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The Boston House: Hope and Healing for Children with Cancer

aka Children's Oncology Services of Massachusetts Inc.   |   Brookline, MA   |  www.TheBostonHouse.org

Mission

SINCE 1979, THE BOSTON HOUSE HAS SERVED AS A HOME-AWAY-FROM-HOME FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER AND THEIR FAMILIES. AS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THEIR OVERALL CARE, THE HOUSE PROVIDES ITS GUESTS WITH LOW-COST AND CONVENIENT ACCOMODATIONS IN A SAFE AND COMFORTABLE HOME-LIKE SETTING. HERE, CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS FIND COMFORT AND SUPPORT AMONG STAFF, VOLUNTEERS AND OTHER FAMILIES FACING THE LIFE-CHANGING REALITIES OF CHILDHOOD CANCER AND OTHER LIFE-THREATENING HEMATOLOGICAL ILLNESSES.

Ruling year info

1978

President

David Mack

Main address

229 Kent St

Brookline, MA 02446 USA

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Formerly known as

Boston Ronald McDonald House

EIN

04-2627411

NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (E11)

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

Medical treatment for a child with cancer is often physically, emotionally, and financially exhausting for the whole family, and a child who is ill needs more than just good medical attention. Parents, in turn, need an affordable home-away-from-home where they can draw additional strength and find stability when their child has life-threatening medical problems. For over 40 years, The Boston House: Hope and Healing for Children with Cancer has fulfilled these needs, offering low or no-cost supportive living accommodations for families whose children are treated for cancer and other life-threatening hematological diseases, primarily at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic (DFCI) and Children’s Hospital Boston.

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?

Housing

The Boston House provides a home for children with cancer and other hematological life-threatening illnesses who are receiving treatment at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund Clinic.

Population(s) Served
People with diseases and illnesses

Where we work

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.

To help meet the needs of the children and families who stay with us, The Boston House: Hope and Healing for Children with Cancer aims to: (1) be an active part of the continuum of care provided by Children's Hospital Boston and DFCI's Jimmy Fund Clinic for pediatric oncology patients and their families; (2) serve the maximum number of children and families who need housing each night; (3) care for children and families so they feel comfortable and safe; (4) engage staff and volunteers to provide emotional support and companionship to children and families from 9AM to 8:30PM each day; (5) create a climate of acceptance and respect where people of different races, ethnicities, religions, beliefs, and experiences can live comfortably as a community; (6) be fiscally responsible in raising the funds we need to meet our mission and to ensure that most of the funds raised are targeted to services for children and families; (7) be responsible members of the Brookline community; and (8) minimize unneeded stress on families by helping to meet their basic needs and minimize their out-of-pocket expenses. Our true long-term goal is to change our mission eventually. There will not be a need for this type of service once pediatric oncology has been eradicated, something Steve Sallan, MD, DFCI/Children’s Hospital Cancer Care
Chief Medical Officer, believes might happen in our lifetime.

The Boston House serves families of children, from birth through 21 years of age, who are treated for cancer and other life-threatening hematological diseases primarily at Children’s Hospital Boston and DFCI's Jimmy Fund Clinic. Our House, a Victorian built in the late 19th century, now consists of 13 studio apartments for children recovering from bone marrow and stem cell transplants, and an additional nine bedrooms with many common areas for children with cancer who do not need the isolation required by children post transplant. The House can accommodate up to 22 families per night and children and families stay from a few days to several months at a time. The House serves approximately 250 new and returning families a year, providing over 6,500 nights of lodging per year. While the House’s priority is to serve families with lower income (when we have a wait list, which is very rare at this point), in actuality we serve all income levels from most states and many countries. The House is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Furthermore, despite our blue-ribbon affiliations, the Boston House is an independent, community-supported nonprofit that relies on generous individuals, corporations, civic groups and
foundations to sustain it financially. While we benefit from our association with Boston Children’s Hospital and DFCI's Jimmy Fund Clinic, The House is responsible for raising 100% of its annual operating budget each year, which is currently about $900,000.

The House will continue to build on its strong track record of keeping focused on our mission, growing our program as the needs of families change, being fiscally responsible by ensuring that a high percentage of funds raised are spent on services for families, and enhancing our overall fundraising efforts.

For 40 years, The Boston House: Hope and Healing for Children with Cancer has aimed to meet the evolving needs of families of children with cancer needs, offering supportive living accommodations for families whose children are treated for cancer and other life-threatening hematological diseases at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic (DFCI) and Boston Children’s Hospital, currently a combined Center, known as the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
The Boston House, which opened its doors in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1979, was the dream of the Friends of the Jimmy Fund, a group of parents whose children were treated for cancer at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and DFCI's Jimmy Fund Clinic. With the support of hundreds (if not thousands) of generous people, companies, and foundations, this dream became reality.
When the House opened in 1979, we could only accommodate 10 families each night. Over the years, the House grew to keep pace with the latest in medical treatment. In 1985, the House built six Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Recovery apartments—the first units of their kind in the country—to accommodate families with children recovering from this life-saving, yet fragile procedure. In 1993 we expanded again, adding more studio apartments that offer families the protection their children need to recuperate in a “home-away-from-home,” complete with their own kitchen, bathroom, living room, and sleeping area. As a result of our expansion, we are now able to serve 22 families a night, 365 days a year.
Despite our “success,” we also face a number of challenges as a result of families' evolving needs. Many of our families are low-income. Others find themselves suddenly faced with financial burdens as a result of their child’s illness. In addition to medical expenses, there are formidable out-of-pocket expenses, including travel, meals, and child care for siblings. Many parents must also take extended leaves of absences from work in order to be by their child’s side.
In fact, in 2014 a study was published about possible economic hardships in families of children with cancer. The authors’ conclusion was that the economic impact of pediatric cancer on families is significant at all income levels. Currently, we are aiming to help with more than housing. One foundation is now funding a taxi voucher program, so the burden of hospital parking is lifted. A civic organization recently adopted our pantry program, so more food is available for families feeling a financial pinch.
We will continue to focus on our mission and adapt to the needs of families and the requests of our hospital partners.

Financials

The Boston House: Hope and Healing for Children with Cancer
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Operations

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

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The Boston House: Hope and Healing for Children with Cancer

Board of directors
as of 04/23/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

David Mack