Atlas Assistance Dogs

​Because anyone who would benefit from a qualified assistance dog should be able to have one

Bellevue, WA   |  www.atlasdog.org

Mission

Atlas fundamentally expands access to assistance dogs. We support people with disabilities to train and certify their own service dog using positive, ethical training methods. At Atlas, we believe anyone who would benefit from a qualified assistance dog should be able to have one.

Ruling year info

2016

President

Jennifer Kolar

Main address

PO Box 525

Bellevue, WA 98009 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

81-1852987

NTEE code info

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

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

There are many good Service Dog programs which breed, train and place dogs with people with disabilities. Unfortunately, they can not meet the demands of all the people who qualify for an assistance dog. Atlas has designed a service dog training program to put more qualified service dog trainers into the field. Atlas will also help an owner train their own dog. We work with all different breeds of dogs and are not limited to a specific group of people with disabilities. We treat all people and all dogs ethically, compassionately, and as individuals. We partner with trainers, doctors, patients, and researchers to ensure that we employ the most ethical, scientific, and effective training approaches available with each person and each dog in our program. We stay in contact with our clients to ensure the client and dog are happy and healthy throughout their working years together.

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?

Handler/Dog Service Dog Teams

Certification means that Atlas has confirmed through testing, training, and documentation that:

The dog and handler can work safely and appropriately in public places

The client meets the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act

The dog and handler have been trained to work effectively as a team and the dog has specially trained skills that directly mitigate limitations of the client’s disability

The dog is healthy and able to do the work

The dog is being treated well, and all the dog’s needs are met (including food, health, exercise, and companionship)

The dog and handler team are trained to recognized international standards

The client uses only positive, non-aversive training methods in compliance with Atlas’ Training Policy

Population(s) Served
Adults

Atlas certifies qualified individuals as Atlas Certified Trainers. To be certified, trainers must demonstrate proficiency in training, ability to work effectively with people with disabilities, and commitment to Atlas’ values of openness and inclusion as well as ethical and humane treatment for people and dogs. They must demonstrate a commitment to continuing their education and advancing the standards of service dog training.

The Atlas Certified Trainer is fundamental to the success of the dog/handler teams certified by Atlas. While we typically talk about the Atlas-certified trainer as a “service dog trainer” or “assistance dog trainer,” the Atlas-certified Trainer goes well beyond this. They help help fit the service dog into the handler’s life and guide the handler and dog to work as a team to help mitigate the handler’s disabilities.

Atlas Certified Trainers also receive benefits from certification, including:

Ability to have dogs and people they have trained certified by an organization that holds established and recognized high standards. You do the training; we handle the certification.
Proof of high level of skill and quality as service dog trainer
Ability to advertise as an Atlas-certified Training Partner
Promoted in Atlas Trainer registry and Atlas materials
Clients become eligible for grants from Atlas to use toward training expenses
Network for brainstorming and professional support for themselves and their clients
Continued education and excellence
Part of the effort of expanding access to qualified service dogs

Population(s) Served
Adults

Atlas Team Facilitators work hands-on with clients for the six months prior to their certification, helping them introduce and refine their dog’s disability-mitigating tasks, develop the necessary skills for public access, practice self-advocacy, enhance their knowledge about service dog and general disability laws, and work through any challenges the team may encounter. Atlas Team Facilitators are how we ensure our clients are well supported and properly prepared for certification. ​As an Atlas Team Facilitator, you have the opportunity to support and encourage people with disabilities who are working on their own to train their dog as their service dog. Some of our clients train their dog entirely on their own, although most work with a professional trainer.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Though many disabled people can and want to participate in the training of their own service dog, starting fresh with a puppy or young adolescent is not always a viable option. This can be for a variety of reasons. Raising a puppy may take far too great of an emotional toll. An untrained puppy or adolescent may actually be a hazard or danger for someone with limited mobility or other type of disability. And working with a private trainer in the early stages of training may simply be inaccessible.

Also, just finding and starting off with the right puppy can be incredibly difficult. Not all dogs can be service dogs and it is important to know what traits to look for in a puppy when looking for your candidate. Understanding what to look for in a breeder is also crucial. These are all complex processes and navigating this system is not the right path for everyone. And that’s okay!

Assistance Dogs Set in Motion™ is for the person who can work with a slightly more mature and skilled dog.

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 clients who self-report increased skills/knowledge after educational program/intervention

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

Adults, Children and youth, Ethnic and racial groups, Health, Family relationships

Related Program

Handler/Dog Service Dog Teams

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is our 5th year to have certified dog teams.

Number of animal clinics/shelters improved as a direct result of the nonprofit's efforts

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

Adults

Related Program

Dog Trainer Certification

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of job skills training courses/workshops conducted

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

Adults

Related Program

Dog Trainer Certification

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

All of our trainers, clients, staff and volunteers have gone through extensive programs and training to become part of the Atlas Team.

Number of applicants applying for service dogs

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

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

Handler/Dog Service Dog Teams

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We receive numerous requests for already trained service dog. Atlas does not breed and train dogs. We help people, who qualify under the ADA requirements to train their own dogs to be service dog.

Number of trained volunteer dog-and-handler teams

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

Adults

Related Program

Handler/Dog Service Dog Teams

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goal is to make sure everyone who medically qualifies for an Assistance Dog will be able to obtain one. We are working to train more Assistance Dog trainers to help fill the need for training. We are training, at no cost, team facilitators to work hand in hand with the clients and trainers to ensure the best results for everyone.

We are fund raising and working on grants to help offset all costs associated with training. Plus, Atlas Assistance Dogs is the only organization that will work with all breeds of dogs, certifies qualified privately owned dogs, is not limited to a specific group of people or people with a specific disability, enables training and certification in any location and expands available training and certification resources.

One of biggest programs will be our Assistance Dog Training program. Atlas certifies qualified individuals as Atlas Certified Trainers. To be certified, trainers must demonstrate proficiency in training, ability to work effectively with people with disabilities, and commitment to Atlas' values of openness and inclusion as well as ethical and humane treatment for people and dogs. They must demonstrate a commitment to continuing their education and advancing the standards of service dog training.

The Atlas Certified Trainer is fundamental to the success of the dog/handler teams certified by Atlas. While we typically talk about the Atlas-certified trainer as a “service dog trainer" or “assistance dog trainer," the Atlas-certified Trainer goes well beyond this. They help help fit the service dog into the handler's life and guide the handler and dog to work as a team to help mitigate the handler's disabilities.

Atlas is made up of innovators. We are teachers, trainers, doctors, technologists, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, scientists, clients, investors, business people, and most of all, people who want to make a positive change in the world. We are not insular; we take advantage of the best in each of us. We have put together a team to be able to train, work with people with disabilities and fund raise.

We have our programs in place for client/dog teams, trainers, facilitators and volunteers. We have a solid board and many supporters that are backing our organization. We now have a full on-line course for experienced dog trainers to become certified assistance dog trainers. We are partnering with breeders to be able to offer qualified candidate assistance dogs to clients. We are growing our outreach and communication programs.

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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Atlas supports the individual who wants to and is able to be an active part of training their own dog. Our Atlas Team Facilitators are skilled volunteers who assist clients who are working to train their own service dog, either entirely on their own or with a trainer. The facilitators guide the team (client and their dog) through their final six or more months of training, working with them to refine the dog’s performance, develop the dog’s skills in mitigating the client’s disability, and prepare the team to pass our public access test and work with confidence in all settings they frequent. We are also working to address a critical shortage of qualified service dog trainers through a comprehensive online program designed to prepare experienced dog trainers to train service dogs and work

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Atlas has updated their all policies to include ethical practices.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    It has made us more aware.

  • 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 look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), 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

Atlas Assistance Dogs
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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.

Atlas Assistance Dogs

Board of directors
as of 3/4/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Jennifer Kolar

Atlas Assistance Dogs

Term: 2020 - 2023


Board co-chair

Mr. Mark Nowicki

Atlas Assistance Dogs

Term: 2020 - 2023

Jennifer Kolar

Monsoon Solutions

Michael Kolar

Jessica Bhuyian

World Without Hate

Erin Peterson

Mark Nowiki

Joanna Mantello

Vulcan, Inc

Beth Mantis

Meryl Redisch

Jenny Kachnic

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 ? 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? 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 11/30/2021

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
Female
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/14/2021

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 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 analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • 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.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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 use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • 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 measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.