Human Services

Dignity Matters Inc

aka Dignity Matters

Wayland, MA

Mission

Dignity Matters collects, purchases and supplies feminine hygiene products, bras, and underwear to homeless women and girls, enabling them to stay healthy, regain self- confidence, and live with basic dignity. Dignity Matters also improves school attendance by providing period protection to school-aged girls in need, right within their schools.

Ruling Year

2017

Founder and Executive Director

Mrs. Kate Sanetra-Butler

Main Address

Dignity Matters, Inc. PO Box 72

Wayland, MA 01778 USA

Keywords

homeless, dignity, nonprofit, period, poverty

EIN

81-4572839

 Number

0217703610

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Dignity Matters was created in 2016 to address the lack of access to essential feminine hygiene items and underwear among homeless women and girls in Massachusetts. The need for free feminine hygiene products at shelters and schools is overlooked, so Dignity Matters' mission is focused on providing women and girls with these necessities which they must have to successfully function in a modern society Dignity Matters strives to provide period protection to all Massachussetts women who need them to immediately restore their dignity, and to remove some of the monthly reoccurring barriers these women have that prevent them from continuing education or work, looking after their families and achieving their goals. We do this as the best available research, data, our experience and observations at shelters as well as common sense points to the fact that lack of access to free period protection amongst women who can’t afford it is harmful to menstrual health and dignity of women.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Dignity at Schools

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

In the short term, we strive to provide free tampons, sanitary napkins and underwear to those women and girls who cannot afford or readily access them. Addressing women’s most basic needs is central to improving the quality of their life, which in turn improves the lives of their family and all those around them. Through our current programs at shelters, public schools, food pantries and medical centers for homeless population, Dignity Matters support 2100 women EVERY MONTH with full period protection, as well as required underwear. Our long term vision is a world where basic feminine hygiene products are available in all public bathrooms, free of charge, just like toilet paper is (and, incidentally, for similar health and cleanliness reasons). Accomplishing this, ideally though legislative changes, would bring us a big step closer to achieving true equality, which is imperative for a fair and sustainable world where everyone can thrive.

After two years of operations Dignity Matters grew from a small grass-roots organization to the largest reliable provider of period protection and underwear for homeless women in Massachusetts. Currently, to scale up, Dignity Matters is going through a strategic shift from predominantly in-kind donations, to a more scalable product purchasing strategy. This higher efficiency model of increased purchases of products directly from a low-cost volume manufacturer will quickly enable us to increase scale of operation by directly delivering the right specification product, straight to the women in most need, with more controlled delivery timing and product batch quantities exactly matching the needs of the shelters, schools, food pantries we support on monthly basis. We have negotiated extremely low built-to-spec product supply costs and we plan to pursue our strategic shift over the next 3 years to reach over 8000 women monthly in 2021 instead of 2100 women we currently serve.

Dignity Matters is managed by a strong Board of Directors and Advisory Board (8 Directors together) who work closely together on governance, vision, relationships, advice and funding. Our staffing consists of the Executive Director, Grant Writer and we plan to employ a Development Director in 2019. The majority of our operations is run by our group of 200 volunteers, including; 15 chapter and co-chapter leaders, 1 distribution manager, 10 regular location liaisons, 3 program managers and 2 volunteer coordinators. Through the 15 chapter leaders, we run over 350 drives twice a year resulting in almost 400,000 items collected annualy. We are building our fundraising capacity which already resulted in almost tripling our revenue in 2018 (versus 2017). We also invested in needed systems (client relationship management system, professional inventory systems etc) and rented a warehouse needed to house all the donations.

Dignity Matters measures success monthly and quorterly in a number of ways, including: 1. The number of in-kind donations collected and distributed throughout the year to women in-need in Massachusetts 2. Value of monetary donations 2. The number of homeless women/girls served on a regular, monthly basis 2. Growth in the number of partnerships with shelters, food pantries, schools and social service agencies 3. Geographic diversification of our partners (which also allows a diversification of women served) 4. Extension of our programming in regards to types of places served (an extension from shelters to schools, then after-school programs, then domestic violence centers, then food

In short two years Dignity Matters developed 5 solid programs through which we serve on monthly basis 2100 homeless women and girls at: 1) homeless shelters 2) public schools 3) food pantires 4) medical clinics Dignity Matters also organizes bra and underwear fittings (Dignity Beneath the Blouse Program) through which we serve women at shelters in Boston, Cambridge and Metro=West. 24 'bra fitting" have been organized in 2017 alone with some of the events large enough to fit 150 homeless women with bras in one day. Dignity Matters moved from serving women in Metro-West only to Boston, cambridge and Merrimack Valley. Dignity Matters moved from serving apron 40 parents (nonprofits including shelters, schools and domestic violence programs) to serving 81 parents as of October 2018. Dignity Matters employed its first two part time employees in 2018 and secured a below-market rate for a sizable warehouse in Framingham which allows us to run our volunteering operations.

External Reviews

Financials

Dignity Matters Inc

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Operations

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

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  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2017
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?

No

ETHICS & 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

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/10/2020

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender Identity
Female
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.

Equity Strategies

Last updated: 01/10/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data

done
We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
done
We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.

Policies and processes

done
We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
done
We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
done
We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
done
We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.