Creating a just food system, together

aka REC   |   Worcester, MA   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 04-6364350


REC's mission is to build healthy, sustainable, and just communities in Worcester, MA and beyond.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Steven Fischer

Main address

P.O. Box 255

Worcester, MA 01613 USA

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Subject area info



Community improvement

Population served info

Children and youth


Economically disadvantaged people

At-risk youth

NTEE code info

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Agricultural Programs (K20)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We begin with the principle that access to healthy food is a universal human right. In Worcester’s 14 lowest-income census tracts where REC focuses its work, 1 child in 3 lives in a family unable to meet its basic needs for food, and 27% of mothers surveyed stated there were days in the last month when family members went without food (Rachel’s Table, 2018). We are driven to increase the accessibility and affordability of healthy food and to create a more equitable, sustainable food system.

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?


YouthGROW is an urban agriculture-focused youth development and employment program for low-income teens. YouthGROW (Youth Growing Organics in Worcester) employs 32-40 low income high school teens (age 14-18) year-round who gain leadership and jobs skills as they maintain two urban organic farms. YouthGROWers complete a curriculum focused on Professional Development, Leadership Skills, Urban Agriculture, and Social Justice (PLUS,) through participation in the 8-week summer session, monthly workshops, internships, and community service.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

By placing our Community Farmers Markets and Mobile Farmers Market stops in the most food-insecure neighborhoods in Worcester, we commit to creating access to healthy, affordable and local food to the families and individuals who need it most.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Urban Garden Resources of Worcester, better known as UGROW, is a grassroots, city-wide community gardens network. UGROW is founded on the belief that together we can help create community food security by growing food in our own neighborhoods. UGROW poses an alternative to fossil-fueled, corporate agriculture and strengthens and beautifies our neighborhoods through promoting and supporting urban gardening. UGROW began in 1995 with 1 garden and 1 volunteer gardener with a vision to grow food in the city. Since that time, the network has grown to include over 60 community gardens throughout the city of Worcester involving more than 500 volunteer gardeners. Network gardens include neighborhood based gardens, school gardens and urban farms.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

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.

The REC works to address the problems of food insecurity, hunger, and obesity, through 3 mutually supportive food justice initiatives—community farmers’ markets serving low-income neighborhoods—including a mobile market, community and school gardens that enliven urban neighborhoods with intergenerational activity and green space, and a youth employment and development program on 2 urban farms. Our programs address the major obstacles to healthy food access in low-income, food-insecure neighborhoods: price, proximity, education, and empowerment. This comprehensive approach is unique in Worcester. The REC’s initiatives focus on creating tools and opportunities for community members to grow healthy food for themselves, their families and communities, to purchase affordable healthy food grown locally, and to develop the next generation of food justice leaders.

We manage farmers’ markets and mobile markets to improve healthy food access. We promote subsidies like SNAP/EBT purchases at our markets via the MA Healthy Incentives Program. We work to facilitate relationships between farmers and institutions to increase healthy food access. We also work to improve healthy food education via our community & school gardens. Finally we are working to improve access to culturally-relevant produce through community gardens and farmers’ markets. We provide opportunities for positive youth development and employment through urban farming programming.

We have recently increased our organizational capacity to grow our fund development efforts. In 2016, we were granted 3 full-time AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer members tasked with helping us develop and improve systems for Communications, Fund Development, and Volunteer Engagement over the next 3 years. We are taking steps to involve our members more deeply in our activities and to in turn increase their investment in our organization. Furthermore, we are actively developing a director role to oversee all development activities within the organization, and expect to have that individual on staff in early 2018.

REC’s Food Justice Programs increase the accessibility and affordability of healthy food for residents of Worcester's low-income neighborhoods, creating a more equitable and sustainable regional food system:
YouthGROW is REC’s youth development and urban agriculture employment program for 35-40 low-income, at-risk teens (ages 14-18). Participants work 120 hours in the summer planning, planting and harvesting organic produce. They participate in leadership and life skills training year-round.
REC Community Farmers Markets operate at 17 locations 6 days each week June - October. Our Mobile Market brings produce to senior and affordable housing sites, community health centers, and social-service agencies. REC markets serve 10,000+ customers annually.
UGROW supports 60+ community gardens where 600+ volunteers grow healthy food for their families and beautify their neighborhoods. 20 gardens in the network are at public schools, involving 2,000+ students and 40 teachers.


Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30
Financial documents
2022 Regional Environmental Council, Inc.
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

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 3.85 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.4 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2023 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 15% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


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


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL 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 -$45,079 $21,496 $203,997 $247,653 $85,821
As % of expenses -5.5% 2.1% 19.1% 17.4% 4.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$60,008 $1,925 $181,266 $210,832 $25,056
As % of expenses -7.1% 0.2% 16.6% 14.5% 1.3%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $822,815 $1,105,259 $1,455,110 $1,815,308 $2,269,431
Total revenue, % change over prior year -27.9% 34.3% 31.7% 24.8% 25.0%
Program services revenue 41.9% 35.6% 27.4% 40.4% 43.8%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.3%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 7.7% 13.8% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 56.7% 64.2% 64.7% 45.7% 56.0%
Other revenue 1.2% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $827,089 $1,003,707 $1,067,373 $1,421,011 $1,848,537
Total expenses, % change over prior year -25.2% 21.4% 6.3% 33.1% 30.1%
Personnel 61.7% 57.5% 57.9% 54.8% 55.7%
Professional fees 6.4% 4.8% 6.1% 10.8% 8.8%
Occupancy 3.4% 2.7% 2.7% 3.6% 3.1%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 28.5% 35.0% 33.3% 30.8% 32.4%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total expenses (after depreciation) $842,018 $1,023,278 $1,090,104 $1,457,832 $1,909,302
One month of savings $68,924 $83,642 $88,948 $118,418 $154,045
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $111,912 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $57,501 $26,831 $55,683 $156,763 $150,288
Total full costs (estimated) $968,443 $1,133,751 $1,346,647 $1,733,013 $2,213,635

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Months of cash 5.6 7.1 8.9 8.2 6.9
Months of cash and investments 5.6 7.1 8.9 8.2 6.9
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 3.6 2.9 4.4 4.1 2.7
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Cash $386,638 $592,115 $792,385 $969,498 $1,066,382
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $191,277 $184,275 $229,043 $345,946 $449,846
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $159,780 $177,625 $233,307 $369,880 $520,167
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 46.9% 48.1% 46.4% 33.7% 35.7%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 11.2% 22.6% 9.8% 11.3% 6.8%
Unrestricted net assets $330,858 $332,783 $514,049 $724,881 $749,937
Temporarily restricted net assets $256,671 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $6,462 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $263,133 $343,308 $527,484 $673,848 $1,008,938
Total net assets $593,991 $676,091 $1,041,533 $1,398,729 $1,758,875

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.

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Principal Officer

Steven Fischer

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


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.


Board of directors
as of 03/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Rubin Williams

Rubin Williams

AIM HR Solutions

Ted Hudson

Stephanie Crist

College of the Holy Cross

Alison Bryant Ludden

College of the Holy Cross

Jennifer Madson

Mass Audubon

Julie Orozco

Abby Kelly Foster House, Inc.

Justin Amevor

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Carl Rubin

Judi Kirk

Boys & Girls Club of Worcester

Lawreta Kankam

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Pablo Hernandez Itriago, MD, MHCM, FAAFP

Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center

Sabrina Peña

Webster Five Cents Savings Bank

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/13/2023

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
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation