Soaring Spirits International

aka Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation, Inc.   |   Simi Valley, CA   |  www.soaringspirits.org

Mission

Soaring Spirits builds community. We create, and maintain, innovative peer-based grief support programs that serve a worldwide population. Based on the powerful connections created by shared experience, we endeavor to ensure that no one need grieve the death of a spouse or life partner alone.

Ruling year info

2008

CEO

Michele Neff Hernandez

Main address

2828 Cochran St #194

Simi Valley, CA 93065 USA

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EIN

38-3787893

NTEE code info

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

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (F01)

Public Health Program (E70)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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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?

Camp Widow®

Camp Widow® is a weekend long event hosted several times a year in the United States and Canada that brings together widowed people from around the world to celebrate the healing power of community. The focus of Camp Widow is recreating the future, while honoring the past. The weekend is packed with useful tools, reliable resources, and the invaluable experience of being surrounded by peers in this unlikely, but incredible, community.

Population(s) Served

An online community of widowed men and women available 24/7 for support, understanding, and friendship.

Population(s) Served

The Widowed Pen Pal program matches widowed people with one another for one-on-one supportive e-mail correspondence. The Widowed Pen Pal program was designed for those who would rather correspond with one person consistently than join a group forum. This program connects people in the widowed community with up to three other widowed people (widows are connected with widows, and widowers with widowers) who are within ten years of the same age, have lost their spouse or partner within six months of each other, and who have the same parenting status.

Population(s) Served

The Widow's Voice Blog Library includes thousands of blogs written by widowed men and women, searchable by both author and topic. The purpose of this program is to share the unique perspectives of our widowed authors, in order to show the reader that they are not alone. At any given time we have eight bloggers and a new blog post every single day of the week for the reader.

Population(s) Served

Soaring Spirits provides widowed people with the chance to meet socially, and to create a local community of widowed friends through the Regional Social Group program. Groups are led by volunteer facilitators who plan meetings twice a month in their geographical area. These meetings are focused on assisting widowed men and women in rebuilding their social structure post-loss.

Population(s) Served

The You Are Not Alone Outreach program is comprised of You Are Not Alone Cards and Newly Widowed Packets. All of these materials are free of charge to newly widowed people, and to their loved ones. They can be easily requested on soaringspirits.org

You Are Not Alone cards are small folded business cards, meant to be passed on to a fellow widowed person, that contain all the information they would need to get connected with the Soaring Spirits widowed community.

Newly Widowed Packets contain Soaring Spirits program information, a copy of the Newly Widowed Checklist, and a collection of personal messages from one widowed person to another.

Population(s) Served

The Share the Road Ride is an annual memorial bike ride in honor of Simi Valley's Phil Hernandez, and all people who have been lost in cycling related accidents. This ride, in their honor, highlights the need for safer roads, and an increased awareness on the parts of both motorists and cyclists. The Century Challenge, Metric Century, Half Century, & 25 Mile City Tour welcome cyclist of all ages to join in sharing the road. Held annually in Simi Valley, CA, the Share the Road Ride brings together friends, family, and strangers alike who get to celebrate the lives of fellow cyclists.

Population(s) Served

The Widow Dash Series of runs combines Soaring Spirits’ mission to provide ongoing peer support to widowed people around the world, with our belief that a healthy physical body is a huge step forward in facing any emotional challenge.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Congressional Recognition 2010

United States Congress

Special Commendation 2013

City of Simi Valley

Special Commendation 2013

City of San Diego

Top 10 2021 CNN Heroes 2021

CNN Heroes

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 first-time donors

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

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Soaring Spirits International's first time donor number includes people making individual donations, sponsoring of events, Newly Widowed Packet dedications, and Camp Widow® campership donations.

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.

1.) Create and maintain positive, reliable peer-support programs that serve widowed people around the world.
2.) Engage hospitals, hospice organizations, and local community support systems in providing peer-support for the widowed in their communities.
3.) Provide programs whose reach is capable of serving widowed people from any walk of life, and any distance from their loss.

Soaring Spirits has created a core group of programs that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Our support programs are available both online and in-person. All Soaring Spirits programs are designed to create, and foster, community. Peer-support has been proven to be an extremely effective tool for managing the challenges inherent in becoming widowed, and further in assisting widowed men and women in re-engaging in daily life post-loss.

Soaring Spirits will work to maintain the sustainability of our programs; further our community outreach via our Regional Groups programs; and identify and nurture relationships with other organizations working to serve the widowed population.

Soaring Spirits utilizes both online and in-person support opportunities for widowed men and women. The ability to provide programming online greatly expands our reach, while providing in-person programs allows us a hands-on opportunity for sharing resources, and specialized presentations designed specifically for the widowed.

Our online potential is limited only by bandwidth. Three of our six programs are accessed through the Internet, allowing us to offer multiple support options accessible from a person's living room.

We've rated our in-person programs, assisted by Schreiner University and Dr. Carrie West, through a survey of widowed men and women. Dr. West developed surveys to determine the efficacy of our programs in increasing the life satisfaction of widowed people who attend any of our programs. The results have very clearly indicated that participants of Soaring Spirits programs score higher in self-confidence, resilience, and overall life satisfaction than do those who have not attended any SSI programs. We have a program model that works, and the ability to reach millions of widowed men and women.

As of April of 2015, more than two million widowed men and women have benefited from one or more Soaring Spirits program. We've successfully provided reliable resources, and an on-going community of support for these widowed people through the arc of the widowed experience from the date of loss through the successful reintegration into a full and happy life.

Though we are proud of the number of widowed people who have been assisted by our programs, there are 900,000 people widowed in the US alone every year (US Census Bureau Statistics), which means we have only reached a small portion of the widowed people who could benefit from our programs.

Financials

Soaring Spirits International
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Soaring Spirits International

Board of directors
as of 12/17/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Michelle Dippel Dahlberg

John Tolson

Deb Holler

Janine Eggers

Terry Marvin

Greg Roman

Carl Dahlberg

Barbara Frova

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? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • 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? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No