought those frustrations with me into the classroom. LEAP provided me with a group of caring adults that humanized me, a safe space to explore my interests, and gave me the support I needed to realize my full academic potential . I will graduate from Northeastern University in May, and I will pursue a career in public service. I want to make a positive impact on the lives of others just like LEAP and their staff did for me."
Our students can be very transient so we can only track those that stay through high school, although many who leave earlier do stay in touch.
We believe that 100% of the students who spend 2 years or more in our Academic Learning Center programs will go on to graduate from high school. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Using data made available by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on post-secondary outcomes, all our cities show low college enrollment and persistence rates among low income student populations. Looking at the 2009 high school freshmen in Peabody and Salem, about 40% of the low income students enrolled in college and only 30% persisted through the second year of college. In Gloucester those numbers are 30% enrollment and 23% persistence. A 2010 Social Impact Research Report indicates the four primary reasons for these dismal outcomes are: lack of academic preparedness, lack of aspiration, lack of college knowledge and financial resources. Programs that can address these needs have higher success rates. The research report details the benefits to society (e.g. less crime, more civic engagement), government (higher tax revenues, less public assistance) and individuals and families (higher incomes and generational impact). We address the academic, social and financial needs of low income and first generation students.

1. We do not cherry pick – our average GPA is 2.6 and many of our students start at a community college. Most programs like ours have minimum GPA’s and other eligibility requirements. Many do not assist students going to community college as they are at higher risk of dropping out.

2. Unlike other programs, we also provide academic support (Salem and Gloucester). About 40% of our students have been receiving academic services at the Academic Learning Center for 3 years or more with many attending our programs since middle school. Even students who join us in 11th grade for help with the college process have access to tutoring and homework help through the Academic Learning Center.

3. We continue to provide structured services by paid trained advisors (not volunteer mentors) to our students through college graduation which includes helping our community college students transfer into 4 year colleges. We meet every week with our college freshmen. To date, 75% of our community college students who complete their 2 year degrees have gone on to 4 year schools, while nationally, the rate is 29%. Of those that do transfer to a 4 year school, the national rate is 62% on average complete a 4 year degree. To date, LEAP's graduation/retention rate is 87% for our community college transfers.

4. We work closely with the parents providing services and information to them about schools, college and other topics related to the college experience.  We know that an informed, supportive and educated family plays an instrumental role i a student's educational success and LEAP is committed to partnering with families throughout their child's college (both getting into and while in) experience.

5. We offer social-emotional programs to address the non-cognitive skills that students must have to be successful in school and career.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Linda E Saris
CEO Term Start Aug 2002
CEO Email
CEO Experience
Ms. Saris is the founder of LEAP for Education, Inc. and has been its only executive level Director since she started this as a program in 2002. Ms. Saris has grown this from a program with an annual budget of $40,000 in its start up year to its current $768,000 budget. 
Saris received her BA in Economics and Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago. Prior to LEAP, Linda held several senior management positions, including CFO and Senior Vice President of Operations at RSA Security, at the time, a $250 million publically held software company. Saris serves on the Board of Directors of Beverly Bank, is a founding trustee and Treasurer of the New Liberty Charter School (formerly Salem Community Charter School), is Vice President of North Shore Technology Council and serves on various Advisory Committees including the North Shore Medical Center, and Youth Pipeline of the Workforce Investment Board. In 2013, Saris was appointed by Governor Patrick to the state-wide after-school coordinating council. In 2015, Saris received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Salem State 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
Ms. Kayla Dorst Director of Partnerships and Innovation
BA in Math from Salem State
MA in Math for North Carolina State University
Ms. Meghan Murtagh Director of School-based Programs Ms. Murtagh received her BA degree in Education at Merrimack College, is a certified History teacher and is currently enrolled in a Masters program in Education at Merrimack College.
Ms. Jesenia Tejada-Perez College Success Coordinator
Ms. Tejada-Perez has been with LEAP for Education since May of 2011 and prior to that worked for Bottomline and La Vida, both organizations that provide college access services to low income students.
Ms. Tejada-Perez received her Bachelors in Human Services from Northeastern University and a Masters in Social Work from Boston University
Ms. Erin Truex Director of Development --


