PLATINUM2024

SHELTER TO SOLDIER INC

Saving Lives, Two at a Time

San Diego, CA   |  www.sheltertosoldier.org

Mission

Shelter to Soldier™ is a 501c3 non-profit organization that adopts dogs from an otherwise uncertain future in local shelters and trains them to become Psychiatric Service Dogs for post-9/11 veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and/or Military Sexual Trauma (MST). “Saving Lives, Two At A Time," the organization helps give shelter dogs a new purpose and helps save veterans from the perils of mental injury associated with traumatic combat experiences. Shelter to Soldier also places Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) with active duty military and veterans, as well as deploys Shelter to Soldier Canine Ambassadors therapy dog team to provide visits of love and comfort to local military, veterans and their families.

Notes from the nonprofit

Thank you for visiting our GuideStar page. We hope that you will consider a contribution to our cause. For more details on our corporate sponsorship, or for any questions regarding our mission and goals please email [email protected]. Thank you for helping us continue Saving Lives, Two at a Time!

Ruling year info

2012

Founder & President

Mr. Graham Bloem

Cofounder, Vice President

Mrs. Kyrié Bloem

Main address

2366 Front St.

San Diego, CA 92101 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-0906020

NTEE code info

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

Mental Health Treatment (F30)

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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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Shelter to SoldierTM is a 501c3 non-profit organization that adopts dogs from an otherwise uncertain future in local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans
suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other injuries associated with traumatic combat experiences. The organization is a mental health charity that has been developed to fill a gap after the federal government cut funding for psychiatric service dogs for military personnel. The sponsored service dog will serve the critical role of psychological and/or physical assistance for the soldier. “Saving Lives, Two At A Time," the organization helps save a dog from a rescue and helps save a veteran from the perils of mental injury associated with traumatic combat experiences.

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?

Shelter to Soldier Service Dog Program

Shelter to Soldier™ is a 501c3 non-profit organization that rescues dogs from an otherwise uncertain future in local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and/or Military Sexual Trauma (MST) “Saving Lives, Two At A Time,” the organization helps save a dog from a rescue and helps save a veteran from the perils of mental injury associated with traumatic combat experiences. It is estimated that an average of 20 veterans lose their lives to suicide every day. PTSD has been found to be a risk factor for suicide ideation. Every day, and average of 1835 dogs are euthanized in shelters nationwide. We rescue dogs that may otherwise be overlooked, providing them a future with a purpose and a life that is fulfilled by their bond with a veteran in need. 100% of our service dog trainees come from shelters and rescue organizations in the Southern California region.

Population(s) Served
Veterans

Shelter to Soldier provides trained, emotional support animals (ESAs) to active duty military or veterans who have been recommended an emotional support animal by a mental health care provider. Emotional support animals do not have public access rights (beyond pet-friendly establishments), but are able to provide comfort and love to our recipients in a home setting and receive special housing permissions.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

The Shelter to Soldier Canine Ambassadors is a group of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers who serve a variety of purposes, including visits with active-duty military personnel, veterans working through trauma, military families while their loved ones are deployed or being the light to a military child in need of a smile and connection to a loving dog. Ambassadors attend each STS veteran applicant interview, work with STS veteran-recipients to strengthen their handling prior to placement with a service dog, attend Shelter to Soldier events, visit with active-duty military and their families, assist active-duty service members and veterans during trauma recovery therapy, and participate in veteran group therapies and events in the community. Additionally, in 2022 the Canine Ambassador Therapy Dog teams deployed at over 35 community events supporting hundreds of veterans.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

$108,000.00 Donation Goal
Project Details
STS currently has 26 dogs in training, each requiring high quality kibble, supplements and treats to enhance their training program. STS maintains the highest of training standards for each one of the dogs selected for the program. It is critical to care for each of the trainees and their preventative health, fueling their bodies to successfully navigate their new life as a companion to a veteran in need. The work of a service animal is demanding on the body and requires a high-quality diet, supplements, and treats.

