Health—General & Rehabilitative


Connecting Hearts and Hooves

Bellefonte, PA


Rising Hope is a non-profit therapeutic riding program in Centre County. Our mission is to provide recreational and therapeutic riding which develops physical, cognitive, social and emotional well being through equine assisted activities to all individuals in need, helping participants to connect to the healing nature of the horse in a peaceful and nurturing environment.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Mrs. Cindy Lamey-Kocher

Main Address

388 Reese Rd

Bellefonte, PA 16823 USA


Equine, Healing, Veterans, Special Needs





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Rehabilitative Medical Services (E50)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Rural (S32)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Rising Hope has the opportunity to serve additional participants, however, these families do not have the financial means to cover the cost of the lessons. A scholarship fund would help families and individuals who have a loved one with a diagnosis requiring the healing benefits that equine assisted activities provide.

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

Veterans' Program and Therapeutic Riding

Where we work

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?

Our mission is to serve our community by providing recreational and therapeutic riding contributing positively to the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional well-being of individuals through equine assisted activities. Research since the 1970s proves that quality therapy using the horse as a tool increases quality of life for people with low tone, Autism, Down's Syndrome, Brain Injury, PTSD and other diagnoses. People four years to 50 years old of low to middle income benefit from our program at this time. Goals for 2019 are based on past growth, individuals served, utilization of horses and financial increase. Rising Hope's goals for 2019 are to complete our Outdoor Arena using the generous grant funds from the JB Griffin Memorial Foundation. This arena will allow us to reach another goal of adding Group Therapy Sessions for participants with like needs. Stage ll of our Outdoor Arena Project includes replacing our manure spreader, updating our tack and completing indoor arena repairs. This project will give the horses a safe place to be outside to exercise. Horses need mental and physical rest after working for thier allotted lessons. The good health of the horses is paramount to our programs.

Rising Hope has a wonderful volunteer team of 25 active volunteers serving in various capacities. In 2018 over 500 documented hours were clocked by our volunteers. The Board of Directors consists of five dedicated professionals, as well as, the volunteer Development Committee. The Committee meets each month to plan and discuss fundraising efforts. These include Marianna's Hoagie and Pizza sales, Chicken BBQ dinners, Grange Fair table, Tractor Supply, Bingo, Veteran awareness, and Paint-n-Sip. Our program also has a presence in community outreach events such as the Centre Region Down's syndrome Society Buddy Walk, Juniper Village, Elementary School's class for students on the Autism spectrum, and the State College Spikes Baseball game. Our Board members have distributed sponsor packets to invite business owners and individuals to sponsor our horses on a monthly basis. Quality care for our horses is priority for our board, staff, and volunteers.

Rising Hope has an Executive Director, Board, and volunteers who are committed to serving our participants with excellence. The presence of our organization is growing through presentations, social media, and community fundraisers. This presence has connected our staff with additional volunteers and prospective instructors for the program. Our financial needs are a challenge which we handle through our Development Committee, grant proposals, and community fundraising as listed in the "strategies" essay above. Volunteer and in-kind labor has been instrumental in getting Rising Hope established and thriving. Persistence underwrites our passion to see healing in those we serve.

Rising Hope has a policy of evaluating each participant upon their first lesson. Our instructor maintains files which indicate set goals and achievements throughout each semester. Parents of children contribute to these records by relaying the improvements of emotional or physical development to volunteers and the instructor. The Board meets monthly to review goals, strategies and the progress of our three program areas: Therapeutic Riding, Equine Essence, and the Veterans Program. Also reviewed are the training opportunities for our volunteers. Each volunteer must have training to work in the Rising Hope organization. Our instructor is PATH certified and offers training hours to other student instructors as well as to the volunteers. Our Executive Director, Board, and Development Committee join in working toward long term sustainability.

Rising Hope was officially founded in November of 2015. As we begin our second semester of 2019 we see what was formerly a vision become a reality. A facility available to care for our horse population and provide lessons to community members with special needs, emotional needs and physical disabilities. Twenty five participants benefiting from quality therapy improving their daily living. Volunteers and staff experiencing social and emotional healing as they interact with the horses and participants. The horses are the catalysts to connect hearts and hooves impacting not only participants, but their families and Rising Hope staff as well. People from our community extending their support by volunteering for one event or on a weekly basis. These people may also offer in-kind services such as driveway grading and gravel or preparing food for a fundraising event. The vision of two women becoming an active center for healing. Much progress achieved within a short period of time with character and excellence.

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: focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), instructor surveys after lesson.
How is the organization using feedback?
We use feedback to: 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.
With whom is the organization sharing feedback?
We share feedback with: our staff.
What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?
It is difficult to: it is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback.

External Reviews




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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


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?



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



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?