Mission: Founded in 2004, More Than Words empowers youth who are in foster care, court-involved, homeless or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a ... (More)

More Than Words is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1983, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://mtwyouth.org/

  56 Felton Street
Waltham MA 02453 

  781-788-0035


 Important note on the timeliness of ratings

The IRS is significantly delayed in processing nonprofits' annual tax filings (Forms 990). As a result, the Financial and Accountability & Transparency score for More Than Words is outdated and the overall rating may not be representative of its current operations. Please check with the charity directly for any questions you may have.

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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Exceptional

This charity's score is 96.58, earning it a 4-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2020, the latest year published by the IRS. 

View this organization’s historical ratings.


Back to Overall

Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

84.3%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

8.3%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

7.2%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

7.9%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.07


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

1.38 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

15.96%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors can be reluctant to contribute to a charity when their name, address, or other basic information may become part of donor lists that are exchanged or sold, resulting in an influx of charitable solicitations from other organizations. Our analysts check the charity's website to see if the organization has a donor privacy policy in place and what it does and does not cover. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

(Less)

Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Jodi Rosenbaum Tillinger, Chief Executive Officer

$109,354 (1.73% of Total Expenses)


Current CEO and Board Chair can be found in the Leadership & Adaptability report below.

Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Other youth organization or activities (BMF activity code: 349)

Community service organization (BMF activity code: 408)

Job training, counseling, or assistance (BMF activity code: 566)


Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


More Than Words reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

MTW exceeded all of our fundraising goals for the year in FY21, as well as our overall earned revenue projection. We were also able to access forgiveness on a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan. As a result, MTW finished the year with a slight surplus, despite planning to sustain a deficit as the result of our commitment to invest in youth services and retain programming through the challenges of the pandemic. Our surplus has been allocated to our operating reserve, which will be used to fund a planned operating deficit in FY22 associated with the ongoing financial impacts of COVID-19 and a year when we won’t have a Paycheck Protection Program loan to support our work. We are growing revenues through government partnerships and new earned revenue ventures, and project to return to a steady-state model in FY23.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

MTW was forced to shift to a fully remote program model for several months at the start of the pandemic. We then transitioned to a hybrid model, and have since resumed fully on-site operations with strict safety protocols in place.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

Implemented a hybrid model to safely serve our young people throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We reorganized our space and established strict safety protocols to ensure we could reopen our doors to our young people for business operations shifts, while our youth development programming and individualized case management were adapted to be offered remotely. We have since created a robust transition plan and returned to fully-onsite programming.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Pivoting our programming in response to the COVID-19 crisis was a significant logistical challenge, but it also enabled MTW to test out new ways of engaging with our youth. We are in the process of integrating several innovations into our standard operations, including the use of consistent youth teams on business operations shifts, leveraging remote check-ins for one-to-one youth development meetings, increasing MTW's presence in the community, and running elective workshops.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
12/23/20212020 96.58
12/1/20202019 92.62
6/1/20202018 93.86
10/1/20192018 90.50

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to its Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

12/21/20182017 90.58
3/1/20182016 90.94
4/1/20172015 93.32
8/1/20162015 88.81
6/1/20162014 83.35
Rating Version: 2.0
10/1/20152014 83.48
4/1/20152013 78.66

Previous: Finance & Accountability  / Next: Leadership & Adaptability

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

More Than Words cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.


Back to Overall

Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



More Than Words reported its largest program on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$5,423,855

Spent in most recent FY

100%

Percent of program expenses


MTW IS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE THAT EMPOWERS SYSTEM-INVOLVED YOUTH TO TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR LIVES BY TAKING CHARGE OF A BUSINESS. WE SERVE THE BOSTON AREA'S MOST UNDERSERVED YOUNG PEOPLE WHO FACE COMPOUNDI ... (More)


Previous: Impact & Results  / Next: Culture & Community

...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by More Than Words is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


Back to Overall

Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


More Than Words (MTW) is a social enterprise that empowers youth ages 16-24 who are court-involved, in the foster care system, out-of-school, or homeless to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business. We believe that when system-involved young people are provided with high expectations, increasing responsibilities in a business setting, and relentless support to address systemic injustices, they can and will overcome barriers to success and create concrete action plans for their lives.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


MTW seeks to build a world in which marginalized youth are provided the resources and compassion they need to thrive.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: Serving More Youth: While MTW is growing and innovating in impactful ways, we won’t lose sight of our core model and mission: supporting young people.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Two: Expanded Advocacy and Community Engagement (ACE) Program: MTW runs programming to empower our young people to advocate for their individual needs and drive systemic change.

Goal Type: This goal reflects our commitment to further our advocacy work for our organization and or cause area.


Goal Three: Expanding New Business Lines: MTW will continue to add new business lines to further diversify our earned revenue mix and create new job training opportunities for more young people.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

MTW recently partnered with the Institute for Nonprofit Practice to enroll six staff members in their Core Certificate Program and Community Fellows programs focused on growing BIPOC leaders.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

MTW works in close collaboration with peer nonprofits, government agencies, employer partners, postsecondary education providers, schools, shelters, and group homes to execute our programming. We simultaneously push for a more effective and equitable infrastructure for supporting our young people through our youth-led "Power is Yours" advocacy programming, currently focused on 1) ensuring all young people facing case closures in the child welfare system have robust transition plans and housing in place and 2) raising the age range of the juvenile justice system.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


The COVID-19 crisis added a layer of complexity to the already challenging circumstances our young people face. The job market tightened considerably.. More than 20% of MTW Graduates that were working at the start of the pandemic lost their jobs. Food insecurity increased as well. After completing a needs assessment in mid-March, MTW distributed more than 700 bags of groceries. Community violence also spiked during the COVID-19 crisis, with an increase in gun violence of nearly 30% that affected our youth and their families acutely. To ensure we were able to continue to serve our young people as they navigated the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, we: - Rearranged our space and purchased the necessary PPE to open up for physically-distanced, in-person business operations shifts. - Revised our staffing policies so that youth worked in small, consistent teams to limit exposure, and implemented detailed tracking of all visitors to the site to support contact tracing if needed. - Successfully transitioned our youth development shifts and weekly team meetings to be delivered remotely through Zoom, and have now returned to on-site programming, with some supplemental remote support that we learned works well during the pandemic. - After identifying food insecurity as a major need of our young people during the COVID-19 crisis, MTW decided to maintain an innovation launched in response to the pandemic to provide food on-site to our young people, as well as frozen meals that can be taken home at the end of shift. - Launched and expanded new businesses to ensure we had opportunities for young people to work and could recoup lost revenues from the closure of our retail bookstores and event space. - Executed gradual and safe re-opening plans to return youth to 100% onsite programming at the start of FY22.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

Unscored

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Jodi Rosenbaum

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

John Chory

Chair

Previous: Leadership & Adaptability

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's culture and connectedness to the community it serves. Learn more about how and why we rate Culture & Community.


Culture & Community Score

93

out of 100

More Than Words has earned a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating. The organization provided data about its Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) practices (see report below).

The Culture & Community Beacon is comprised of the following metrics:

  • Constituent Feedback: Not Scored

  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: 93/100 (100% of beacon score)


Back to Overall

Culture & Community Report

93

of 100 points

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Constituent Feedback

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

93/100 points

100% of beacon score


This organization's score of 93 is a passing score. The organization reported that it is implementing 8 diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices. Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations implementing effective DEI policies and practices can enhance a nonprofit's decision-making, staff motivation, innovation, and effectiveness.


View this organization's DEI Strategies


Methodology


We are utilizing data collected by Candid to document and assess the DEI practices implemented by the organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the Equity Strategies section of their Candid profiles to receive a rating.


Learn more about the methodology.

Constituent Feedback

Not Scored


This organization reported that it is collecting feedback from the constituents and/or communities it serves. However, it did not respond to one or more survey questions, and therefore is not eligible for a score on this metric. (View our beacon methodology.) Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective.


View this organization's Constituent Feedback Practices




Methodology


We've partnered with Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.


Learn more about the methodology.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Below you can find more information about the metrics we currently evaluate in this beacon and their relevance to nonprofit performance.


Constituent Feedback


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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