Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.

aka LARS   |   Laurel, MD   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.

EIN: 52-1537336


The mission of Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc. (LARS) is to empower individuals in need of food, housing, and financial assistance to achieve well-being, stability, and self-sufficiency. Our service area includes parts of Prince George's, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties, with more than 80% of clients residing in Prince George’s. Staffed by certified case managers, social workers, and nonprofit professionals, LARS achieves its mission through three programs: Emergency Services (ES), Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), and the LARS Self-Sufficiency Program (SSP). Together these programs empower individuals and families to address immediate needs to stabilize their households when they are in crisis and then to plan and work toward long-term economic mobility.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Shannon Mouton , MA

Main address

311 Laurel Ave

Laurel, MD 20707 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Community service

Public housing

Basic and emergency aid

Temporary accomodations

Homeless services

Population served info



Homeless people

Low-income people

NTEE code info

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Public Housing (L21)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

An estimated 9.2% of Laurel's 25,906 residents live below the poverty line, and many who live above it are barely breaking even. According to United Way's ALICE Report, a single parent with two children in Prince George's County would need to earn an hourly wage of $31.90 ($66,352 annually) in order to meet their family's basic needs. This number is more than three times the current federal poverty level of $20,160 for a single parent/two-child household. With Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom home in Prince George's County sitting well above $1,700, residents are struggling to keep up with rising costs of living and must turn to social service organizations for help. During FY2018, 10% of LARS' clients reported that they were homeless. Roughly 95% of households served were living below the federal poverty level. Approximately 60% of households who receive services at LARS earn less than $2,000 a month in gross income, and another 22% do not earn any income.

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?

Emergency Services

LARS’ Crisis Center provides support for Laurel residents facing crisis due to illness, injury, loss of a loved one, loss of employment, or other hardships. Emergency services include: a food pantry, eviction prevention/rental assistance, utility assistance, clothing and furniture vouchers, referrals for mental health and substance abuse treatment, help with prescriptions including eyeglasses and eye exams, holiday and back to school programs, and financial assistance to obtain birth certificates and IDs. LARS case managers meet with clients on a walk-in basis three days a week. Representatives from other organizations such as the Prince George's County Department of Social Services, are regularly on-site to assist clients with applications for federal/state benefit programs.

Population(s) Served

LARS' Permanent Supportive Housing Program provides subsidized housing and supportive services to 23 chronically homeless, disabled individuals and families. LARS case managers conduct weekly home visits with all participants, who reside in apartments leased by LARS throughout the Laurel community. Participants live independently with support as needed from LARS, including life skills classes, individual savings accounts, and assistance with obtaining treatment for substance abuse, health or mental health problems. This program is not time-limited, so residents can remain in their housing as long as they desire. LARS works closely with the Prince George's County Department of Social Services to prioritize placement of homeless individuals/families into our program according to their level of vulnerability.

Population(s) Served

In January of 2017, LARS began the pilot phase of the Self-Sufficiency Program, through which a small group of stabilized and motivated participants will work closely with a LARS case manager on a longer-term basis (18 to 24 months) to maintain permanent housing, improve financial habits, gain employment, and remove other barriers to self-sufficiency. The evidence-based program uses a highly successful "Mobility Mentoring" framework designed by EMPath (formerly known as Crittenton Women's Union) of Boston, MA. Mobility Mentoring-inspired programs are described by EMPath as "metric-based, mentor-led, incentivized programs that lead families across the economic divide." The primary focus of Mobility Mentoring is coaching the participant in personal problem-solving, skill-building, and persistence to attain the long-term goals that support economic independence. The mentor's role is to help participants carve enough time out of their days to begin to take the steps necessary to change their lives.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

United Way Member Agency

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Average number of service recipients per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Number of homeless participants engaged in housing services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Permanent Supportive Housing

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of people within the organization's service area accessing food aid

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


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.

LARS’ current strategic plan for FY2021 is designed around three overarching goals: 1) to increase the amount of people served in the Emergency Services and Self-Sufficiency Programs; 2) to enhance our clients’ experiences; and 3) to increase the availability and quality of services for people in Laurel to secure living wage jobs and affordable housing.

Our strategies to achieve these goals in the short-term include:

1) Identifying best practices in crisis intervention and expanding partnerships within our community to expertly guide clients in securing stable housing, employment, and supportive services.

2) Increasing referrals to outside agencies providing credit counseling and other tools for financial independence; encouraging eligible LARS' Crisis Center clients to participate in LARS' Self-Sufficiency Program.

3) Actively participating in our county's collaborative efforts to end homelessness; raising awareness for the issues our clients face by engaging our community in educational and volunteer events.

4) Improving LARS' methods of data collection and analysis to better evaluate program efficacy and communicate LARS' impact to stakeholders. This will include implementation of an electronic client database and streamlining of the client intake and assessment process.

In addition to our varied experiences working with vulnerable populations, one of our biggest strengths as a staff is our connectedness with other organizations and service providers across the three counties represented in Laurel. LARS staff members continually research and maintain updated information on community resources so that well-informed referrals can be made for clients in need of additional services, particularly in the areas of financial literacy, education and training, mental health, and housing.

LARS receives steady grant funding from the county, state, and federal government, which accounts for over 50% of our annual budget. Some of the government grants have been in place for over 15 years, and have become a solid source of financial support for LARS' programs. Our relationship with the 21st District Delegation was instrumental in helping us secure a bond bill for building construction in 2010. We maintain close contact with our state delegates and senator, as well as our Prince George's County Council representative, and frequently reach out to them for help resolving challenging client issues. Our network of local congregations is another reliable resource for LARS. Over 20 congregations help us stretch our resources by supplying regular volunteers and donating food, dollars for client assistance, church shelter space, and more.

LARS has grown from a small, volunteer-run community group to a trusted fixture in the Laurel community. In 2010, ten years after purchasing a property of our own, we were able to secure a CDBG construction grant, and bond bill from the State of Maryland for a complete renovation of our building. Our building now easily accommodates the 40-60+ clients who seek our help each day and houses the city's largest food pantry. In February of 2018, LARS completed a transition from paper-based records and Excel spreadsheets to an electronic client database. LARS’ case managers now have the ability to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of our services and make changes that are informed directly by client outcomes and feedback.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time


Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 6.52 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 4.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 14% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $63,206 $180,417 $338,874 -$200,594 -$449,746
As % of expenses 4.9% 14.8% 19.9% -10.0% -14.2%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $35,111 $154,208 $310,472 -$228,745 -$481,369
As % of expenses 2.6% 12.4% 17.9% -11.3% -15.0%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,365,954 $1,410,221 $2,061,940 $1,816,313 $2,607,249
Total revenue, % change over prior year 3.7% 3.2% 46.2% -11.9% 43.5%
Program services revenue 49.3% 43.4% 36.7% 54.6% 24.2%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.4% 0.5% 0.2% 0.1% 0.2%
Government grants 8.2% 9.4% 19.3% 2.0% 71.4%
All other grants and contributions 42.0% 46.5% 43.7% 43.2% 4.2%
Other revenue 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $1,296,928 $1,217,366 $1,704,979 $1,998,280 $3,176,992
Total expenses, % change over prior year 5.3% -6.1% 40.1% 17.2% 59.0%
Personnel 37.9% 35.7% 35.3% 34.0% 38.2%
Professional fees 2.6% 3.7% 4.4% 4.4% 4.0%
Occupancy 1.3% 1.5% 0.8% 1.2% 1.4%
Interest 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 51.6% 53.8% 55.4% 54.5% 4.3%
All other expenses 6.5% 5.2% 4.1% 5.9% 52.0%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $1,325,023 $1,243,575 $1,733,381 $2,026,431 $3,208,615
One month of savings $108,077 $101,447 $142,082 $166,523 $264,749
Debt principal payment $17,303 $0 $89,686 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $1,450,403 $1,345,022 $1,965,149 $2,192,954 $3,473,364

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 5.1 8.1 7.0 4.6 1.3
Months of cash and investments 5.1 8.1 7.0 4.6 1.3
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 6.1 8.9 8.1 5.6 2.4
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $546,227 $821,878 $999,672 $769,511 $331,264
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $114,217 $54,352 $178,080 $247,006 $215,607
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $763,145 $773,300 $782,422 $754,993 $755,052
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 36.8% 39.7% 42.9% 43.8% 48.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 4.8% 7.5% 4.1% 4.8% 27.0%
Unrestricted net assets $1,128,337 $1,282,545 $1,593,017 $1,364,272 $882,903
Temporarily restricted net assets $6,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $6,500 $21,156 $41,373 $60,000 $0
Total net assets $1,134,837 $1,303,701 $1,634,390 $1,424,272 $882,903

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Shannon Mouton , MA

​Since becoming a missionary at her church over 30 years ago, Shannon Mouton has continued to serve, in and out of season. She has given of her time and talents at various organizations throughout the DMV–Whitman-Walker Institute (formerly, Whitman-Walker Clinic), Food & Friends, Calvary Women’s Services, the Potter’s House–and gone on two medical mission trips to Kingston, Jamaica. Shannon has served on numerous non-profit boards, including Calvary Women’s Services, the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, the IN Series and The George Washington Alumni Association. She was the founder of the Dr. Virginia M. Manning Missionary Society (Jerusalem AME Church, Clinton) and is currently a member of the Alice Marie Chapman Women’s Missionary Society (Ebenezer AME Church, Ft. Washington). Shannon is a graduate of Mount Vernon College, now part of The George Washington University, and she is humbled to serve as the Executive Director of Laurel Advocacy & Referral Services.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 03/15/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Kevin Glasper, Sr., PhD

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Lawrence Krieger

Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic Church

Dorothy Brownlie

Laurel Presbyterian Church

Kellian Tonetti

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Deborah Harris

James Hill

American Federation of Teachers

Jeannette Robertson


Bruce Sartwell

Sherri Dotson

American Chemical Society

Maria Matiella

Akeembra Lawrence

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 3/15/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/22/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • 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
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • 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.