The food pantry is located onsite at our Oceanside facility. Food storage is monitored by the STS staff made up of highly trained animal care professionals, animal care attendants and dog trainers.

Any contribution in support of STS’s Food Pantry Essentials provides vital nutrition for 25 to 27 dogs during their training program of 12-18 months each.

Population(s) Served

One-hundred percent of our service dog candidates are rescues. All dogs we adopt for the program undergo a medical evaluation to ensure they are physically fit and sound for the lifestyle of a service dog. At the time of adoption, we always ask our adoption partners if there is any medical history on the dog, and we adopt dogs in visibly good health with no medical issues. However, there are times when a health issue is determined after adoption, or a dog experiences a medical need while in our care over the 12-24 months they reside with us. It is our goal to have a $20,000 reserve in our Emergency Medical Fund at all times, in order to accommodate emergency medical needs for our service dogs in training to ensure the best care can be quickly provided to any of our twenty-five resident dogs in training at any given time without depleting funds from our general operating funds.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Leadership Award 2013

San Diego Channel 10 News

Community Spotlight Award Nominee 2013

San Diego Channel 10 News

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 service dogs provided to veterans

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

Adults, People with other disabilities, People with psychosocial disabilities, Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

Shelter to Soldier Service Dog Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of veterans with PTSD served

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

Adults, Military personnel, Veterans, People with other disabilities, Women

Related Program

Shelter to Soldier Service Dog Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of trained volunteer dog-and-handler teams

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

Adults, Military personnel, Veterans, Families, Widows and widowers

Related Program

Shelter to Soldier Canine Ambassadors

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of site visits by dog-and-handler teams.

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

Adults, Children and youth, Military personnel, Veterans, Families

Related Program

Shelter to Soldier Canine Ambassadors

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Approximate number of visits/events attended by our Canine Ambassador Therapy Dog teams.

Number of applicants applying for service dogs

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

Adults, People with other disabilities, People with physical disabilities, Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

Shelter to Soldier Service Dog Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of people returning for successor service dogs

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

Adults, Military personnel, Veterans, People with other disabilities, People with physical disabilities

Related Program

Shelter to Soldier Service Dog Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

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.

Every year, 670,000 dogs are euthanized nationwide. We rescue dogs that may otherwise be overlooked, providing them a future with a purpose and a life that is fulfilled by their bond with a veteran in need. Every day, we lose an average of 16 veterans to suicide. In the OIF/OEF veteran population that we serve, PTS has been found to be a risk factor for suicide ideation. We know that the healing impact a highly trained service dog provides for psychological treatment in this population improves their overall quality of life, relationships, confidence and sense of security. Our service dogs help these veterans integrate back into society and find their purpose, often for the first time since their military service.
PTS is a major problem for our men and women in uniform, and its effects last far and beyond the battlefield. One in five veterans returning from combat tours suffers from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), and that is just diagnosed cases. Our veteran applicants may not have physical injuries, but the mental injuries sustained during combat have limited their lives such that they find difficulty participating in their families, in society as a whole, and in relationships. Many of them are so debilitated that they are unable to leave their homes or engage in any meaningful way in society. With the combination of therapy, medications and the companionship of a service dog who does not judge them but does inspire and require them to get up and out, we are seeing our veterans experience a new lease on life with a boost in their confidence, increased productivity, and improved relationships through the sense of security and companionship that their service dog provides. The goal of Shelter to Soldier is ultimately to "Save Lives, Two at a Time," that of a dog from the shelter and that of a veteran suffering from the perils of mental injury associated with traumatic combat experiences. We hope to support the veteran who may otherwise choose to end his/her life from the darkness of depression, solitude, and anxiety. We are currently supporting shelter dogs and veterans within Southern California and headquartered in San Diego. We hope to accommodate veteran applications nationwide in the near future.

Shelter to Soldier continues to seek relationships within our community that help to support our fields of impact. We have many relationships with local animal rescues and personal contacts that help to look for prospective dog rescues entering shelters that they believe posses the qualities of a potential psychiatric service dog. We also have close ties to the military community and many relationships with local VA clinics and hospitals in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas who continue to send referrals our way.

We work with a PR company that helps us to get our mission out to the Southern California area and beyond, and we have very influential individuals who believe in our mission throughout the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas who actively work to seek more funds for our program.

Our close group of corporate sponsors has supported us since our inception, and continues to grow every quarter. We work closely with our corporate sponsors to promote their charitable giving and their active role in the rescue, training, placement and graduation process of their sponsored dogs through our program, providing comarketing strategies and PR to highlight their involvement. The corporations and companies that support our mission rave about our impact as well as our commitment to acknowledging their contributions to our network and the public.

The inquiries from veterans in need never stop, and unfortunately, we aren't able to help every veteran who applies to our program. Thousands of dogs enter shelters every day, and need the support of organizations like ours to provide them a career change from abandoned stray or owner surrender to a loved, highly trained, working service dog is tremendous.

With a combined 45 years of dog training experience, and specialists in service dog training, our team is truly unmatched in the field. This project is designed to train a potentially behaviorally challenged rescue dog into a level 1 psychiatric service dog in the span of 9-18 months. Although we evaluate the shelter dogs at a very high level to determine their potential as a service dog, every dog we rescue is an individual, with unique needs and challenges to work through. We tailor the training program to each dog to build them up to a successful career change from abandoned rescue to psychiatric service dog and lifelong companion. The task is not an easy one, but our team has successfully transformed the lives of these dogs to become the support system that our veterans need to participate in society again and even more, to thrive.

Our Founder and President, Graham Bloem, is a sought after public speaker and our local news and radio outlets love interviewing him and sharing our mission. His expertise in dog training and PR has helped our organization grow to what it is today. Alongside our PR firm, EMS Marketing Consulting and Eva Stimson, we have shared our mission and success stories with our community and continue to receive the support we need to grow. Nicky Moore, Director of Operations, maintains an elite standard of care for all service and emotional support dogs in our program and works alongside our Department of Veteran Services to welcome new veteran students, support active students and provide lifelong support to graduates of the program. Kyrié Bloem, Shelter to Soldier Cofounder and Vice President maintains quality standards for our program, serves as our grant writer and event coordinator, and creates and maintains our relationships with community partners and future donors. Our CoFounder and Treasurer, Krys Holc, has a highly successful accounting firm and she manages our financials with excruciating detail to allow or organization to be as transparent as possible for our potential contributors. With a specialty in non-profit accounting, her expertise helps us to stay on track with our financial goals and growth. The Shelter to Soldier Board of Directors provides oversight for all departments, fundraising efforts and community relations.

To date, Shelter to Soldier has placed However, with growth, we need more hands-on support for our organizational needs. Our Red Star Sponsorship is $18,000 and only meets the financial needs of the service dog training program with no room to spare for other expenses. We need a team to help us grow and manage the day to day inquiries, sponsorships, volunteers, events, grant applications, donations and more. We have not built a large enough team to handle all of the inquiries and opportunities we receive every day, though we have an incredible team that makes our service dog program the success it is today.

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 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, 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 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, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve

Financials

SHELTER TO SOLDIER INC
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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.

SHELTER TO SOLDIER INC

Board of directors
as of 03/15/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Brian Lukacz

Shelter to Soldier

Term: 2024 - 2027


Board co-chair

Dr. Elizabeth Grey

Shelter to Soldier

Term: 2024 - 2027

Brian Lukacz

Veteran, United States Marine Corps

Krystyna Holc

Goodsell & Company Financial Services

Graham Bloem

Shelter to Soldier

David Moss

Private Practice and Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Elizabeth Grey

Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital

Michael Ford

Cox Charities

Nicky Moore

Shelter to Soldier

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/15/2024

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
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability