Public, Society Benefit

Veterans Moving Forward, Inc.

aka VetsFwd.org or VMF

Dulles, VA

Mission

The mission of Veterans Moving Forward (VMF) is to “Provide service, emotional support, therapy or skilled companion dogs for veterans with physical and/or mental health challenges”. Through these services, VMF strives to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our disabled veterans by facilitating their recovery and increasing their safety and independence within their homes and communities. VMF provides canine support to address both visible and invisible wounds, ranging from adjusting to loss of limbs to post-traumatic stress. These disabilities may have been acquired either during military service to our country, or through an accident or illness incurred in private life following that service.

Notes from the Nonprofit

Testimonials "In the patient lounge, while petting the [therapy] dog, Iden, they started to talk to one another about where they were stationed and where they were from. These guys had never spoken to one another before then, but while looking at, and petting the dog, they opened up and started talking." - Rene Hernandez, U.S. Navy "It is hard to put my gratitude into words. VMF has blessed my daughter with the opportunity to change her life by giving Jug to her. Only time will tell how and how much her life will change, but I am confident that those changes for the better will come. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I am a grateful mom!" - Kathy Hedrick, mom of service-disabled U.S. Air Force veteran of the Gulf War era "[Service dog] Edwin met Mark who was recently paralyzed, and I don't think I have ever seen anyone so happy to see a dog! He had his wife move her chair and the trays to make room for the dog to come in. Edwin walked over to the edge of the bed and started wagging his tail as he laid his muzzle on the man's torso. Mark wanted Edwin to get up on the bed with him so it would be easier for him to pet the dog. Edwin put his front feet up on the bed, then got close up to Mark and laid his head on Mark's chest and he even tried to sneak in a kiss. His handler said 'Hey, no kissing on the first date!' Mark said, 'That's ok' and let Edwin lick his face." - Wanda Schmitt, Marine Mom

Ruling Year

2010

President?CEO

Lewis Gordon Sumner

Main Address

44225 Mercure Circle Suite 130

Dulles, VA 20166 USA

Keywords

military, veterans, service dogs, assistance dogs, canine therapy, animal-assisted therapy, comfort dogs

EIN

27-3117964

 Number

2925888840

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Military/Veterans' Organizations (W30)

Animal Related Activities N.E.C. (D99)

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

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

We will provide service, emotional support, therapy or skilled companion dogs for veterans with physical and/or mental health challenges. Our Vision is to become “The premier, national, not-for-profit organization improving the lives of veterans needing service, emotional support, therapy or skilled companion dogs at no cost to the veterans.” Through our services VMF will make a meaningful difference in the lives of disabled veterans by facilitating their recovery and increasing their safety and independence within their homes and communities. We’ll accomplish this by providing canine support to address both visible and invisible injuries, ranging from adjusting to loss of limbs to post-traumatic stress. Additionally, our service and assistance dogs will support veterans and military service members at medical centers, at a variety of veteran support centers, clinics, potentially in one-on-one therapy with mental health professionals, as well as at stressful or emotional events.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

3

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

Assistance/Service Dog Training

Canine Therapy

Assistance/Service Dog Placement

Education

Veteran Employment

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of service dogs trained and placed

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Assistance/Service Dog Training

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context notes

Placing a trained service dog with a specific veteran dealing with either a physical or mental challenge.

Number of service dogs provided to veterans

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Assistance/Service Dog Training

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context notes

Placing trained service dogs with veterans.

Number of applicants applying for service dogs

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Assistance/Service Dog Training

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Increase number of veteran applications for service or emotional support dogs.

Number of applicants applying for an emotional support dog.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Assistance/Service Dog Placement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context notes

Increase number of facilities applying for use of an emotional or therapy support dog for their clinics supporting veterans.

Number of applicants applying for comfort dog level training.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Assistance/Service Dog Placement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

New program for 2020. Training dogs acquired by veterans to the "comfort dog" level so that the veteran can take the dog with them without fear of not being obdient when outside the house.

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?

Priorities:
The highest priority of VMF is to fulfill its mission of providing (1) qualified assistance/service dogs to veterans and (2) associated canine therapy services for health care delivery to veterans with an increasing number each year.

Program Goals:
• Acquire and train puppies to become assistance/service dogs that meet the specific needs of their veteran.
• Place assistance/service dogs with veterans through a comprehensive matching process which ensures a high success rate.
• Provide continued training and guidance to veterans following service dog placement.
• Provide canine comfort/therapy services to veterans and active duty service members alongside their healthcare provider and at veteran-centric organizations and events.

Supporting Actions:
1. Recruit puppy raisers to raise, socialize and train puppies to become service, facility and therapy dogs for veterans.
2. Actively promote VMF service dogs to the veteran population and identify those in need of VMF highly trained service dogs.
3. Create and implement a strategy to reach out to clinicians and veteran-centric organizations to increase outreach to potential veteran applicants and reach of canine comfort/therapy services.
4. Establish a base of long-term, accredited puppy breeders.
5. Execute and maintain a volunteer recruitment, recognition and retention program.
6. Establish and execute marketing and communications plans to spread awareness of the benefits of service dogs for veterans; promote VMF activities and accomplishments; and recruit volunteers and veteran applicants.

Veterans Moving Forward has grown to the extent that we needed, and have moved into, a dedicated training center.

The VMF team includes a dedicated pool of unpaid volunteers, most of whom have extensive military or military family experience, as well as specialized consultants paid for specific tasks at highly reduced rates. The team includes dedicated professionals in the fields of accounting, animal behaviorists, behavioral health, business, law, nursing, marketing, occupational health, photojournalism, dog breeding and training, psychiatry, psychology, and veterinary medicine. Board members have military, non-profit financial and legal expertise, as well as oversight of our canine training and veteran matching programs.

To reach the military community and provide effective services, VMF has developed partnerships with over two dozen organizations and private clinicians over the past five years including medical centers, universities, and veteran-centric organizations.

VMF has expanded the financial donor base to support the current plan and laid the foundation for future expansion.

We have set specific, measurable goals including goals for annual placement of service dogs, acquisition of new assistance dogs in training, amount of canine therapy services provided, recruitment of new puppy raisers and trainers, completion of ADI certification, increase of general volunteer corps, and increase in professional relationships with more breeders and board-certified healthcare professionals. We also have specific fundraising goals through individual donors, fundraising events, foundation grants and corporate donors.

Puppy raisers, dog trainers, and veterans who receive service dogs submit monthly reports documenting progress.

Through our services, VMF is making a meaningful difference in the lives of disabled veterans by facilitating their recovery and increasing their safety and independence within their homes and communities. All VMF dogs serve veterans and their families as our model focuses on providing a variety of services in the form of highly trained comfort dogs, therapy dogs, facility dogs and service dogs. VMF provides canine support to address both visible and invisible injuries, ranging from adjusting to loss of limbs to post-traumatic stress. These disabilities may result from either U.S. military service or through an accident or illness incurred in private life following that service. VMF’s service and assistance dogs will support veterans and military service members at medical centers, at a variety of veteran support centers, clinics, potentially in one-on-one therapy with mental health professionals, as well as at stressful or emotional events. Veterans in need may receive service dogs after a VMF’s meticulous matching process that includes multiple assessments, approximately two years of puppy training, and multiple training sessions for the matched veteran and service dog. VMF’s careful matching of the service dog with the specific range of a veteran’s needs, along with the training tailored to meet those specific needs ensures a highly successful veteran-dog placement. The current Department of Veteran Affairs’ policy is to provide service dogs only to veterans with visual or hearing impairment or select mobility challenges. VMF aims to focus on providing canine support to meet the full range of services (from dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to adjusting to loss of limbs or immobility) to meet the significant, unfulfilled needs of our Nation’s veterans of any armed service from any generation, campaign or peacetime service. The VMF difference stems from our understanding and appreciation that each veteran and their challenges are unique to that individual veteran and his or her environment. Our meticulous custom matching of a veteran’s needs, the recognition of how canine therapy can play an important part of any veteran’s recovery, and then matching a dog’s capacity to provide the support to meet those needs includes multiple assessments and months, sometimes years of puppy training. We are improving in every area, from growth in program successes (placement of service dogs and increasing therapy services), to increase in the volunteer corps numbers, strengthening of staff processes, and annual increases of fundraising goals and actual income.

How We Listen

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

Source: Self-reported by organization

the feedback loop
check_box We shared information about our current feedback practices.
How is the organization collecting feedback?
We regularly collect feedback through: sms text surveys, case management notes, constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, suggestion box/email.
How is the organization using feedback?
We use feedback to: 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.
With whom is the organization sharing feedback?
We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, our community partners.
What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?
It is difficult to: we don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback.
What significant change resulted from feedback
Increased training programs to include emotional support, therapy and comfort dog training programs for veterans.

External Reviews

Accreditations

Charity Navigator 2011

Photos

Financials

Veterans Moving Forward, Inc.

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Operations

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

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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?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

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

Yes

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?

Yes

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity