PLATINUM2023

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.

Helping those who are blind, have low vision, or other disabilities Live Without Boundaries.

aka Guide Dog Foundation   |   Smithtown, NY   |  https://www.guidedog.org

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Mission

For more than 75 years, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. (http://www.GuideDog.org), has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision, or have other disabilities. The Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization serving clients from across the United States and Canada. The Foundation relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to serve people with disabilities. In addition to our guide and service dog programs, the Foundation offers extensive education and outreach programs to broaden the public's understanding of vision and visual impairment, as well as access and disability rights.

Ruling year info

1950

President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. John Miller

Main address

371 East Jericho Turnpike

Smithtown, NY 11787 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

11-1687477

NTEE code info

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Individuals with physical disabilities often experience isolation because of limited mobility options. The Guide Dog Foundation (GDF) seeks to offer innovative ideas and solutions to ensure those who are blind or visually impaired, or who have disabilities other than blindness, experience renewed independence and enhanced mobility. Thanks to the placement of highly skilled guide and service dogs, individuals with disabilities can become fully engaged in the workforce and recognized as equal and independent participants in society, prepared to keep pace with changing times and needs.

GDF not only offers exceptional programs, we advocate on behalf of the visually impaired community. For over 75 years, the GDF has trained and placed highly skilled guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship. Our services are provided completely free of charge to clients from across all of North America.

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?

Training

Our Instructors complete a three year apprenticeship program before they become certified instructors. Once a dog begins formal training for placement with a consumer, it takes approximately 3 to 6 months to complete. Guide dogs are trained to help blind or visually impaired people travel independently. To accomplish this safely, a guide dog is trained to keep on a direct route ignoring all distractions such as smells, other animals and people; maintain a steady pace; stop at all curbs until directed to proceed forward; turn left and right, and stop on command. Guide dogs are trained to recognize and avoid obstacles, such as narrow passages and low overheads. Guide dogs help the handler to board and move around buses, subways and all forms of public transportation. Guide dogs obey 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 one of the most amazing attributes of a guide dog; that they can balance obedience with their own assessment of the situation. Our Instructional Training staff accomplishes all these training tasks as well as meeting specific needs our our consumers.
During the formal training phase all dogs are housed on campus in state of the art kennels. Not every dog that enters formal training becomes a guide or service dog. We currently estimate a success rate of approximately 60%. After completion of formal training the dog is ready to be teamed with a consumer. The consumer and their dog are trained to work together as a team either on campus, in the consumers home community or a combination of the two. The process and the Foundation's commitment continues after placement with aftercare, follow-up, support and outreach throughout the life of the dog. The cycle is perpetual, with each stage financed 100% by the Foundation.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
People with vision impairments
Emergency responders
Veterans

The Foundation supports a breeding colony in excess of 125 dogs. The Breeding colony is carefully selected after extensive screening and testing. We average approximately 400 puppies per year added to our programs. Puppies spend 7 to 8 weeks in our puppy nursery. From the nursery they spend approximately one year in the home of a volunteer puppy raiser or prison puppy program before coming back to the Foundation for formal training. Approximately 75% of our puppies are raised in puppy raiser homes and the balance participate in our prison puppy program. The Foundation supports raisers in nearly 20 states and has puppies placed in several prisons in MA, MD, FL, CT, ME and PA. During the time puppies are in puppy raiser homes the Foundation supports the volunteer family through constant outreach, communication and training. We bring our volunteer regional puppy raiser coordinators on campus for training and support that they can share with their locally regionally based puppy raising families. Our professional puppy staff supports our puppy raising volunteers and our staff visits each prison weekly to follow up and train the inmate handlers who are carefully screened to insure they are suitable candidates to participate in this program.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
People with vision impairments
Emergency responders
Veterans

Our students come from all over the U.S. as well as outside the U.S. Students typically stay on campus for approximately two weeks in the student residence which can accommodate up to 17 students at a time. Each student has a private room with private bath. The residence is staffed 24 hours per day. All meals are provided. Transportation to and from the Foundation is also provided. Students can also receive home training, where the Foundation sends a certified instructor to the students home community. All services are provided 100% free of charge to our consumers. During Covid -19, all guide dog placements were completed off campus in the consumers home community.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
People with vision impairments
Emergency responders
Veterans

Public education and outreach is key to supporting the mission of the Guide Dog Foundation. The concentration of our efforts include the creation and execution of multichannel marketing outreach.

Our goal is to reach our constituency on the platforms in which they gather information. This type of campaign helps us cast a wider net. It gives new and existing supporters a chance to learn more about our missions, learn about new programs and events, and helps develop greater brand recognition.

We create more touchpoints to reach our audience, gather more information about them which then allows us to adjust our strategies while measuring success. These include both printed and electronic newsletters, direct mail outreach, the hosting of special events, continuous engagement via social media, SEO, advertising campaigns, media stories, along with high-profile partnership opportunities.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
People with vision impairments
Emergency responders
Veterans

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2020

Assistance Dogs International Inc. 2018

International Guide Dog Federation 2018

GuideStar Platinum Charity 2021

Charity Navigator - Four Star Charity 2021

Awards

Not-for-Profit of the Year 2020

HIA-LI Business Achievement Award

Certified Veteran Ready Organization 2021

Psych Armor

Leadership Excellence 2020

Imagine Awards

Affiliations & memberships

New York Islanders Partnership 2019

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Number of new donors

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

Public Education

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Guide Dog Foundation is almost 100% reliant on the generosity of donors to provide the funding necessary to provide guide and service dogs free of charge to people with disabilities.

Number of Social Media Followers

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

Adults, People with disabilities, Emergency responders, Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

Public Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Guide Dog Foundation has embraced social media as a means to reach our supporters efficiently and effectively.

Total Number of consumer communications

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

Veterans, Emergency responders, People with disabilities, Adults

Related Program

Student & Graduate Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric measures the number of various communications / touch-points with our consumers throughout the FY.

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.

The mission of the Guide Dog Foundation is to improve the quality of life for people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs.

Increase the independence and enhance the mobility of people who are blind, have low vision or have other special needs.

Provide the highest quality dogs for our programs.

To raise public awareness regarding vision impairment and opportunities for the visually impaired.

Advocate for public policies that promote access and services for the blind, visually impaired and people with other disabilities.

Provide ongoing support to our graduates and their dogs for the life of each partnership.

The Guide Dog Foundation has a dedicated staff of professionals who are committed to accomplishing its mission. Guide Dog Foundation guide & service dog trainers have close to 300 years of experience in training dogs to mitigate the challenges faced by people with disabilities.
We are members of the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International, and were the first school in the U.S. to be accredited by both of these international regulatory bodies.
We make use of strategic partnerships with other assistance dog schools to evaluate our breeding stock and revise and refine our dog training methods. We provide continuing education opportunities for staff to ensure our training protocols are ahead of industry standards.
We provide advice and counsel to various public & private agencies regarding issues of public accommodation and access. This in turn enhances the ability of individuals with disabilities to go where they want, when they want while accompanied by their assistance dogs.

Revamped our puppy & dog training programs to better meet the needs of our consumers.

Partnered with major universities to gather & evaluate consumer data to drive quality improvement.

The Guide Dog Foundation (GDF) has created a successful partnerships with NBC Today and NBC affiliates whereby we are able to demonstrate guide & service dog training and what an assistance dog can do to help an individual with disabilities .

To Further educate the public about our Organization, the Guide Dog Foundation was one of the first organizations to partner with a major league sports team to co-sponsor a future guide dog. Guide Dog Foundation launched its Puppy with a Purpose program and partnered with NHL team, the New York Islanders, on puppy Radar and current puppy Monte and have also created new awareness channels with the help of media partner, The Dodo. The Foundation also partnered with NBC Sports for their Stanly Pup program featuring guide dog Sunny.

The Guide Dog Foundation continues to grow the number of print & online media placements and mentions. Additionally our reach via social media continues to grow.

We continue to advocate on behalf of our consumers and to build relationships and partner with like-minded organizations in order to educate the public about blindness and opportunities for the visually impaired.
The organization maintains relationships with a number of high-profile corporate partners and supporters including Nutrimax, Bausch and Lomb, and Nylabone.

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.
  • 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 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

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, 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 engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
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Operations

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

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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.

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 07/19/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Donald Dea

Co-Founder Fusion Productions

Term: 2015 - 2025

Alphonce Brown, Jr., ACFRE

Volunteer

Celeste V. Lopes, Esq.

Volunteer

Robert Madden

Volunteer

Travis J. Carey, CPA

Volunteer

Michael F. Troiano, Esq.

Volunteer

MAJ Peter Way (Ret.)

Volunteer

Leslie Tayne, Esq.

Volunteer

Robert McInerney

Volunteer

John Miller

President & CEO

Glenn Tecker

Volunteer

Kristen Chambers

Volunteer

Walter Jay Buckley

Volunteer

Gary Brown

Volunteer

Pamela Kaul

Volunteer

Wendy Frigeria

Volunteer

Matthew Sherwood, PHD

Volunteer

Pamela Tate

Volunteer

Joesph N. Campolo, ESQ

Volunteer

Charles Bonomo

Volunteer

Andrea McCarren

Volunteer

Don Dea

Volunteer

Lachelle Smith

Volunteer

Teresa Fitzpatrick

Volunteer

Garth Jordan

Volunteer

Glenn Schneider

Volunteer

Navy HM3 Max Rohn (Ret.)

Volunteer

Victor Pereira

Volunteer

Ming Chiang

Volunteer

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 7/19/2023

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/24/2022

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

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
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 help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • 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.