The Wish Project Inc.

Hope for the Homeless

aka The Wish Project   |   Lowell, MA   |  www.TheWishProject.org

Mission

The Wish Project’s mission is to help families in need establish long-term residency by providing furniture, household goods, clothing, and shoes; to provide critical immediate assistance to homeless families. and victims of fire or disaster; and to support the community. We serve with a passionate team of board members, volunteers, community partners, and staff.

Ruling year info

2005

Executive Director

David Fitzgerald

Main address

PO Box 8693

Lowell, MA 01853 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Lowell Wish Project Inc.

EIN

20-3249145

NTEE code info

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Recycling (C27)

Housing Expense Reduction Support, Rent Assistance (L82)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our agency address the problem of homelessness recidivism for low to moderate income and homeless families We are able to fill the need for household goods clothing and baby times such as diapers and bedding. We are also a distribution center for social workers from 40 different agencies clients for their needs as well.We provide these items without cost to these families from donations and gifts from the local community and a volunteer army of more than 7,000 people a year.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Wishes: furniture, clothing, baby gear

We provide furniture and other high value goods for free to more than 1,000 families per year as they move out of shelter and into apartments. By providing these expensive items for free, we give a leg up to help them survive that first year and thrive for the years to come. As a Goods Bank, we are a regional support, much as the food bank is for food. Social workers place wishes for their needy clients for clothing, furniture, baby gear, appliances or any other item through our online placement system. We confirm the Wish, and an email that is a portable packet and pick list, is sent to the social worker. The client or social worker has sixty days to come pick out the items at our warehouse. Of the 36,000 people we assist each year, about 25,000 are helped through reused goods and Wishes.

Population(s) Served

This important program is unique support for people suddenly left homeless due to fire, flood or lack of homeless shelter placement. We have a phone hot line and provide 24/7 same day delivery to the motels where families get placed. Most people ask for food boxes, toiletries, clothing, coats, diapers, formula, baby beds and more. This program started several years, before Wish got a 501c3, thanks to our partnership with the Red Cross. Since then, this program has continued to be flexible and fast. The assistant director handles the hotline most of the time with the director as backup. The emergency calls get answered even on holiday weekends. For the past three years, we have supported hundreds of motel homeless families in addition to our Wishes and Projects. While challenging to do, this covers a gap in service that no other agency fills.

Population(s) Served

This program provides seasonal items in bulk directly to our social service partners to distribute to their clients. They include new back packs filled with school supplies in September, blankets in October, new Christmas gifts in December, new Mother's Day gift bags in May, etc. We solicit these items from our donors and social workers come to pick them up from the warehouse in bulk.

Population(s) Served

to provide every child who we serv a bed to sleep on

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Unsung Heroine 2007

State of MA

Local Hero 2008

Bank of America

Featured Article 2012

Woman's World Magazine

SAC/Department of Developmental Services- work with mentally challenged 2010

State of MA

Community Spirit Award 2010

Kiwanis

Service Delivery Award 2009

World AID's Day

Marty Miller Award 2004

City of Lowell Hunger/Homeless Commission

Feature Article 2008

Boston Globe Newspaper

Because of Her Award 2005

City of Lowell- Women's Week Committee

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our ultimate goal is to help end homelessness. Once a family is in their own apartment again, they struggle in that first year to acquire furniture, household goods like pots to cook in, clothing as the kids grow, and even birthday cakes. By providing these to more than 20,000 families a year, we increase their chance of successfully staying housed permanently. We measure success by the number of families that we help not return to the street.

We do accept lots of donations from individuals, but primarily, we seek tractor-trailer-load-sized donations from hotels, universities and businesses. Success is measured by how rarely we cannot fill a wish because we do not have an item. That number is very low, except for dressers. In addition to donated used goods, we run monthly service projects that focus on sub-populations of needy, to generate donations of new and used seasonal goods, such as backpacks in September. Our weekly E-newsletter lets thousands of donors and volunteers know what items are needed each week. Our Facebook account has 4,000 likes. Urgent needs like helping fire victims are usually filled the same day, thanks to Facebook and our extensive donor network. We work with several trucking companies that drive our trailers all over New England.

Our volunteer program is our biggest strength. More than 1,200 volunteers work 10,000 hours to make wishes come true each year. Our volunteer manager does a great job with training and recognition, so that many volunteers turn into donors. One volunteer designed and developed our on-line wish placement software that minimizes paperwork for social workers and allows us to fill specific needs in days, rather than months. In addition, it allows us to pull statistics on every spoon, bed and lamp that we give out. We have a dedicated Board of Directors, including several CPAs who work with our staff book keeper to keep our finances in check and make the yearly audit go smoothly.

As founder, I envisioned four areas of activity to meet the needs for all the poor in the area - all year long. Three of those areas (Wishes, Projects, and Emergency Support) are active and growing But, the fourth item was to have a for-profit entity be the financial engine to power The Wish Project in the future. We are close with the development of the Thermonator (our heat treatment truck), and have other ideas for for-profit ventures as well. The obstacles to overcome are funding and space. We are 10 years old as of 2015 and have come a long way since my side porch days, but we need to expand our development efforts and staffing. Knowing what you need is the first step.

Financials

The Wish Project Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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The Wish Project Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/24/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr Fredrick Dunn

Touchstone Closing LLc

Term: 2017 - 2020

Lorraine Ilsley

Washington Savings Bank

Loraine Murtagh

Coldwell Banker

Susan Smith

Retired

Kristopher Hebert

Johnson O'Connor LLC

Kristin Moore

Roads scholar

Corey Scrupps

Northern associates

Nicholas Stelakis

Nicholas Tamvaklis

Diccucco Gulman

Michelle Miakos

Usca international

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/24/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data