The Lionheart Foundation

Changing Lives, Building Futures

aka LIONHEART FOUNDATION   |   Boston, MA   |


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. At the core of everything we do is the belief that all human life has value, inherent worth, dignity, and resiliency. Complex trauma, such as abuse, neglect, interpersonal violence, structural racism/oppression, and challenging family patterns can disrupt the formation of a sense of self and a belief that one’s life has value. Through teaching social and emotional skills, we help system-impacted adults and youth (re)discover their intrinsic worth, build the capacity for self-regulation, and develop the tools needed to build peaceful and productive lives.

Notes from the nonprofit

NEW. Tablets – potential expansion and HOH LMS Development Lionheart is exploring hosting possibilities for the Houses of Healing Learning Management System on the Edovo and APDS tablet platforms in jails and prisons nationwide. We are building out the LMS with the recently hired Development Without Limits (DWL) organization. Lionheart has entered into a 6 month “Guide-by-the-Side” contract in which DWL will help Dr. Jess Linick and Dr. Beth Casarjian curate the HOH material already produced and create additional content to fill out the LMS. DWL will guide us in best practices and how to best/authentically engage learners in this medium.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Robin Casarjian

Main address

P.O. Box 170115

Boston, MA 02117 USA

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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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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?

EQ2: Lionheart's Program for Direct Care Staff

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 in order for them to build self-regulation skills and competencies needed to create reparative relationships with youth and with fellow staff.
EQ2 supports staff 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 between staff 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 turnover

Population(s) Served

Lionheart’s Youth Project helps troubled youth gain the tools and skills to create positive futures with two youth programs - Power Source and Power Source Parenting.

Power Source is a practical, accessible, and innovative program, empowering young people to break cycles of violence, addiction, and negative risk-taking through mindfulness practices and research-driven approaches to behavior change. It is utilized by youth workers, mental health professionals and teachers at juvenile detention centers, probation and parole departments, residential treatment centers, transitional group homes, private and public school systems, and community programs.

Power Source Parenting gives teen parents the skills they need to become effective and nurturing caregivers. The program 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.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Adolescent parents
At-risk youth

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.
The newly released Making Time Count, a self-study workbook, significantly increases the number of people with access to this life-changing program, including individuals in solitary confinement.
It is used by prison staff including psychologists, mental health and substance abuse counselors, educators and chaplains, volunteers as well as prisoners themselves.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


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

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

U.S. prisoners can receive a FREE copy of Houses of Healing, the centerpiece of our prison project, to be guided through the social emotional literacy program as a self study or prison programming .

Number of website pageviews

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

At-risk youth, Incarcerated people, Substance abusers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


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 (, 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. is the Founder and Director of the Lionheart Foundation and its National Emotional Literacy Projects. She is an educator, public speaker, writer, and consultant. In developing and implementing programming for prisoners and youth-at-risk, she draws from her experience as director of a school for at-risk adolescents, as well as extensive experience in education, stress management training, psychotherapy and administration.

Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D. (Columbia University) is the Clinical Director of The National Emotional Literacy Project for Youth-at-Risk. From 1994 to 2004 she worked with at-risk youth in the New York City area. She has served as Clinical Director of The Heritage School in East Harlem and as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. Dr. Casarjian has worked at various agencies with adolescents involved with the juvenile justice system.

Jessica Linick, PhD, SEP, (Columbia University) is the Director of Youth Services for the Lionheart Foundation. Prior to joining Lionheart, she was the Senior Psychologist with the Bellevue/NYU Juvenile Justice Mental Health Service and a Clinical Assistant Professor with NYU School of Medicine, working to expand trauma-informed care within the NYC secure and non-secure juvenile detention sites. She is an author, consultant, trainer, speaker, and teacher, presenting nationally and internationally on topics related to Trauma Informed Care, criminal justice reform, and the use of mindfulness as an intervention within residential and forensic settings.

Amanda Casarjian, Director of Partnerships at the Lionheart Foundation, leads the expansion of access across the country to Lionheart’s transformative social and emotional, trauma informed, programs. During a 10 year engagement with the Chicago Public Schools, Amanda served as a strategic planner and supported the district in creating more equitable access to high quality educational options and played a leadership role in the establishment of the districts first Multi Tiered Systems of Support framework, which integrates social emotional learning as a core component education. This work drove Amanda’s passion for social emotional learning and she spent a year with the Boston Public Schools directing an SEL initiative.

Judith Perry, Lionheart’s Chief Operating Officer, holds a M.S. in Management and Policy from The New School for Social Research, NY, 1997. For the past tweny three years, Judith has worked in the nonprofit sector primarily in research and fundraising. At Lionheart she provides financial oversight, develops budgets, and supports development and marketing activities, to support the prisoner and youth-at-risk initiatives.

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 (The Power Source Program) and incarcerated adults (The Houses of Healing Program) 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. The Power Source Parenting Program 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 Making Time Count programming for adults including programming designed for prisoners in solitary confinement. TLF has developed 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 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 2021. 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.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Prisoners, Youth at Risk, Teen Parents and those who serve these populations.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Research ,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Lionheart's newest program is EQ2. an interactive training and support program for direct care staff working with youth, fills a critical gap in building trauma-informed communities. EQ2 is uniquely designed to help staff build the essential and often complex social and emotional regulation skills required to actively manage how they respond to youths’ traumatic stress reactions and challenging behavior. Lionheart's Clinical Director, Bethany Casarjian, has offered pilot programs in facilities across Massachusetts while collecting feedback from participants critical to informing the development and continued use of the EQ2 program.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    The Lionheart Foundation welcomes feedback from the people we serve, our staff and board, and our funders to guide improvements for our target populations and those who otherwise support our efforts. By actively listening, We support and work in cooperation with our community partners who offer programs to prisoners, youth at risk and at risk teen parents. guides improvement

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


The Lionheart Foundation

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

The Lionheart Foundation

Board of directors
as of 07/11/2022
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

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 4/27/2022

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


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