True Friends

Annandale, MN   |  www.truefriends.org

Mission

Provide life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities.

Ruling year info

1986

President & CEO

John LeBlanc

Main address

10509 108th ST NW

Annandale, MN 55302 USA

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Formerly known as

Children's Disability Services Association

Friendship Ventures

Camps of Courage & Friendship

EIN

41-1543013

NTEE code info

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

Recreational and Sporting Camps (Day, Overnight, etc.) (N20)

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our overall objective is to provide life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities. Our programs include camp, respite, retreats, team building, therapy and adaptive riding, and travel; serving over 25,000 individuals annually. With locations near Maple Lake, Annandale, Eden Prairie and Bemidji, we serve individuals in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

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

Our program provides opportunities to develop an appreciation of nature, live cooperatively with others, share in the responsibilities of group living, develop new leisure interests, experience traditional camp activities and have fun!

General sessions provide a traditional camp experience for children and teenagers, while the resort-like settings at all five locations offer a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere for adult guests. Guests determine their own activity interests and level of participation. Siblings and friends are also welcome to attend.

Population(s) Served
People with intellectual disabilities
People with physical disabilities

Respite care can be a life-saver for families who have 24/7 care duties for a loved one with disabilities. Programs operate most weekends throughout the year from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Participants may stay for all or part of a weekend; fees are prorated based on length of stay. Programs feature seasonal outdoor activities, day trips, group recreation and social skill-building. Respite services are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Population(s) Served
Families
People with disabilities

True Strides is a Horsemanship Program providing opportunities for individuals of all abilities to experience therapeutic riding sessons and hippo therapy, which provides individualized physical or occupational therapy on horseback. Through intentionally designed programming, participants gain improved coordination, self-esteem, endurance, mobility, muscle strengthening, balance, cognitive planning, confidence, attention span, and social skills.

Population(s) Served
People with physical disabilities
People with disabilities

Ventures Travel offers growth through travel. The benefits are educational, physical and social. Often, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities face challenges with travel preparation and navigation. For more than 25 years Ventures Travel has specialized in companion travel vacations for people with disabilities. Our trips are designed for persons who benefit from supervised travel.

Our small group size encourages independence and socializing. We believe it’s important for travelers to help make decisions about their destinations, activities, attractions and meals.

Population(s) Served
People with intellectual disabilities
People with disabilities

Where we work

Accreditations

American Camping Association (ACA) - Accreditation 2014

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.

We offer a wide range of opportunities for enrichment throughout the year in response: True Friends Travel provides the growth travel affords for adults with disabilities; True Friends Therapy & Adaptive Riding sessions run weekly all year; and True Friends Team Building conducts its accessible climbing, zip lines and aerial challenges all year. Specific objectives and intentional activities guide programs, ensuring developmentally appropriate activities and challenges and combining camaraderie with therapeutic benefits of outdoor recreation. Participants build skills and abilities, challenge themselves, learn to appreciate nature. We provide a safe place for everyone to gain new experiences, participate in activities at their own pace and develop self-efficacy, independence, life and leadership skills.

We adapt typical program activities to everyone’s ability, offering hiking, games, singing, biking, drama, arts and crafts, climbing and swimming. To best meet participants' needs, we maintain healthcare staff and care ratios of 1:1 or 1:3. We work continually to improve training processes to create active, responsive and engaged staff. Staffing costs are significant and impact program fees, but True Friends is committed to helping families benefit from programs regardless of their ability to pay. With our tiered fee structure, families pay fees that reflect their child’s needs.

Most True Friends participants cannot be served elsewhere - their needs are too great; they require special, individualized support and health care. Staff duties include helping with personal cares, planning, arranging and leading a variety of fun, challenging activities adapted for everyone’s special needs, monitoring health concerns, disbursing medication, and managing special diets, allergies or sensory imbalance. The quality, specialized, care that True Friends’ highly trained staff members provide ensures that campers build skills and capacity, stay safe and healthy during their stay and gives parents crucial peace of mind.

2021
­The Camping department served 431 individuals: 43 at Camp Courage, 23 at Camp Courage North, 365 at Camp Friendship Summer

­Camp Survey Insights: Overall, caregivers and participants are very pleased with their experience.95% report they will use our service again. NPS (Net Promoter Score): 78

­Because of the uniqueness of 2020 and 2021, it becomes difficult to compare year-over-year results.
­
2022 Summer camp registration opened November 1st. Another record set with 171 applications received in the first 24 hours.
­
The Respite program provided 535 sessions: 463 in the form of day services (1 session = 1 day), 72 in the form of weekend Respite (1 session = 1 individual served for a weekend Fri-Sat-Sun)
­
Over 7,000 hours of relief provided to caregivers.
­
Therapy and Adaptive Riding provided 1,444 sessions/lessons: 941 Hippotherapy sessions, 503 Adaptive Riding sessions
­
The Travel program is currently suspended. It is scheduled to resume services in Qtr. 2, 2022.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • 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 identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • 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 look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

True Friends
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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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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.

True Friends

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Mary Ellen Wells

Healthcare Executive, C-Suite Resources

Term: 2022 - 2024

Gaylen Ghylin

Tiller Corporation

Mary Ellen Wells

CentraCare Health

Marilyn Hallstrom

Hallstrom Consulting

Bob Polland

Courage Center (retired)

Shelly Nelson

Cambria

Kathy Miron

Deb Salhaus

Fraser

Jeff Schrock

VAA

Ashley Turner Jones

Mary O'Meara

Nancy Koehler

Peter Rundquist

Peter Ramme

Courtney Miller

Rob Otos

John Woodward

Mark Zastrow

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 2/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/11/2022

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • 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 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.