DIVING WITH HEROES

Unlocking the underwater world for those who have defended our freedom.

Haymarket, VA   |  www.divingwithheroes.org

Mission

Diving with Heroes is a nonprofit based out of Northern Virginia that gives the gift of freedom to our injured veterans and service members. We provide opportunities for scuba diving, whether as a continuation of scuba undertaken during rehabilitation or as a new therapy/hobby. We take divers on trips to give them a chance to dive with others, helping to build that sense of diver community, but also to show them that diving is a sport they can continue outside of the confines of their rehabilitation programs. It also is a chance for them to experience the underwater world which is so different from the world we live in.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Jill Hottel

Main address

PO Box 445

Haymarket, VA 20168 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

47-1028985

NTEE code info

Swimming, Water Recreation (N67)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The men and women of the United States Armed Forces have sacrificed of themselves to protect and defend our nation. While performing their duty, whether at home or abroad, many are injured or permanently disabled – more than 30 percent of all U.S. veterans have a disability rating, including 40 percent of post-9/11 veterans. The need for therapy services to address this growing population has overwhelmed demand, and Diving with Heroes is one of many organizations stepping up to fill the void.

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?

Marine Science Initiative

Our Marine Science Initiative (MSI) provides opportunities for veteran divers to participate in on-going research and conservation efforts to broaden their view of the ocean environment. Engaging the divers in citizen science allows them to experience diving in a different way, elevating it from a recreational activity to a mission with measurable objectives. Citizen science efforts also educate the divers on how they can become better advocates for the oceans. MSI programs are week-long excursions where DWH can partner with existing organizations implementing their own marine science programs. The veteran divers participate, learning new skills or taking courses to further their own personal development. This excursion further supports the therapeutic and social rehabilitation and recreation of scuba, as well as continues to build community amongst the veteran divers.

Population(s) Served
Veterans

New and exciting dive experiences add not only to a diver’s overall experience but also helps to keep diving unique and interesting. Diving with Heroes plans regular trips to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, to provide hero divers with new opportunities for exploration and fun.

Population(s) Served
Veterans

Where we work

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 veterans with PTSD served

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

Veterans

Related Program

Marine Science Initiative

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Due to COVID-19, we hosted no programs in 2020.

Number of trips provided

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

Veterans

Related Program

Marine Science Initiative

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Due to COVID-19, we hosted no programs in 2020.

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.

Diving with Heroes provides an adaptive sports therapy program that builds the veteran diver community, gives veteran divers a sense of purpose, and provides them relief from their injuries and disabilities.

Recreational therapy has been proven effective in rehabilitating veterans with physical disabilities and mental health issues by: helping veterans process their new identity as a disabled individual; influencing the psycho-social health and well-being of disabled veterans; and equipping veterans to manage and address their disability, thereby reducing symptoms. Furthermore, recreational therapy has been shown to impact the subjective, psychological and social well-being of disabled veterans. Participation in sports has a restorative power that enables disabled veterans to enjoy life once again, allowing a disabled veteran to focus on their abilities and their achievements, rather than their disabilities. Recreational experiences in a group environment lead to camaraderie and connection, and outdoor recreational experiences have the added “ecotherapuetic” impact of being active in nature which can lead to inner peace and happiness.

Diving with Heroes takes small groups of divers on excursions to provide the opportunity to dive with others with similar injuries or disabilities, helping to build a supportive diving community of military veterans. We also seek to engage our divers in marine conservation projects allowing them to experience diving in a different way, elevating it from a recreational activity to a mission with measurable objectives, similar to their experiences serving in the military. This has coalesced into a burgeoning veteran diving brotherhood where shared experience, mutual therapeutic benefit, and a passion for the ocean have united our divers.

Diving with Heroes is an SDI/TDI training facility which offers more than 40 certification courses. It's team of instructors are certified to teach through a number of agencies, including: SDI (Scuba Diving International), TDI (Technical Diving International), FRTI (First Response Training International), PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), EFR (Emergency First Response), HSA (Handicapped Scuba Association) and DAN (Divers Alert Network). Our dedicated team of scuba professionals attends each excursion to provide training and adaptive buddy diver assistance. Additionally, Diving with Heroes' leadership team is comprised of disabled veterans who have been scuba diving for decades.

Since our inception in 2014 we have taken 10 excursions to the Cayman Islands (visiting both Grand and Little Cayman), Petit St. Vincent (a small island resort in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Utila (Honduras), and, most recently, Singer Island off Florida’s South Atlantic Coast. We have worked with 46 injured or disabled veterans from all branches of the armed forces (including the Coast Guard) and hailing from 19 states across the country. We have issued 87 dive-level certifications to our participants.

As an organization, we are growing to incorporate more structured training for our divers to better help them achieve their scuba objectives, whether it be preparation for a professional or technical track, or to improve their skills as a recreational diver. We also want to develop our domestic dive programs to provide more local options for diving.

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 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

  • 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

DIVING WITH HEROES
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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

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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.

DIVING WITH HEROES

Board of directors
as of 04/25/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jill Hottel

Diving with Heroes

Term: 2014 - 2022

Scott Vadnais

Daniel Crisp

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? Yes
  • 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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/18/2021

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
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
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

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/21/2021

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 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.