The Lionheart Foundation

Changing Lives, Building Futures

aka LIONHEART FOUNDATION   |   Boston, MA   |  www.lionheart.org

Mission

The Mission of the Lionheart Foundation is to increase the social and emotional competency and well-being of youth at risk and incarcerated adults significantly enough to alter their life course. The Vision of the Lionheart Foundation is a safer, more evolved society where at-risk individuals are empowered to live up to their potential and contribute to the greater good.

Notes from the nonprofit

Fall 2018: Lionheart recently started working with SOAR Management Consulting Group which provides pro bono strategic planning for selected non-profits. Together we are working on a strategic plan. SOAR’s support could not have come at a better time. Our initial focus will be strategic hires as an expanded staff is now essential for moving the work forward. This work is expected to be completed Spring 2019.

Ruling year info

1992

Executive Director

Ms. Robin Casarjian

Main address

P.O. Box 170115

Boston, MA 02117 USA

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EIN

04-3140337

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Rehabilitation Services for Offenders (I40)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Currently 1 out of every 100 adults in the U.S. is behind bars. Of these, 94% will be released back into society. It is critical for the health of these individuals, their families and our communities that they be given the tools to heal and live productive lives. Lionheart’s prisoner education program empowers prisoners to take charge of their lives, transform their futures and end the cycle of recidivism. Millions of youth are at serious risk of involvement in the criminal justice system. It is important that programming for these youth be innovative, relevant and effective. Lionheart’s youth program empowers adolescents to step out of cycles of negative risk-taking and build the social and emotional skills essential to cultivating resilience and creating a positive future. Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities supporting youth to build the social, emotional, and self-regulation skills needed to lead healthy and productive lives.

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?

The National Emotional Literacy Project for Youth at Risk

The nationwide success of Lionheart's National Emotional Literacy Project for Prisoners led to The National Emotional Literacy Project for Youth at-Risk.   Lionheart helps troubled youth gain the tools and skills to create positive futures with two youth programs - Power Source and Power Source Parenting.  .  Building upon its successful program for prisoners, Lionheart launched its youth project with the publication of Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life.  Power Source, a practical, accessible, and innovative book and program, empowers young people to break cycles of violence, addiction, and negative risk-taking.  Through mindfulness practices, research-driven approaches to changing behavior, and by instilling a profound sense of hopefulness, the Power Source program helps high-risk adolescents dramatically change the course of their lives.  Power Source is utilized by youth workers, mental health professionals and teachers and distributed to more than 3,500 organizations nationwide, including juvenile detention centers, probation and parole departments, residential treatment centers, transitional group homes, private and public school systems, and community programs. Every minute in the U.S. a child is born to a teen parent, most of whom lack the emotional literacy skills needed to raise emotionally healthy children.  The newest component of Lionheart's youth initiative, Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids, gives these teen parents the skills they need to become effective and nurturing caregivers.  Power Source Parenting provides an opportunity to create new family patterns of positive parenting, impacting not only the lives of thousands of teen parents but also their children and future generations.  Among the topics that Power Source Parenting addresses are: creating a healthy attachment to one's child; managing the stress of parenting; teaching positive discipline; reducing domestic violence and building healthy relationships with partners; and promoting the delay of future child bearing.  Since its publication in 2008, nearly 20,000 copies of Power Source Parenting have been distributed free to hospitals, home visiting nurse programs, residential homes and shelters, community-based parenting programs, and high schools serving teen parents.  Additionally, large child welfare agencies and court-ordered parenting programs have begun implementing the program.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Adolescents

The National Emotional Literacy Project for Prisoners (The Houses of Healing Program) has transformed programming in hundreds of prisons throughout the United States. For more than 25 years, Lionheart has helped prisoners recognize the emotional forces propelling their criminal activity, while helping them take responsibility for the damage their choices have caused. By means of the curriculum, Houses of Healing: A Prisoners Guide to Inner Power and Freedom, thousands of prisoners in all 50 states have been given practical and powerful tools to take charge of their lives and transform their futures. As a result, the costs to society have been greatly reduced. Thousands of Houses of Healing books have been distributed free to prison libraries, prison programs and individual prisoners nationwide. It combines essential tools for change with a keen awareness of the challenges facing incarcerated men and women. Over 180,000 copies of Houses of Healing have been distributed to hundreds of state and federal prisons and county jails throughout the U.S. It is used by prison staff including psychologists, mental health and substance abuse counselors, educators and chaplains, as well as by volunteers.
Used in conjunction with the book Houses of Healing, the newly released Making Time Count self-study workbook leads participants through the nationally recognized Houses of Healing program using clear, easy-to-follow instructions, exercises, and activities. The restricted movement in prisons and jails caused by the COVID pandemic has increased the need for high-quality programming that can take place regardless of individuals’ mobility. The Making Time Count self-study workbook provides access to proven and effective programming to anyone with a modest reading level, a pen, and a willingness to engage in powerful rehabilitation programming.

Until recently, The Houses of Healing program was largely delivered through groups using the Houses of Healing Facilitator Manual, conducted by staff, volunteers, and in some cases, incarcerated individuals. The new Making Time Count self-study workbook significantly increases the number of people with access to this life-changing program, allowing individuals with restricted movement to receive the same high-impact programming without relying on the presence of Houses of Healing groups.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people

For over 25 years, The Lionheart Foundation has developed evidence-based social and emotional learning programs for some of our country’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.
Our newest program, EQ2, reflects what we’ve learned from decades of research and clinical work: in order to effectively help youth heal, we need to support the people who care for them.
EQ2 has been uniquely designed to build a trauma-informed community by addressing the social and emotional needs of direct care staff. EQ2 empowers staff to learn and practice the self-regulation skills and competencies needed to create reparative relationships with youth and with fellow staff.

The time youth spend in our care offers a window of opportunity to help build the social, emotional, and self-regulation skills needed to lead healthy and productive lives. Together, these skills create what we call Emotional Intelligence or EQ. (It’s like IQ. But instead of referring to your cognitive intelligence, EQ refers to your ability to understand and manage emotions.) These EQ skills don’t develop in a vacuum. They are cultivated through relationships with invested and consistent caregivers. For youth, EQ skills such as developing the capacity for trust, managing strong emotions, increasing impulse control, and learning responsible decision making, take place through the transformative relationships created with us. Each caring contact with youth, each genuine interaction, becomes an opportunity to learn and heal. That’s why the fundamental belief of EQ2 is that what is hurt through relationships can be healed through relationships. EQ2 refers to the healing experience that happens when we bring our own EQ to help youth build their EQ.

EQ2 = Staff EQ + Youth EQ

Using Circles, mindfulness-based practices, and cognitive-behavioral approaches, EQ2 supports staff working with trauma-impacted youth to:

Increase their own self-regulation skills to more effectively co-regulate with youth
Model and transmit effective social and emotional skills to youth
Build more attuned and reparative relationships with youth
Manage the stress and conflict that often arises between staff when working with high-need populations to build a trauma-sensitive environment
Increase staff understanding of trauma’s impact on youth’s behavior and development
Develop resiliency practices that help reduce burnout, secondary-traumatic stress, and turnovers

Population(s) Served
Teachers

Where we work

Awards

Humanitarian Award 2009

Boston Theological Institute

Paul H. Chapman Award for Improvement of Justice 2008

Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc.

Distinguished Service Award 1996

Interfaith Counseling Services, Inc.

Dr. Bethany Casarjian 2015

Women of Excellence Award

Robin Casarjian 2015

The Naom Chomsky Award

Affiliations & memberships

MA Dept. of Children & Families (DCF) 2018

CA Dept of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) 2018

New York University College of Nursing 2013

American Prison Data Systems 2018

Edovo (Chicago) 2018

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Free distribution of Houses of Healing book, used in groups, one on one counseling, and as a self-help resource, to prisoners nationwide upon request. All prisoner requests for book are fulfilled.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Incarcerated people

Related Program

The National Emotional Literacy Project for Prisoners

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

U.S. prisoners can write to the Lionheart Foundation to receive a FREE copy of Houses of Healing, the centerpiece of our prison project, to be guided through the social emotional literacy program.

Number of website pageviews

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Incarcerated people, Substance abusers

Related Program

The National Emotional Literacy Project for Prisoners

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Google Analytic/pageview results for 2015 are unavailable due to a systems problem with Google Adwords/Analytics at that time and deletion of results.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

TLF is dedicated to improving the lives of incarcerated adults, highly at-risk youth and their children nationwide by creating and providing exceptional resources in emotional literacy development.

Houses of Healing (prison program) empowers prisoners to take charge of their lives, transform their futures and end the cycle of recidivism.

Power Source (youth program) enhances the emotional health of youth, therefore affecting their behavior helping them gain the necessary skills set to enhance their relationships, their academic success, their employability, and their role in the community.
Power Source Parenting (teen parent program) addresses critical issues inherent in at-risk teen parenting to modify intergenerational cycles of violence, abuse and neglect, promotes and develops positive parenting skills, improves the quality of parent-child interactions, and helps to support a new generation of children. Lionheart engages in research to establish all programs as evidence-based.

EQ2: Empowering Direct Care Staff to Build Trauma-Informed Communities for Youth. The time youth spend in our care offers a window of opportunity to help build the social, emotional, and self-regulation skills needed to lead healthy and productive lives. Together, these skills create what we call Emotional Intelligence or EQ. (It’s like IQ. But instead of referring to your cognitive intelligence, EQ refers to your ability to understand and manage emotions.) These EQ skills don’t develop in a vacuum. They are cultivated through relationships with invested and consistent caregivers. For youth, EQ skills such as developing the capacity for trust, managing strong emotions, increasing impulse control, and learning responsible decision making, take place through the transformative relationships created with us. Each caring contact with youth, each genuine interaction, becomes an opportunity to learn and heal. That’s why the fundamental belief of EQ2 is that what is hurt through relationships can be healed through relationships. EQ2 refers to the healing experience that happens when we bring our own EQ to help youth build their EQ. EQ2 = Staff EQ + Youth EQ

TLF: *Creates exceptional quality curricula resources and programs and provides direct emotional literacy education programs to our target populations through staff and volunteers.*Provides resources and training for professionals who work with our target populations. *Identifies a vast array of programs and institutions and effectively delivers our resources to those they are intended to serve.*Assures exposure to our resources through free nationwide distribution effort. *Promotes our resources and programs through The Lionheart Website (www.lionheart.org), Online Marketing and Social Media Channels and News Letters. *Conducts research on the efficacy of our programs to meet the demand for evidence-based materials. *And, conducts public education on the need for transforming our nation's prisons and juvenile institutions into places where inspiring positive values and teaching skills necessary for healthy functioning in our communities are primary goals.

For 25 years, the Lionheart Foundation has brought transformative programming to at-risk populations nationwide. Our core staff has been together over many years giving strength and stability to our organizations as we accomplish our goals both efficiently and effectively. Robin Casarjian, M.A. Founder and Director of the Lionheart Foundation, is an educator, public speaker, writer, and consultant. In developing and implementing programming for prisoners and youth-at-risk, she draws from her experience in at risk adolescent education, stress management training, and psychotherapy. Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D. Clinical Director, worked with at-risk youth in the New York City area from 1994 to 2004 and at various agencies with adolescents involved with the juvenile justice system. Judith Perry, COO, has worked in the nonprofit sector for the past sixteen years. TLF delivers direct service, develops new programs for prisoners and youth while conducting research funded by NIH and others.

TLF positively impacts the lives of tens of thousands of at-risk youth and prisoners across the country and changed the nature of programming in some of the nation's most violent institutions. TLF helps highly youth at-risk and incarcerated adults change their life course by effectively managing the emotions that drive their destructive behaviors, understanding how their actions impact others, and moving forward with greater maturity and insight. Power Source Parenting gives teen parents the skills they need to become effective and nurturing caregivers. Lionheart continues to create new resources for youth including The Power Source Workbook which functions as a stand-alone, social-emotional course for youth in institutions, community programs and schools; and programming for adults including programming designed for prisoners in solitary confinement. TLF is developing the EQ2 program for front-line staff who work with at risk young people. EQ2 uses a trauma-informed approach to help direct care staff best meet the social and emotional needs of the youth they serve.

ALL Lionheart programs are invested in research. Our youth program, Power Source, has achieved evidence-based status. A most recent result is that Lionheart’s program for youth at-risk, POWER SOURCE is now on CrimeSolutions.gov an evidence-based repository of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that serves as a clearinghouse of information about what works and what is promising in justice programs and practices. Power Source is also included in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Program Guide.

Houses of Healing research published in the American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 2005, and the American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 2006, revealed significant statistical evidence that the Houses of Healing Program produces many of the results hoped for among prisoners, including decreases in hostility, depression and alexithymia (an inability to understand a. In 2016, Lionheart was awarded an “Innovative Grant” from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to design and bring the Houses of Healing Self-Study Course to prisoners in the CA Special Housing Units (solitary confinement). (During the grant period (1/2016-6/2017), 464 prisoners voluntarily registered and participated in The Houses of Healing Self-study Course for Prisoners in the SHU. Course evaluations from 160 participants showed significant positive change and progress. This work continues into 2019 with more than 100 prisoners actively participating. Research on the solitary project is being prepared for publication. Lionheart has also been awarded numerous other contracts with the CDCR that supply additional HOH programs to prisoners in the California prison system. HOUSES OF HEALING is being utilized in prison systems across the country...and abroad.

Financials

The Lionheart Foundation
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Operations

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

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The Lionheart Foundation

Board of directors
as of 4/20/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Eileen Moran

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Term: 2020 - 2024

Eileen Moran

Director, Corporate Relations, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Joan Borysenko

Founding Partner and Director, Mind Body Health Sciences

Kathleen Dennehy

Consultant to prison systems nationally

Krista Toms

Community Member

True-See Allah

Director of Reentry for Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

Tim Uygungl

Software Product Manager, HubSpot

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? No
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/16/2020

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
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.