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
-- --


LEAP for Education, Inc. could not have the impact it has without the support of its many partners.
LEAP partners with the school districts in Salem, Peabody and Gloucester. The guidance offices helps us to recruit our students, we use high school facilities at no cost, and we provide after-school and extended learning time instructional and management services in Salem and Gloucester. Like a true partner, LEAP staff contributes their time to help the districts by participating on community councils, task forces and selection committees.
Salem State University has been a partner since 2011. We partner on several grants and offer both student and parent outreach and recruitment services as well as provide instructional and content input for various jointly run summer programs. Examples of partner programs include Brothers for Success and the summer ELL (English Language Learners) Academy.
The North Shore Workforce Investment Board assists LEAP and its students in developing work and job readiness skills. They also assist in finding jobs for our students. The NSWIB and LEAP are often partners on various Salem grants. Linda Saris serves on NSWIB's Youth Pipeline Committee. 
Other partners include: The House of the Seven Gables, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Sound Coastwatch, and Essex National Heritage.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

LEAP's program directors and support staff are largely young professionals with advanced degrees but limited field experience. Their passion, energy and connection with the youth make them excel at their jobs but most lack management experience. This year, as we begin to write our new Strategic Plan, our staff is getting more involved and they are growing into a staff that can think more strategically. Staff have also made significant contributions to grant writing, fundraising and become thought partners in the community.
The Executive Director is performing weekly coaching for its program directors who have aspirations to be lead a non-profit agency in the future and will be adding a High Performance Coaching program for its staff in FY 2019
The Executive Director is a seasoned executive with many years of management, governance and organizational experience. In addition to her duties as ED, she is spending time with her staff to guide them through strategic planning and management and provide them with professional development to hone and advance their skills in running complex programs and managing budgets. The organization needs a succession strategy and needs the ability to raise the salaries of its staff to at least be at the mid-range for the position. These are goals for the next two years.
Statement from one of our College Site Coordinators: Every day at LEAP for Education is a new adventure, packed with the responsibilities that come with mentoring and teaching a multiplicity of student all with unique and varying needs. Whether helping a high school junior research colleges or helping a graduating college senior apply for a job, each accomplishment brings every student closer to achieving a goal. It is humbling to be able to work in such a dynamic environment with a smile on my face every day, ready to tackle and find joy in any and all surprises that make up the structured variety of working with youth. I grow with my students as we experience new, unexpected challenges together. Every step of the way my colleagues and I are supported by supervisors and coworkers who are always willing to evolve, learn, and teach as part of a powerful team. My passion for working with teenagers and young adults is constantly evolving due to the way in which I see my students strive towards their goals with diligence and confidence.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 11
Number of Part Time Staff 10
Number of Volunteers 20
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 82%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 14
Hispanic/Latino: 7
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 14
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit No
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 Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Dr. David Silva
Board Chair Company Affiliation Salem State University
Board Chair Term Oct 2017 - Sept 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Ellen Galligan Catholic Charities North Voting
Ms. Jody Goldman DiCicco Gulman and Company LLP Voting
Ms. Karen Murphy Clypd, Inc. Voting
Mr. Jonathan Ofilos Tinti Grover Quinn Frey PC Voting
Ms Linda E Saris LEAP for Education, Inc Voting
Dr. David Silva Salem State University Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 4
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 8
Board Meeting Attendance % 77%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 40%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Finance
  • Governance and Nominating

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

LEAP for Education, Inc. has run programs since 2002 under the umbrella of a larger organization and started its operation as a separate entity as of June 1, 2015. The governance policies are very much still under development.  However, with only two full years under our belt, we have an involved and committed Board of Directors. As a small Board, we have two standing committees: Finance and Governance.
The Executive Director and all of the Board members have Board experience and bring a plethora of skills to help set the strategic direction of LEAP for Education. 
The Board is actively working to expand the number and diversity of its Board


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 $1,026,225.00
Projected Expense $1,025,951.00
Form 990s

2018 Form 990

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990

Audit Documents

2018 Audited Financials

2017 Audited Financials

2016 Audited Financials

2016 Midyear financial data dated 4/30/16 (unaudited)

2015 Financial data per the nonprofit for 2013, 2014 and 2015

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Revenue $950,052 $837,080 $970,864
Total Expenses $932,166 $789,890 $698,370

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$642,599 $618,933 $289,600
Government Contributions $0 $0 $452,891
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- $277,735
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- $175,156
Individual Contributions $204,213 $140,107 $96,882
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $1,259 $1,441 $1,119
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $99,506 $76,599 $43,696
Revenue In-Kind -- -- $26,691
Other $2,475 -- $59,985

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Program Expense $711,358 $625,423 $553,133
Administration Expense $87,494 $64,994 $108,927
Fundraising Expense $133,314 $99,473 $36,310
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.02 1.06 1.39
Program Expense/Total Expenses 76% 79% 79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 14% 12% 4%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Assets $396,607 $364,506 $349,606
Current Assets $396,607 $363,714 $348,023
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $43,214 $28,999 $61,289
Total Net Assets $353,393 $335,507 $288,317

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 $0.00
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 5.00

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 2018 2017 2016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 9.18 12.54 5.68

Long Term Solvency

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

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

LEAP for Education has been providing educational services for 15 years.  For 13 of those years we operated as part of North Shore Community Action Programs (NSCAP). FY 2016 was our first full year separated from NSCAP. The primary reason for this separation was to give us the freedom to fundraise and to apply for a wider range of grants. Since separating our revenues have grown from $632k in 2015 to our current budget of $936K, a 48% increase. 

Our FY 17 unaudited revenues are $837k which represent a 5% decrease over the adjusted FY 16 numbers of $883k (excluding in-kind revenues). If you take into consideration that FY 16 revenues included a one-time $98k grant from the Department of Higher Education (over and above our annual $100k DHE grant), we would have had a 7% year over year increase. With a new development plan in place and a newly hired Development Director, we were able to raise additional funds in grants (+11%), donations (+54%) and events (+75%).
The budget for FY 18 is a deficit budget. This reflects our intentional investment in our infrastructure including creating a Development function and improving our data collection and technology infrastructure. 
Additional Financial Narrative:
Because the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 only had one month of operations, we filed a 990 N.  We did prepare a 990EZ for the year but it only included one month of operations.

While LEAP for Education as an organization is new, LEAP for Education has been a viable, effective and independently run program for over 10 years. LEAP’s programs, management, staff and mission has and will remain unchanged for 2018. As part of NSCAP, LEAP’s staff did everything both operationally and strategically, including all fundraising, grant writing and partner development. While NSCAP provided fiscal services, LEAP prepared all of the invoices for billing and prepared and monitored its own budget and operating plans.

LEAP did not have its own audited financials and 990 until 2016 when it closed its first complete fiscal year on June 30, 2016. As such, the financials provided to you for the years 2013 - 2015 are based on unaudited department level financials provided by NSCAP.

Linda Saris, LEAP’s Executive Director is its founding director. Ms. Saris holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Chicago and had 20 years of CFO and senior management experience in the private sector in companies ranging from $ 6 m in revenues to $250 million prior to founding LEAP. (most recently as SVP of RSA Security from 1989-2001)

LEAP has an impressive 15 year record with a current year projection to exceed $900,000 with proven management and quantifiable outcomes. 

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per LEAP's audited financials.
LEAP for Education Inc. was a program of North Shore Community Action Programs Inc. (NSCAP) from 2002 through May 31, 2015, and received its own nonprofit status from the IRS in January 2015 (as indicated in the above posted IRS Letter of Determination).
*The FY14 and FY13 financial data, provided within LEAP's files posted above, were audited as part of the NSCAP audit and are the numbers generated by NSCAP and auditors.


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?

Impact Statement: A healthy economy needs a strong pipeline of college-educated youth to fill the jobs of the future. First-generation-to-college, low income and immigrant youth comprise a group of students who enroll in college at far lower rates than their peers, or who enroll but then fail to graduate. The cost to society is represented in lost wages, higher participation in welfare benefits, higher court involvement, less civic engagement and a less informed voting public.

In many of our gateway cities, this group represents a very high percentage of the public high school population. LEAP has a mission to empower low income and first-generation-to-college students to perform at higher levels in middle school and high school, and to graduate college prepared to pursue successful careers that match their strengths and passions.

For many first-generation-to-college and immigrant students, post-secondary education is out of reach. This is true not because of academic shortcomings, but because students self-select out due to lack of knowledge about options ("I can’t afford it," "my grades aren’t high enough," "my parents want me to work," "I don’t like school, it is not for me"). For others with a desire to go to college, they simply do not know how to get there. They do not have access to test prep courses, do not know about financial aid or scholarship opportunities, do not have parental oversight to assure deadlines are met, do not know how to select a college or have not thought about different career possibilities. We have found that just going to a local community college without thought to a career path or longer term goals will often lead to that student dropping out. We provide education around college and career options and paths, and we do not cherry pick students – all students regardless of gender, ethnicity or GPA are welcome. Our average GPA is 2.6.

During the recession of the last decade, 78% of all jobs lost were for workers with no more than a high school degree. Of the 11.6 million jobs created since the recession, only 80,000 went to those with no college education. Here in Massachusetts, 72% of all jobs are expected to need some form of post-secondary education by the year 2020 (The Vision Project, DHE). Our economy needs a pipeline of well-trained students and our students need a more structured and thoughtful approach to decision making about college and careers. Discussion around the following questions is critical: What am I good at? Where do my interests and passions lie? How do these translate into career paths? What is the job outlook for different careers? What education is needed for these careers? With different educational attainment, what new opportunities arise? What type of college best suits my long term goals? How will I pay for college? Our experience proves that getting accepted into college requires so much more than simply filling in an application and federal financial aid forms.

Success in high school and college requires the development of both cognitive (academic content) and non-cognitive (often referred to as social-emotional learning) skills. Success is also more likely if students can acquire social capital from a network of caring adults. Work with students in all of these areas leads to the accomplishment of three LEAP goals:

1. 100% high school graduation and college enrollment

2. 85% college persistence/graduation

3. Expanded parent education and access to social capital

To achieve the first two goals, LEAP sets out to build cognitive skills through tutors and academic support from LEAP staff and volunteers as well as through a network of referrals within the schools, colleges and community.

LEAP has expanded its teaching of non-cognitive skills for students in high school by offering classes in goal setting, time management, stress management, financial literacy, healthy relationships, negotiating conflict, decision-making, social awareness, communication, values and ethics. LEAP’s college advisers continue to put these lessons to practice as students navigate college and learn to think and live as independent and responsible adults.

The third goal of expanding access to social capital is achieved through parent education and getting parents involved every step of the way from high school through college. In addition, LEAP staff link students with members of our community who share similar interests and passions so that students may tap into of their knowledge and expertise and acquire role models for success.

We know we are successful through our data on graduation and persistence rates. However, beyond the numbers we know we are successful when our students enter their careers, become involved in the community and become thoughtful, caring and involved adults.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


Goal # 1: 100% high school graduation rate and college enrollment:


1. All students have access to academic support through LEAP’s Academic Learning Center. Students are encouraged by their LEAP advisers to also seek out additional help in school.

2. In grades 6 – 12 students are able to take advantage of academic enrichment classes that are student-centered and project-based and focus in areas of STEM and the Arts. Students develop content knowledge, but more importantly, acquire 21st Century skills such as problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and initiative.

3. Students in grade 10 and 11 engage in structured programs to identify interests, passions and strengths, identify career pathways, meet people in careers of interest, and visit several college campuses.

4. Students in grade 11 complete four “psych-ed” workshops to develop their non-cognitive skills. Social-emotional learning is embedded in all weekly sessions.

5. Students in 12th grade apply to several colleges that match their career interests and college criteria and apply for financial aid and scholarships

6. 100% of eligible students receive federal financial aid and 80% of those attending 4 year public schools and 100% of those attending 4 year private schools receive substantial scholarships or non-government grants.

Goal 2: 85% college persistence and graduation rate

1. LEAP provides all students with college advisers who meets with them weekly through freshman year (in person or by phone), and bi-weekly in sophomore year. By junior year, students who are doing well academically are contacted once a quarter. Advisers have access to our students’ college accounts to monitor grades.

2. Through a relationship with a local mental health services organization college students can obtain counseling or therapy as needed through LEAP if they feel uncomfortable accessing their college’s services.

3. Advisors assist students in changing majors, college transfers, finding internships during school and jobs after graduation. Our advisers do this through our network of community and business leaders.

Goal 3: Expand our student’s social capital and parental involvement

1. LEAP runs 4 parent workshops during the year which are open to the public cover the college process, financing college, understanding student debt, understanding the financial aid package and making the final decision. We offer these in English and Spanish.

2. LEAP assists with public FAFSA day to help parents complete the federal financial aid forms which must be completed on line.

3. LEAP holds ongoing private and group meetings with the parents of our enrolled students.

4. Field trips, speakers, informational interviews, and job shadowing are all offered to our students to introduce them to professionals in their fields of interest.

5. A partnership with Inversant provides our parents with a College Savings program. This program includes critical information for parents about finance and college.


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

Reputation and thought leadership: LEAP has maintained a reputation for excellence in the community. LEAP employees are engaged in the community at many levels – with parent organizations, neighborhood associations, on boards and committees and as volunteers. The brand is equated with quality, integrity and effectiveness. Employees are asked to speak at events, in classrooms and at conferences. The Executive Director, Linda Saris, is often quoted for reports on after school education and college access. LEAP maintains an active presence on social media and maintains a blog on topical issues.

Management: Since founding this organization in 2002, the Executive Director has sat on over 20 boards, committees, or task forces for both private, government and non-profit organizations. She received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Salem State University in May, 2015, a gubernatorial appointment to the state-wide Afterschool Out of School Time Council in 2013, a Massachusetts Literacy Champion Award, and was inducted into the Phi Sigma Iota Foreign Language Honor Society for her work with the Spanish community. Ms. Saris brings over 25 years of executive level management experience and has used her skills and experience to grow LEAP despite one of the worst economic decades in the last 50 years. LEAP has managed its way through several tough budget years when government funding has been constrained. It does this through managing a tight control over budgets, a constant continuous improvement process and a transparent management style that includes all of the staff in making tough budget decisions.

Partnerships: Despite its growth, LEAP is still a small organization and cannot accomplish its goals without strong partnerships. Partners include all of the school districts in the communities it serves, Salem State University, the North Shore Workforce Investment Board and several other youth serving community organizations including the Peabody Essex Museum, the House of the Seven Gables, Children, Friends and Family Services, Catholic Charities, and Salem Sound Coastwatch. LEAP also has strong connections to the business community which have been instrumental in not only providing needed funds but also has opened its doors to students to advise, employ and tutor.

Core values and culture: We believe that every decision we make has to be evaluated through the lens of our students’ achievement. Our relationships with our students and their families is paramount to the success of our organization and our ability to meet our goals. We can have the best processes, great technology and lots of money but our students must believe in themselves, and must hold aspirations for the future, or all the organizational competencies will be for naught.

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

We track high school graduation within 5 years, college graduation within 6 years, college persistence (those who persist through sophomore year), and percentage who receive financial aid and/or scholarships. To date, 100% of our students have graduated high school and enrolled in college while 85% have persisted in college or graduated. (we do not have enough history yet to measure 6-year graduation rates). 100% of eligible students received federal financial aid and 80% of those attending 4 year public schools and 100% of those attending 4 year private schools receive substantial scholarships or non-government grants.

We administer a qualitative survey with our parents and students to assess our performance against expectations and to engage in continuous program improvement.

We also assess the wide range of social-emotional reasons that students drop out of school. We added curriculum to build non-cognitive skills, including making good life choices. Because of an unacceptably number of female students who got pregnant in college, we introduced healthy relationships and birth control to our curriculum. We also had several students “take time off” because of various mental health issues. We now offer both group and individual therapy to be more proactive in these areas. Students learn to identify and address signs of depression, anxiety or stress.

It is more difficult to identify hard data to track the success of our Academic Learning Center, where students get academic support and enrichment in grades 6 – 10. For our middle school programs we use the SAYO (Survey of Academic Youth Outcomes) assessment tool which is used by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to measure youth outcomes. Youth, after school staff and in school teachers complete these surveys. This is more of a program evaluation tool rather than an individual student assessment. In aggregate, this tool measures if the students as a group are meeting the cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes. For our programs we measure English Language outcomes, learning skills, problem-solving, communication and engagement in learning. This data is used to identify areas of program strengths and weaknesses and to refine our programs accordingly. For example, students indicated that they were lacking opportunity to take on leadership roles. In school teachers did not see improvement in class room participation. Therefore, we modified our programs accordingly to give students opportunities to be team leaders and to require that each student give an oral presentation in both small and large group settings.

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

Recent progress

LEAP has developed a comprehensive academic and college success program. Unlike other similar programs, we have learned that non-cognitive skill building is equally as important as cognitive skill building. We have over 40 hours of annual programming in this area not including any individual therapy students might access.

We have added a Teen Center to offer academic support and enrichment, service learning and civic engagement focused on youth in grades 9 and 10. College Success students (11th and 12th graders) can also access the services in the Teen Center.

We have learned that students need to set long term goals and to really focus on what they are good at. Students, are more resilient and persistent if they go into college with an aspiration to accomplish something specific, and a dream of a life that is now within reach. All students participating in LEAP programs enter college understanding themselves in deeper and more meaningful ways.

We have learned that students do not get enough opportunity in school to guide their own learning. Hands on activities are too often formulaic, with every student performing the same lab experiment in the same way. Employers complain all the time of college grads who take little initiative and need to be told what to do all the time. We have been developing more student-centered activities using project-based learning and service learning models.

In 2017, we hired a Director of Development to focus on major gifts, to engage Board members in fundraising, to develop an Annual Giving program and to raise the level of fundraising at our annual Gala event. In addition, we have implemented a donor database, and are creating new marketing materials that make a strong case for support.

Opportunities and Challenges

We need to develop a set of consistent success metrics and develop a database and reporting system to have consistent and current data to measure our success and identify opportunities for continuous improvement. We are currently working with a consultant to define the metrics we want to use.

We need a technology plan that will address our data and reporting needs, our communication and collaboration needs and will provide a learning portal and college tracking system. This needs to be a thoughtful strategic plan. We will be raising funds to accomplish this.

We want to expand our career services and develop a list of employers who are willing to meet with students, offer jobs, and career advice. This effort continues in 2018 with the hiring of Career Services Coordinator

We need to continue to build our fundraising infrastructure and tools and then we need to add the capacity to obtain major gifts from individuals and corporations.

We need to develop internal talent and create a succession plan for the Executive Director and our two critical line management positions.

We need to continue to expand the Board and get members more engaged in development and strategy.