Health—General & Rehabilitative

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind

  • Smithtown, NY
  • www.guidedog.org

Mission Statement

The Guide Dog Foundation was established to improve the quality of life for people who are blind, visually impaired, or with other special needs through the provision of assistance dogs (guide and service). Guide dogs help people with visual disabilities. Service dogs are specially trained to help people with disabilities other than blindness and include service, therapy, facility, and companion dogs. The Guide Dog Foundation improves our consumers' lives by providing people who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise disabled with increased mobility, independence, and companionship. From the study Guide Dogs and the Visually Impaired: A Study of Trends, Usage, and Attributes of Guide Dog Users, conducted by Wedewer Research and Counsel: When asked to rate a list of benefits, the top two responses by participants were ""moving around with more confidence"" and companionship (82% each). Other benefits to having a guide dog included getting around faster (77%), getting around with fewer accidents (76%), getting around more accurately (74%), being less dependent on others to get around (73%), and feeling safer at home and on the streets (67%).

Main Programs

  1. Provision of guide dogs
  2. Provision of service dogs
  3. Provision of therapy dogs
  4. Public Education
  5. Prison Puppy Program

ruling year

1950

chief executive for fy 1989

Mr. Wells B. Jones

Self-reported by organization

Keywords

Animal, Service, Veteran, Blind, Disabled, Valley,

Self-reported by organization

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EIN

11-1687477

Also Known As

Guide Dog Foundation

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Health Support Services (E60)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

As the only assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International, the two international regulatory bodies that certify guide and service dog schools on a voluntary basis, we have discovered how guide and service dog training can compliment each other. Our guide dogs can now provide additional skills such as balance and stability for our blind recipients who may develop additional mobility problems as they age. And for our service dogs, guiding skills such as ""intelligent disobedience"" can be taught so a disabled veteran with traumatic brain injuries and cognitive problems will feel safe crossing a street or encountering a danger. Each day is a new challenge as we serve people with disabilities. The Guide Dog Foundation has over 750 active graduate/assistance dog teams with over 200 dogs placed with disabled veterans. We have also placed 8 combat stress control dogs and 11 military service dogs through America's VetDogs. Today we are faced with increased demands for our specially trained dogs as the number of people with legal blindness and other disabilities grows. In Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013, we successfully placed 237 dogs with people with disabilities thanks to our donors' generosity. Our goal for FY 2014 is to place 80 guide dog teams, 40 service dog teams and breed over 300 puppies. During our FY 2014, thousands of people including disabled Americans, veterans and active military will be directly impacted through the Guide Dog Foundation. This includes people partnering with guide and service dogs, servicemen and women at military hospitals and VA centers for physical and occupational therapy as well as persons benefiting from therapy and facility dogs.

Programs

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

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Provision of guide dogs

Guide dogs help blind or visually impaired people get around in the world. To do this, a guide dog must know how to Keep on a direct route ignoring all distractions such as smells, other animals and peopleMaintain a steady paceStop at all curbs until told to proceedTurn left and right, move forward and stop on commandRecognize and avoid obstacles that the handler won't be able to fit through (narrow passages and low overheads)Stop at the bottom and top of stairs until told to proceedBring the handler to elevator buttonsLie quietly when the handler is sittingHelp the handler to board and move around buses, subways and all forms of public transportationObey a number of verbal commands Additionally, a guide dog must know to disobey any command that would put the handler in danger. This ability, called intelligent disobedience, is perhaps the most amazing thing about guide dogs; that they can balance obedience with their own assessment of the situation.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Budget

Population Served

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Other Named Groups

Program 2

Provision of service dogs

Service dogs help increase the mobility and independence of a person with a disability other than visual. Our service dogs are placed with veterans only through our sister organization, America's VetDogs - The Veteran's K-9 Corps, free of charge. Certified staff trainers meticulously match the appropriate dog to the appropriate applicant, then individually train the dog to mitigate the specific disability/disabilities of the new owner. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks of benefit to a disabled individual in order to be legally elevated from pet status to service animal status. It is the specially trained tasks or work performed on command or cue that legally exempts a service dog [service animal] and his disabled handler from the ""No Pets Allowed"" policies of stores, restaurants and other places of public accommodation under the ADA.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Budget

Population Served

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Other Named Groups

Program 3

Provision of therapy dogs

Therapy dogs are trained to provide assistance or therapeutic support for wounded warriors at military or VA hospitals. Under the supervision of a physical or occupational therapist these dogs work with a variety of patients with a multitude of serious injuries both physical and mental. Reaching 150 to 250 patients a week, a therapy dog may help a soldier walk on prosthetic legs by providing balance, open a door for a veteran who uses a wheelchair or provide emotional support so a wounded warrior can heal both physically and mentally. Therapy dogs also make visits to VA nursing homes and hospices.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Budget

Population Served

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Other Named Groups

Other Named Groups

Program 4

Public Education

Advocacy and education are important components of our mission to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Category

Education, General/Other

Budget

Population Served

General Public/Unspecified

Program 5

Prison Puppy Program

In the Prison Puppy Programs, specially selected inmates, many of whom are veterans who served our country honorably, raise our puppies to become assistance dogs who will be placed with our nation's veterans with disabilities. The inmates, along with volunteer puppy raisers who take the puppies home each weekend, teach basic obedience along with some service-based skills such as fetch and retrieval, opening and closing doors and balance support. We now have active programs in 11 prisons throughout Massachusetts, Maryland and most recently at Enfield Correctional Institution in Enfield, Connecticut. Our Prison Puppy Programs have been vital in our efforts to build capacity to train and place our dogs with wounded American heroes of all eras. Research shows that prison-raised dogs tend to have higher success rates than those that are home-raised; inmates are able to provide more consistent training at a higher level simply because of the amount of time they are able to devote to the pups in training.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Budget

Population Served

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Other Named Groups

Funding Needs

A rapidly increasing proportion of the aging population experiences eye problems that make simple daily tasks difficult or impossible, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses, but severe eye problems are not just a matter of "getting older." The numbers of veterans with visual disabilities are on the rise; according to the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) an estimated 16 percent of all wounded service members evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered some type of serious eye injury, while still more may be experiencing vision problems as a result of traumatic injuries to the brain. In addition, over 50,000 soldiers have been severely wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today we are faced with increased demands by veterans, active military personnel and the returning wounded as our men and women come home with life-altering injuries such as amputated limbs, blindness, paralysis, serious burns, traumatic brain injuries and severe emotional trauma. Many of these veterans can also benefit from our specially trained assistance dogs. We estimate the cost to breed, train, and place a guide or service dog, combined with the training, transportation and housing of the team, and a lifetime of aftercare services is in excess of $50,000 per team, and all services and equipment are provided free of charge to blind, visually impaired, or otherwise disabled persons. We receive no government funding, and depend completely on generous donors and supporters to continue our services, and expand our ability to serve the increasing numbers of disabled persons requesting our specially trained dogs.

Accreditations

Assistance Dogs International Inc.

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

GUIDE DOG FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND INC
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
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CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR FISCAL YEAR

Mr. Wells B. Jones

BIO

Wells Jones has more than 35 years' experience in national and regional not-for-profit management. Since 1989, he has served as chief executive officer of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc., and as president and CEO of America's VetDogs since 2006. From the agency's Smithtown, Long Island, New York, headquarters, Jones has implemented innovative development and program strategies that have seen the organization experience tremendous growth in both charitable revenue generated and numbers of blind and visually impaired individuals served. Jones's dedicated desire to optimize donated dollars and keep fundraising costs low was recently recognized by Reader's Digest, naming the Foundation the number one charity in the nation that serves individuals with disabilities. Under his leadership, the Guide Dog Foundation undertook a major capital expansion in 2002, which culminated with the construction of a new training center, complete with a state-of-the-art kennel, as well as a newly designed student residence hall. Jones's vision of development is evident with the creation of America's VetDogs, to expand the Guide Dog Foundation's outreach to disabled veterans and active service members. With Jones's strong leadership and innovative initiatives, the Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs will continue to develop new programs to meet the growing needs of people with disabilities.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. James C. Bingham

TD Bank

Term: July 2011 - June 2015

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?