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Budget Buddies Inc.

 114 Turnpike Road
 Chelmsford, MA 01824
[P] (978) 7030820 x 7030820
[F] (978) 7030820
www.budgetbuddies.org
[email protected]
Anita Saville
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INCORPORATED: 2010
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 90-0688545

LAST UPDATED: 02/10/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

--

Mission StatementMORE »

Budget Buddies builds the financial literacy, confidence, and security of low-income women through a unique six-month program that combines individual one-to-one coaching and instructional workshops. We envision a world in which all women can control their financial futures.

We partner with local social service organizations to help women develop the skills, behaviors, and self-esteem necessary for handling the exceptional financial challenges of overcoming poverty, homelessness, addiction, immigration, and domestic abuse and violence. We help women transition from lives of dependence to lives of empowered independence -- through greater economic stability, improved employment, better education, and increased housing security.

Mission Statement

Budget Buddies builds the financial literacy, confidence, and security of low-income women through a unique six-month program that combines individual one-to-one coaching and instructional workshops. We envision a world in which all women can control their financial futures.

We partner with local social service organizations to help women develop the skills, behaviors, and self-esteem necessary for handling the exceptional financial challenges of overcoming poverty, homelessness, addiction, immigration, and domestic abuse and violence. We help women transition from lives of dependence to lives of empowered independence -- through greater economic stability, improved employment, better education, and increased housing security.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2016 to June 30, 2017
Projected Income $367,500.00
Projected Expense $356,400.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Budget Buddies Financial Education and Empowerment

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

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


Overview

Mission Statement

Budget Buddies builds the financial literacy, confidence, and security of low-income women through a unique six-month program that combines individual one-to-one coaching and instructional workshops. We envision a world in which all women can control their financial futures.

We partner with local social service organizations to help women develop the skills, behaviors, and self-esteem necessary for handling the exceptional financial challenges of overcoming poverty, homelessness, addiction, immigration, and domestic abuse and violence. We help women transition from lives of dependence to lives of empowered independence -- through greater economic stability, improved employment, better education, and increased housing security.


Background Statement

When we met Rocio, a single mom of four, she didn’t have a savings account. Wendy was so far behind in paying bills that she kept them, unopened, in a drawer. Tina owed money to the IRS. After participating in the Budget Buddies financial education program, the lives of these women changed significantly. By working with their personal Budget Buddies Coaches and attending a series of instructional workshops, Rocio, Wendy, Tina, and nearly 400 other women have gained the confidence and skills to resolve long-standing financial issues.

HOW WE STARTED

Budget Buddies began around a kitchen table in 2009, rooted on the premise of women helping other women in their community become economically empowered. An incredible group of volunteers has come together in the intervening years to develop a viable, effective, and replicable program that now seeks to extend its reach and impact.

Founders Anita Saville and Kathy Brough decided to combine their experience in financial writing, business operations, and advocacy for women and the homeless to address a critical gap in social services – a gap that can make the difference between success and repeated defeat in the lives of low-income women and their families.

Speaking with financial educators and case managers at local social-service agencies, Anita and Kathy discovered that there was a significant need for financial education programs serving low-income women that provide both the comprehensive instruction and personalized help that women need to achieve and maintain their individual economic goals. Budget Buddies was founded to provide that support, as a compliment to case management offered by shelters, housing authorities, and other agencies that work with low-income women and their families.

In both 2015 and 2016, we were nominated for Nonprofit of the Year by Enterprise Bank. Founders Anita Saville and Kathy Brough were also recently nominated as Women of the Year by the Lowell Sun and honored at the YWCA of Greater Lawrence 2016 Tribute to Women. In 2016, we were named 2016 Innovators by the Social Innovation Forum (SIF) in Boston. Working with expert consultants through the SIF program, we have developed a multi-year strategic plan focused on capacity building, the cornerstone of which is the Budget Buddies Affiliate Network.


Impact Statement

FY2016

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2016, Budget Buddies enjoyed another growth spurt -- adding new program partners in Lowell and Lawrence and support partners elsewhere in the Greater Boston area and beyond. In addition to new programs the Greater Lawrence Action Council and Lawrence-based Lazarus House, we launched a new program for housing authorities in North Andover and Methuen. Development of the Budget Buddies Affiliate Network brought our program to women in Boston for the first time. To meet the pressing need for Spanish-language programs, we hired two part-time bilingual staff, to support our program leaders and Spanish-speaking coaches.

Additionally, we were chosen by the Social Innovation Forum (SIF) as one of eight organizations out of more than 170 applicants to receive two years of comprehensive support for the growth of our organization. This included six months of help from a personal consultant and designer -- who helped us prepare a professional pitch that we gave before nearly 400 funders and philanthropists.

FY2017

In FY2017, we increased two part-time staff members to full-time as we have expanded the number of direct-service programs we offered, from 8 to 12. As we expand geographically, we are adding direct-service programs in Nashua, NH and Haverhill, MA.

We also continue to build the Budget Buddies Affiliate Network – which we hope will further extend the reach of our program. Through SIF we are receiving pro bono support with the legal documents and evaluation tools we need to support our Affiliate Network.

SIF consultants are also helping us strengthen our connection with individual donors and serving as personal coaches for executive team. We are also researching best practices in financial literacy programs for teen girls, with the goal of bringing instructional experts and other volunteers together this spring to adapt our core curriculum for this new group.


Needs Statement

Our most pressing needs are 1) building sustainable financial resources, 2) expanding volunteer networks, and 3) increasing program partnerships for our direct-service programs and Affiliate Network.

We’ve enjoyed diverse and generous financial support from our funders, but as with any small non-profit, sustainable financial help is always a need. We’ve been successful with foundation and government investment, and are currently working to increase funding from corporate and individual donors.

We’ve been very successful in developing a large and committed cohort of volunteers to provide the one-to-one coaching essential to our service model. As we expand our services beyond the home communities of these volunteers, we will need to develop new networks. We are currently building volunteer cohorts in Boston, Lawrence, Haverhill, and Southern New Hampshire.

Our programs are offered in partnership with social service agencies, housing authorities, and other organizations working with low-income and/or homeless women. As we expand our programs both geographically and through our Affiliate Network, we are always seeking qualified partnerships to site our programs and serve partner constituents.


CEO Statement

Budget Buddies was founded on the recognition that 1) economic empowerment is a key building block in equal rights for women, 2) women are much more likely to live in poverty than men, and 3) women living in poverty typically lack the core skills and confidence to manage their money effectively and improve their economic circumstances.

When we created the Budget Buddies program, it was clear that most social service agencies lack the resources to provide the in-depth financial education their clients need. Additionally, most money management programs – whether provided through agencies or financial services firms – involve just a couple of classes, or 2-3 months at most. And while women are often heavily represented in these programs, few programs – if any – are designed to address the low self-esteem and other challenges that women in particular must address in taking control of their finances.

It is clear from recent research that coaching is gaining recognition as an important element of successful financial education programs. However, programs that do have mentoring typically assign dozens of clients to a paid mentor – who may see each client just 2 or 3 times. In our experience, program participants are particularly apt to bond with volunteers, recognizing that they are helping them for altruistic reasons. This is especially true in the one-coach, one-client model that we use.

Our involvement of volunteers also makes use of a valuable community resource and has made it possible for us to continuously expand capacity. Our volunteers are passionate in their desire to help women in their communities who are struggling financially and have responded with great enthusiasm to our women-helping-women model. Many thank us for the opportunity to learn about the hardships our Buddies face.

Another feature that sets us apart is our focus on partnerships with local social-service agencies. By working through an agency, vs. providing classes to the general public, we can create a program that is customized to the agency’s clients. We also gain a cheerleader for the program that can help keep the clients engaged for the entire 6 months.

The success of our model speaks for itself. Results from intake and exit surveys administered to recent graduates show that 71% report that they are very confident in their money management abilities, up from 21% when they started the program. In the words of one agency partner:

“The Budget Buddies program has been the first we've used that has unlocked the grip that financial woes and misery inflict on the lives of our residents.”


Board Chair Statement

I was introduced to Budget Buddies about 5 years ago through a non-profit board training program. Right away I was drawn to mission of the organization and the passion of the founder, Anita Saville and Kathy Brough, and of course the incredible volunteers. After the training program I joined the Board and was excited to get started with the organization. Since joining the Board, I have also been a Coach for one of our programs. I loved being a Coach and working one-on-one with a women. I attended all the program workshops with her and met individually with her every other week, to work on her goals. At the end of the six month program cycle, my Buddy was on her way to meet her financial goals. She expressed to me how helpful it was to have someone to talk to each week and to check in with about her weekly goals. Being a Coach was a very rewarding experience and I also benefited from attending the workshops, improving my own financial management skills.

Along with being a board member, and having volunteered as a Coach, I also lead the Vision Board workshop for each of our programs. In this workshop the Buddies create a visual representation of their goal. This workshop, offered early in the program curriculum, is also an opportunity for Buddies and Coaches to work together and get to know each other.

I could not be happier committing my volunteer efforts to this agency. Budget Buddies is an organization that has a meaningful and essential mission, and has the staff and community support to achieve its goals. I am thrilled to support Budget Buddies as it works to bring this wonderful program to more women in need.


Geographic Area Served

NORTHEAST REGION, MA
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
Budget Buddies programs currently serve low-income women throughout the Massachusetts Merrimack Valley, Southern New Hampshire and Greater Boston.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Adult Education
  2. Human Services - Financial Counseling
  3. -

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

Yes

Programs

Budget Buddies Financial Education and Empowerment

Budget Buddies’ Direct-Service Programs

Guided by their Coaches, our “Buddies” participate in a six-month program in which they attend a series of 12 to 13 workshops where they learn to make budgets, handle credit, and manage bank accounts. They learn how to eat nutritiously on a budget and protect themselves against fraud. By combining an intimate instructional setting with personal mentoring, our program gives highly individualized attention to each participant’s financial needs.

In additional to our Direct-Service Programs, we also have established the Budget Buddies Affiliate Network – through which we are training qualified agencies to offer our model of financial education to their constituents. We are also developing a Teen Girls Program, to bring financial education and coaching to teens throughout Massachusetts.

Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Adult Education
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Females Homeless
Program Short-Term Success 

Our goal for program graduates is that:

1) 95% will have bank accounts

2) 75% will regularly put money into saving accounts

3) 90% will typically pay their bills on time

4) 70% will regularly use a budget

5) 75% will feel generally confident about managing their finances

A recent analysis of client surveys demonstrates that our programs have a strong and positive impact: 71% of our graduates report that they are very confident in their money management abilities, up from 21% pre-program; 67% of participants typically use a budget (up from 14%); 75% typically put money into savings (up from 31%); and 92% typically pay their bills on time (up from 55%).

Program Long-Term Success 

In Massachusetts there are few financial education programs that address the special money-management challenges of low-income women. Even fewer programs combine a comprehensive set of financial workshops with the regular, one-to-one mentoring that case managers say is essential to successful money management. Most programs offer limited instruction, with little of the individualized follow up that is critical to learning new skills, building confidence, and adopting positive financial behaviors.

By giving women the skills and knowledge to better their economic circumstances, we can help them break the cycle of poverty. Budget Buddies fills the current void in effective financial education through a unique and highly customized program design that brings community resources together to solve a key economic challenge.

Program Success Monitored By  We work with the Sociology Department at University of Massachusetts, Lowell to prepare comprehensive analyses of program results, based on the comparison of intake and exit surveys of our Buddies. Key areas assessed in the survey include: 1) confidence in money management, 2) specific skills in money management, and 3) actual behaviors related to those skills. We use these results to assess program effectiveness, design program improvements, and inform our agency partners and funders of our progress in meeting target outcomes.
Examples of Program Success 

A recent analysis of client surveys demonstrates that our programs have a strong and positive impact: 71% of our graduates report that they are very confident in their money management abilities, up from 21% pre-program; 67% of participants typically use a budget (up from 14%); 75% typically put money into savings (up from 31%); and 92% typically pay their bills on time (up from 55%).


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The potential long-term impact of our program can be easily seen in the example of Jackie Rodriguez, a Buddy from our first program in 2010, who is still, seven years later, working with her Coach, Liz Gustin.

When Jackie started Budget Buddies, she was struggling with bad credit. She had no budgeting skills, no savings account, and no idea what a credit score was. It took courage for her to in our program. As she explains, “It was scary, but I wanted to do things like take my kids on vacation or maybe buy a house.”

Today, Jackie has established new spending habits, has a savings account, and has improved her credit score.

A Friendship Blooms

“I had a great coach, and now I have a wonderful friendship with Liz,” Jackie says. “I think we just hit it off, but I have to admit I was overwhelmed at first,” says Liz. “There was no ‘wiggle room’ in Jackie’s budget. Kathy Brough, one of the founders of Budget Buddies, helped me through my apprehension.” Liz, a financial advisor in Lexington, says she came to realize that the challenges faced by Budget Buddies participants were similar to those of the women she works with professionally.

A Family Affair

Together Liz and Jackie decided that Jackie’s first steps would be paying off her credit card debt and building her savings. They also modified some of Jackie’s larger goals. While Jackie has not yet taken her family on vacation, she has treated them to a day in Boston to enjoy the Duck Boat tours.

Jackie’s family has benefitted from her work with Liz in many other ways. Jackie’s 19-year-old daughter recently moved out on her own. She was thinking of moving to a larger place, but now is saving for a better car instead.

“She’s thinking about what she really needs and not just what she wants,” says Jackie, who has also seen a change in her eight-year-old son.

“He used to ask me to buy him things on every trip to the store. But now he has his own allowance and he sees that he can have more money for something bigger if he starts saving for it.”

“One of the things I admire most is what a wonderful mother Jackie is,” says Liz. Jackie adds that her friendship with Liz was one of the best outcomes from participating in the Budget Buddies program.

“I’m a very private person. I wasn’t sure I wanted people to know about my finances. I did not want to be judged by my earnings. But I took the chance and went to that first Budget Buddies class. And now I’m so glad I did.”

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Anita Saville
CEO Term Start Jan 2009
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Anita Saville has been an advocate for women's empowerment since she worked to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the early 1980s. At the time she was living in Washington, DC, making the transition from a career in teaching to one in journalism.

After graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in education, Anita taught English, civics, and social studies at two junior high schools in Maryland. She then earned a masters degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and wrote for several community and business publications, as well as for the National Association of Realtors in Washington, DC.

Several years later, she moved to Boston, where she was senior editor for a customer magazine at Fidelity Investments — as well as the editor of several newsletters and books. Seeking other opportunities to support women's rights, she helped start a chapter of the National Organization for Women in Lowell.

After five years with Fidelity, she struck out on her own -- launching a marketing communications firm focused on the financial services industry and a news service devoted to socially responsible investing for women called PurseStrings. Recognizing that women of means had many more opportunities to learn about managing money than women with little or no income, she began exploring ways to create a financial literacy program for low-income women.

Anita met Budget Buddies co-founder and Director of Operations Kathy Brough during work on the 2006 campaign of former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. They worked on several additional campaigns together before deciding to research financial literacy opportunities in Lowell. Budget Buddies was born a year later -- with a pilot program at the Lowell Transitional Living Center, a homeless shelter where Kathy had volunteered for nearly 20 years.

Co-CEO Ms. Kathy Brough
Co-CEO Term Start 2009
Co-CEO Email [email protected]
Co-CEO Experience

Co-founder Kathy Brough brought life-long volunteer experience with a wide range of community groups, as well as strong operational skills sharpened in a variety of professional positions.

After working as a bookkeeper and property manager for Marko Materials in Billerica, MA, she spent the next 17 years managing the day-to-day operations of Lumen Laboratories -- an electro-optical engineering consulting firm – where she handled accounting, human resources, project planning, budgeting, and cash flow. She then established similar systems for N-of-One a startup in Lexington that offers customized medical care.

In her “volunteer career,” she has been a grassroots organizer and campaigned for candidates and causes at the local, state, and national levels. In addition to working to stop nuclear proliferation and racism, she has helped collect humanitarian aid for the people of El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Kathy has been a town meeting representative in Chelmsford, MA for 28 years and a precinct warden during elections. Since 1993, she has volunteered as a client advocate at the Lowell Transitional Living Center (a local homeless shelter) – helping those with mental and physical disabilities overcome the many hurdles of applying for federal benefits. She also served on the shelter’s board from 2006 through 2015.

Together, Kathy and Anita have successfully co-managed multiple political campaigns -- including presidential, Senate, state, and local races. Together they have initiated and led community-based programs for recruiting and supporting the campaign volunteers involved in voter outreach and education.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Kathleen Neville Volunteer Coordinator/Business Manager After graduating from a small liberal arts school in southern Switzerland with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and international communications, Kathleen explored administrative opportunities in Kansas City and Chicago before returning to Massachusetts. She is an elected member of the school committee in Boxborough and an active member of a local parent cooperative.
Ms. Katie Stoll Program Coordinator Before joining Budget Buddies in 2015, Katie spent six years volunteering as a Crisis Counselor for a non-profit in her home state of New York. In addition to counseling, Katie was also responsible for making sure the agency was running smoothly and that counselors were available for clients 24/7. Aside from her volunteering, Katie also worked for a grass-roots organization called Project Hope, that provided physical and emotional assistance to Hurricane Sandy survivors. Currently, Katie graduated from UMass Lowell in 2016 with a Masters Degree in Community Social Psychology.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

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

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

Budget Buddies partners with a wide range of social service and housing organizations that help low-income and homeless women address many different social, mental health, addiction, and traumatic issues. Our nearly two dozen program partners have included:

· House of Hope, Lowell, MA

· YWCA of Greater Lowell and of Greater Lawrence, MA

· Girls, Inc., Lowell, MA

· Head Start, Lawrence, MA

· The Front Door Agency, Nashua, NH

· Emmaus, Haverhill, MA

· Housing authorities in Chelmsford, Methuen and North Andover

Organizations and agencies serving those living on the margins of our society are chronically stressed for resources – both human and financial. As budgets tighten across the Commonwealth, the capacity of these groups to offer additional services beyond their core programing shrinks as well. Budget Buddies was created to meet a critical need gap in the service continuum: supplementary programming for low-income women that would empower them with the skills and confidence to take control of their financial futures. Without Budget Buddies’ programs, these women would not have access to the personalized, one-to-one attention and support that makes our graduates so successful. We have deliberately structured our partnerships with community agencies to maximize existing resources and minimize administrative overhead – both their and ours.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 4
Number of Part Time Staff 4
Number of Volunteers 400
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 8
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

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

Risk Management Provisions

Commercial General Insurance
Commercial General Insurance

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 No Annually

Governance


Board Chair Ms Catherine Jenkins
Board Chair Company Affiliation NetScout Systems
Board Chair Term July 2016 - June 2017
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Nancy Coan Lowell Alliance for Families and Neighborhoods Voting
Ms. Brenda Gould Habitat for Humanity Voting
Ms. Susan Graves MA Dept. of Developmental Services Voting
Ms. Sarah Ihugo Entegee Voting
Ms Nicole Nguyen NetScout Voting
Ms. Nancy Olt Massachusetts General Hospital Voting
Mr. Todd Smith American Textile Museum, Lowell MA Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

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

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 79%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

    --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The potential long-term impact of our program can be easily seen in the example of Jackie Rodriguez, a Buddy from our first program in 2010, who is still, seven years later, working with her Coach, Liz Gustin.

When Jackie started Budget Buddies, she was struggling with bad credit. She had no budgeting skills, no savings account, and no idea what a credit score was. It took courage for her to in our program. As she explains, “It was scary, but I wanted to do things like take my kids on vacation or maybe buy a house.”

Today, Jackie has established new spending habits, has a savings account, and has improved her credit score.

A Friendship Blooms

“I had a great coach, and now I have a wonderful friendship with Liz,” Jackie says. “I think we just hit it off, but I have to admit I was overwhelmed at first,” says Liz. “There was no ‘wiggle room’ in Jackie’s budget. Kathy Brough, one of the founders of Budget Buddies, helped me through my apprehension.” Liz, a financial advisor in Lexington, says she came to realize that the challenges faced by Budget Buddies participants were similar to those of the women she works with professionally.

A Family Affair

Together Liz and Jackie decided that Jackie’s first steps would be paying off her credit card debt and building her savings. They also modified some of Jackie’s larger goals. While Jackie has not yet taken her family on vacation, she has treated them to a day in Boston to enjoy the Duck Boat tours.

Jackie’s family has benefitted from her work with Liz in many other ways. Jackie’s 19-year-old daughter recently moved out on her own. She was thinking of moving to a larger place, but now is saving for a better car instead.

“She’s thinking about what she really needs and not just what she wants,” says Jackie, who has also seen a change in her eight-year-old son.

“He used to ask me to buy him things on every trip to the store. But now he has his own allowance and he sees that he can have more money for something bigger if he starts saving for it.”

“One of the things I admire most is what a wonderful mother Jackie is,” says Liz. Jackie adds that her friendship with Liz was one of the best outcomes from participating in the Budget Buddies program.

“I’m a very private person. I wasn’t sure I wanted people to know about my finances. I did not want to be judged by my earnings. But I took the chance and went to that first Budget Buddies class. And now I’m so glad I did.”

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2016 to June 30, 2017
Projected Income $367,500.00
Projected Expense $356,400.00
Form 990s

2016 Form 990EZ

2015 Form 990EZ

2014 Form 990EZ

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $269,214 $170,329 $66,258
Total Expenses $200,367 $94,959 $37,600

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $60,000 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $60,000 -- --
Individual Contributions $160,276 $143,285 $66,239
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $21,500 $12,000 --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $449 $75 $19
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $26,989 $14,969 --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $115,164 $20,091 $10,882
Administration Expense $81,900 $72,961 $23,192
Fundraising Expense $3,303 $1,907 $3,526
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.34 1.79 1.76
Program Expense/Total Expenses 57% 21% 29%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 1% 1% 5%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $219,355 $139,461 $57,175
Current Assets $171,218 $134,596 $50,525
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $3,711 $7,411 $495
Total Net Assets $215,644 $132,050 $56,680

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

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

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 46.14 18.16 102.07

Long Term Solvency

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

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our most pressing needs are 1) building sustainable financial resources, 2) expanding volunteer networks, and 3) increasing program partnerships for our direct-service programs and Affiliate Network.

We’ve enjoyed diverse and generous financial support from our funders, but as with any small non-profit, sustainable financial help is always a need. We’ve been successful with foundation and government investment, and are currently working to increase funding from corporate and individual donors.

We’ve been very successful in developing a large and committed cohort of volunteers to provide the one-to-one coaching essential to our service model. As we expand our services beyond the home communities of these volunteers, we will need to develop new networks. We are currently building volunteer cohorts in Boston, Lawrence, Haverhill, and Southern New Hampshire.

Our programs are offered in partnership with social service agencies, housing authorities, and other organizations working with low-income and/or homeless women. As we expand our programs both geographically and through our Affiliate Network, we are always seeking qualified partnerships to site our programs and serve partner constituents.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. Please note, functional expense breakout data for FY14 and FY15 is per the Form PC's on file with the state of MA.

Documents


Other Documents

Annual Report (2016)

Impact

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?

Budget Buddies builds the financial literacy, confidence, and security of low-income women through an award-winning, 6-month program that combines individual one-to-one coaching by community volunteers with a series of instructional workshops that cover the basics of money management. We partner with local social service organizations to help women develop the skills, behaviors, and self-esteem they need to handle the exceptional financial challenges of overcoming poverty, homelessness, addiction, immigration, and domestic abuse and violence. Our devotion to low-income women and personalized mentoring makes our organization unique in the financial literacy industry. Proven results demonstrate the effectiveness of our high-contact approach.

More than 1 in 7 U.S. women live in poverty – or 14% of women in 2014, versus 10.9% of men. More than two thirds (68%) of the elderly poor are women. Women headed-households experience particularly high rates of poverty (40%), and more than half (57%) of children living in poverty are part of female-headed households. (National Women’s Law Center, 2015)

Women are more likely to live in low-income households because they generally have fewer years of employment (due to caring for children and family members), earn an average 20% less than men, and are 50% more likely to work part time. Massachusetts ranks fifth in the nation for low-income households headed by women and suffered the greatest increase in homeless families nationwide in 2014. In our target communities of Lowell and Lawrence, women head 37% and 42% of households living in poverty, respectively, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, versus 29% percent nationally. In Greater Boston, where we plan to add many of our new Affiliates, women head 71% of households living in poverty. Most are minority households, who face added challenges in economic opportunity. (City of Boston Report on the Status of Women and Girls, 2015)

A HUGE NEED FOR FINANCIAL EDUCATION

Low-income households face unique financial issues but typically lack support for resolving these issues. Many use high-cost payday loans or credit cards to make ends meet. Some take on student loans to land better-paying jobs or fall behind in debt payments due to high health care costs. As their debts rise, and their credit scores fall, these families may be further hampered by employment credit checks.

In Massachusetts there are few financial education programs that address the special money-management challenges of low-income women. Even fewer programs combine a comprehensive set of financial workshops with the regular, one-to-one mentoring that case managers say is essential to successful money management. (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report, 2016) Most programs offer limited instruction, with little of the individualized follow up that is critical to learning new skills, building confidence, and adopting positive financial behaviors.

We know that empowering women through education and economic independence also has a strong positive impact on their families and their communities. (World Bank Report, 2016). By giving women the skills and knowledge to better their economic circumstances, we can help them break the cycle of poverty. Budget Buddies fills the current void in effective financial education through a unique and highly customized program design that brings community resources together to solve a key economic challenge.


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Organizations serving those who live on the margins of our society and our economy are chronically stressed for resources – both human and financial. As budgets tighten across the Commonwealth, the capacity of these groups to offer services beyond their core programming shrinks. Budget Buddies was created to meet a critical need gap in the service continuum: supplementary programming for low-income women that would empower them with the skills and confidence to take control of their financial futures. Without Budget Buddies’ programs, these women would not have access to the personalized, one-to-one attention and support that makes our graduates so successful.

The Budget Buddies’ curriculum is comprehensive, unique, and continuously evolving to meet the needs of our clients. What started out as 3 workshops (on banking, budgeting, and credit) has, over the last 6 years, has developed into 12 core and 4 specialized workshops, used in different programs as participants’ needs dictate. These additional workshops address issues important to low-income households, such as eating nutritiously on a budget and protecting yourself against fraud. Each is designed to build confidence and strengthen financial behaviors, while teaching new skills.

In addition to the high-touch nature of our program, it is unique among its peers in meeting the specific needs of low-income women. Most financial education programs are based on transactional engagement – imparting business information about banking, saving, and credit. Our curriculum is deliberately designed around the core concept of relational engagement: deepening the interface beyond financial dealings and engaging participants in a learning relationship centered on their personal goals and motivations. In our classrooms, this includes encouraging participation, team building, and discussion.

Outside of the classroom, our volunteer Coaches – all of whom are women – dedicate personal time and attention to each Buddy – supporting her in meeting her own self-identified goals, encouraging her over every challenge, and cheering each success. Both our Coaches and Buddies report that this personal connection is the core of their continued engagement with the program and contributes to their mutual confidence and sense of success. Engaging women – particularly women who have experienced trauma, abuse, and marginalization – must be a deliberate intention. Valuing them and investing in them individually with empathy and empowerment is critical to their sense of worth, validation, and competence.

Since launching our first program in 2010, we have provided 40 programs in partnership with 21 community agencies and trained more than 375 Coaches to mentor more than 450 low-income women. With a graduation rate of 85%, our programs are both effective and successful.

Our short-term goals include a 50% increase in direct-service programs in FY2017 and another 25% increase in FY2018 through the expansion of direct-service programs in Boston and Southern New Hampshire. We also will continue to grow the Budget Buddies Affiliate Network – through which we are training local agencies to run their own financial-education programs based on our model. Finally, we plan to design, pilot, and evaluate a teen girls program and replicate that program throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Together, these efforts will more than triple the number of individuals we serve over the next two years and bring our program to many new communities in a variety of languages. Introducing our program to Boston will be a top priority.

Longer term, we envision the successful replication of our model across Southern New England. Working with partner organizations devoted to helping households in need, we will continue to maximize the resources of local volunteers and well-established community services.


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

Budget Buddies was founded to meet address a critical gap in services for low-income and homeless women: financial literacy and individual empowerment. Without knowledge and skills to transform their lives to one of empowered economic independence, women are often left to cycle through service after service dependent and hopeless to take control of their financial futures. After significant research, Budget Buddies identified the essential financial management skills to support successful economic independence, and designed the unique one-to-one coaching component critical to the sustained success of our graduates. Budget Buddies has three main goals over the next few years: expansion, replication, and diversification.

EXPANSION. Our expansion plan includes both deepening our presence in the Merrimack Valley, our home territory, and expanding our direct-service programs into the Greater Boston area. This plan will allow to more than triple the number of women we serve by the year 2020.

REPLICATION. We have launched an Affiliate Network to train and support other agencies offering their own financial education programs based on our model. We have piloted this model with two agencies and anticipate replicating it with an additional 3-5 agencies over the next two years.

DIVERSIFICATION. We are creating a third program model (in addition to our direct-service and Affiliate Network models) to proactively meet the needs of young women through a Teen Girls Program. We will bring together our own curriculum experts with leaders in the field of teen girl engagement and mentoring to design a Budget Buddies program suited to the unique needs of young women ages 15-20 from low-income households. While teen financial literacy is not a new field, Budget Buddies is uniquely qualified to excel in this area -- providing both the tangible financial skills and the essential mentoring that fosters resiliency and protective factors in the lives of girls.

We have several essential resources to support our success: 1) competence and expertise, 2) engaged and committed networks, and 3) increasing demand for our services. In addition to the years of experience our co-founders brought into the creation of Budget Buddies, our staff and volunteers have 7 years of success running our programs. Honing our capacities in partner relations, program logistics, participant engagement, and quality and consistency in service delivery, our staff has been recognized in the field for their competence and effectiveness. Our networks of program partners, financial experts, and volunteer coaches have been developed with great care to ensure their capacity and commitment.

We have a comprehensive strategy for recruitment, orientation and training, and support and engagement that has supported the retention of over 375 committed volunteer coaches. In addition, we have received enthusiastic support from funders, service providers, and the community – all of whom have communicated to us that they recognize the persistent need for our programs. We are ready to meet this challenge and continue bringing the skills and empowerment that low-income and homeless women need to sustain growth and independence as they work to transform their lives.


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

We work with the Sociology Department at University of Massachusetts, Lowell to prepare comprehensive analyses of program results, based on the comparison of intake and exit surveys of our Buddies. Key areas assessed in the survey include: 1) confidence in money management, 2) specific skills in money management, and 3) actual behaviors related to those skills. We use these results to assess program effectiveness, design program improvements, and inform our agency partners and funders of our progress in meeting target outcomes. Our goal for program graduates is that:

1) 95% will have bank accounts

2) 75% will regularly put money into saving accounts

3) 90% will typically pay their bills on time

4) 70% will regularly use a budget

5) 75% will feel generally confident about managing their finances

A recent analysis of client surveys demonstrates that our programs have a strong and positive impact: 71% of our graduates report that they are very confident in their money management abilities, up from 21% pre-program; 67% of participants typically use a budget (up from 14%); 75% typically put money into savings (up from 31%); and 92% typically pay their bills on time (up from 55%).

In addition to our regular program evaluation in partnership with Department of Sociology at the UMASS, Lowell, we are currently working with Analysis Group in Boston to include specific financial outcomes -- such as improved credit scores or increase in savings in our evaluation criteria. In the meantime, we know that our graduates report significantly improved financial resiliency and money management behaviors. As discussed in the Evaluation question above, a recent analysis of client surveys demonstrates that our programs have a strong and positive impact. Survey results from the last two years show that 71% of our graduates report that they are very confident in their money management abilities, up from 21% when they started the program. In addition, 67% of participants typically use a budget (up from 14%), 75% typically put money into savings (up from 31%), and 92% typically pay their bills on time (up from 55%).

A recent study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (October 2016) reviewed two financial education programs that include a coaching component. They reported dramatically improved outcomes for participants who received coaching in conjunction with the financial education (on average 3 sessions of coaching provided by professional coaches at their offices). These financial outcomes included: 1) an average 21-point increase in credit scores, 2) a $10,000 reduction in debt, and 3) a $1,200 increase in savings. This report proves the value of combining coaching with financial instruction and suggests that a longer-duration program like ours, which further personalizes the coaching experience, can have significantly stronger results.


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

Budget Buddies was established with modest goals – to create a program that would meet the financial education needs of low-income women in Lowell. In the years since our founding in 2009, we have realized the need for our program is greater than our original expectations. We have steadily and strategically grown to meet that need, ensuring prudent fiscal and operational development. In 2016, we hired our first full-time staff members and expanded our service delivery by 50%. Our program goals for the next 3 years include expansion, replication and diversification – allowing us to meet the persistent needs of low-income women, and provide proactive education and empowerment to teen girls, around the Commonwealth and Southern New England.

Our program model allows for, and receives, regular review and curriculum modification based on current best practices in financial education and coaching. We have over our years of operation modified our workshops to include family issues such as eating nutritiously on a budget and more advanced financial challenges such as financing your education, and preparing to purchase a home. We have found that the continued refinement of our content and delivery has ensured the consistently positive program outcomes our evaluators have reported.

Budget Buddies is in a time of pivotal growth – expanding geographically and establishing new programs to meet the needs of unique groups, such as teen girls. This growth offers us the opportunity to challenge ourselves to maintain our thoughtful organizational and fiscal development, while we expand more aggressively than we have in the past. Our staff, now more fully equipped with full-time positions and support, are and eager ready to meet that challenge.