Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

aka Freedom Service Dogs of America   |   Englewood, CO   |  www.freedomservicedogs.org

Mission

At Freedom Service Dogs, we transform lives by partnering people with custom-trained assistance dogs. We envision a world where individuals have the freedom to live their lives to the fullest with a custom-trained assistance dog by their side. Our clients include children, veterans and active-duty military, and other adults. Their disabilities include autism, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Notes from the nonprofit

FSD Clients include children, veterans and active duty military, and other adults with disabilities such as autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. FSD Dogs can open doors, pick-up items, pull wheelchairs, go for help, turn on lights, and 50 other commands; enhance social interaction for our clients; assist in programs for humane education, disabilities awareness, character development for at-risk youth, and rehabilitation therapy.

Ruling year info

1988

President and CEO

Ms. Michele Ostrander

Main address

7193 S Dillon Ct

Englewood, CO 80112 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

84-1068936

NTEE code info

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

Youth Development Programs (O50)

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

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

In the year 2018, an estimated 12.6 % of people the United States reported a disability. life changing service dogs are trained to mitigate a person's specific disability and help people with various tasks such as pulling their wheelchair, retrieving items, leading, pulling open doors and drawers, providing bracing and balance, and alerting the handler for danger. In the year 2018, 27.9 % of veterans reported having a service-connected disability, many of these veterans, especially post-911 veterans, experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Every day an estimated 17 veterans die by suicide. In many cases the suicide is precipitated by crippling depression, a symptom of PTSD . A Service Dog for PTSD can help lessen the trauma associated with triggering events and going in public. An assistance dog for a person with PTSD is taught behaviors that help people with PTSD to better cope with fear and anxiety. (https://www.disabilitystatistics.org/reports/acs.cfm?statistic=10)

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?

Client-Dog Team Program

The Client-Dog Team Program is FSD’s ongoing core program that pairs a person with a disability with a highly trained assistance dog. Our clients have a range of disabilities, including autism, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or a spinal cord injury. Our dogs assist their human partners with various tasks, including retrieving and carrying objects, opening and closing doors, operating lights, pushing 911 and lifeline buttons, providing brace and balance while walking, and other specialized tasks needed by the client.

Our professionally trained assistance dogs are custom trained to meet the needs of their clients, which can take between 18 to 24 months. The cost to train an FSD assistance dog is between $30,000 to $50,000. FSD recognizes the valuable service canine partners provide to persons with disabilities, so dogs are provided to clients at no cost. This practice demonstrates our commitment to providing assistance dogs to all clients whose quality of life will be positively impacted regardless of their financial situation.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Freedom Service Dogs (FSD) developed Operation Freedom to help returning veterans and military personnel transition from active duty combat to civilian life. We provide service members and veterans with highly specialized assistance dogs to help them find a new level of independence in their post-combat lives. Many returning military personnel and veterans face various challenges, including PTSD, depression, isolation, and inactivity.

The highly-trained assistance dogs help with various tasks, including picking up dropped items, getting out of bed, opening doors, and calling for help. Assistance dogs can calm the individual during nightmares or disturbing flashbacks and provide security in crowds.

Population(s) Served
Veterans

The school-based Pawsitive Connections (PC) program focuses on children and youth's empathy development and prosocial skills. In a classroom environment moderated by a school-based mental health professional and FSD interns, the youth and the dogs build skills that help them help others, providing a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Students participate in training exercises that help instill respect, responsibility, empathy, positive communication, patience, self-control, and social skills.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adolescents

Freedom Service Dogs (FSD) partnered with the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection and the Graduate School of Social Work to create a professional therapy dog program. This program creates an opportunity for us to pair dogs with licensed therapists around the country, working to assist those in their community in need of therapeutic support. We place the dogs with professionals who are already practicing therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and social workers.

FSD selects the dogs for this program based on temperament. For example, we look for dogs that love attention and affection from people. FSD’s professional trainers train the dogs in basic and advanced obedience. Once the dogs meet a certain standard, they are matched with therapists. Once the team passes the Canine Good Citizenship test, the dog is certified by FSD as a professional therapy dog, and the team is free to pursue their joint career!

Population(s) Served
Caregivers
Adolescents
Children
Preteens

Where we work

Accreditations

Assistance Dogs International Inc. 2020

Charity Navigator 2020

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 volunteers

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

People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, we had 735 active volunteers who logged 27,505 hours of service; the equivalent of 13 full time employees.

Number of clients placed

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

People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020 we placed 24 service dogs. 12 were matched with veterans, 5 with individuals with mobility disabilities, 4 with clients with autism, and 3 with professional therapists.

Number of participants counseled

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Victims and oppressed people

Related Program

Pawsitive Connections

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We suspended our Pawsitive Connection program for the 2020-2021 school year due to pandemic-related restrictions. We are re-launching the program for the 2021-2022 school year.

Number of clients who received lifetime support services

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

People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

195 FSD clients received follow-up support and training through post-placement follow-up, annual re-certification, ongoing training and FSD’s advocacy efforts on behalf of people with disabilities.

Percentage of clients who report increased quality of life

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

People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In surveys of clients who have had their service dogs for a 1-year period, 83% report increased independence, self-esteem, social interactions, and overall quality of life.

Number of clients who show a measurable decrease in PTSD symptoms

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

Military personnel, Veterans, People with disabilities

Related Program

Operation Freedom

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

71% of veterans surveyed 1 year after service dog acquisition will report a clinically meaningful decrease in PTSD symptoms. The result was affected by the pandemic-related isolation.

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.

Freedom Service Dogs transforms lives by partnering people with custom-trained assistance dogs. We envision a world where individuals have the freedom to live their lives to the fullest with custom-trained assistance dogs. Our clients include veterans and active-duty military, children, and adults with disabilities, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress. Freedom Service Dogs wishes to increase the quality of life, community integration, social, and family life for people with disabilities by the use of the human-animal bond. Since 1987 Freedom Service Dogs has paired over 500 client-dog teams at no cost to the client.

Freedom Service Dogs (FSD) seeks to become the leader in the service dog field by building strong collaborations with diverse local and national organizations. Assistance Dogs International (ADI), is a crediting body for service dog organizations, and FSD is one of only two ADI accredited organizations in Colorado. Other collaborations include the world-renown Craig Hospital for rehabilitation of spinal cord and other mobility injuries. In addition, FSD advocates for people with disabilities, veterans and children on the autism spectrum in local, regional and national legislative forums.

Freedom Service Dogs seeks to continually improve the the quality of the dogs we graduate. The two factors are the quality of the dogs themselves and the quality of the dog training. FSD has launched an in-house breeding program to supplement other ways of sourcing service dog candidates, such as donations from other service dog organizations and from carefully vetted breeders. In-house breeding program will give us better control over the health, temperament and early socialization of our dogs. In addition, we continue to refine our positive reinforcement (clicker-training) training methods for our service dogs in-training.

Freedom Service Dogs seeks to build engaged, diverse and knowledgeable staff, board of directors and volunteer body. A key strategy is increasing the opportunities for professional development, such as pet CPR and first-aid training and attending the annual Clicker Expo. In addition, an inclusiveness committee was recently convened to come up with a plan to to increase the diversity of our staff, clients and volunteers.

Freedom Service Dogs is one of two accredited ADI-member programs in Colorado. All service dog graduates must be in compliance with all ADI training standards, such as: the service dog must respond to commands (basic obedience and skilled tasks) from the client 90% of the time on the first ask (in all environments); the service dog must be trained to perform at least three visibly identifiable tasks to directly mitigate the client’s disability. FSD's clients must be able to demonstrate knowledge of acceptable training techniques, an understanding of canine care and health, the ability to maintain training and problem solve, continue to train/add new skills, and knowledge of local access laws and appropriate public behavior. FSD is the only ADI certified program in Colorado that trains service dogs for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and physical disabilities.

Freedom Service Dogs has a knowledgeable staff, with subject matter experts in leadership positions, who continue to engage the staff in in-house continuing education, such as the "Veteran Ready" designation, which FSD earned when 80%+ of the staff had covered the assigned curriculum.

Freedom Service dogs has a state-of -the art 22,000-square-foot dog training facility, with 74 spacious indoor kennels and 60 spacious outside kennels. The design is fully ADA accessible and took into consideration clients' needs, such as windows, mirrors and an open floor plan to mitigate our clients PTS symptoms. The FSD training facility consists of a 5,256-square-foot training area, including a mock home and
airplane spaces. The home space is designed to model a home or apartment and is utilized to simulate training tasks such as opening and closing cabinet drawers, opening and closing a refrigerator to retrieve items, opening and closing laundry machines, helping a person out of bed, waking a person from nightmares, pulling the sheets to make the bed or remove bedding, scanning the perimeter of a room, and more. The training area also includes power chairs and other adaptive equipment, such as crutches, walkers, airplane seats, and manual wheelchairs, to familiarize the dogs with various equipment.

FSD has been a trusted partner, serving people with disabilities in Colorado for over 30 years, and as such has positively impacted the quality of life and levels of independence for more than 500 clients and their families. In 2020, FSD provided custom-trained service dogs to 24 individuals living with disabilities. These individuals included 12 veterans, 5 individuals with physical disabilities, 3 individuals with autism or other neurocognitive differences, and 4 professional therapy dog was placed with a mental health professional, who works with clients in school and private practice settings.

In 2020, FSD provided Lifetime support services to 195 new and former clients, which reflects the increased need for lifetime support services among our clients. . These services included but were not limited to additional training assistance, assistance with enrolling in Veterans Administration support programs for service dog owners, and re-certification for public access test. The FSD client services team reports an even bigger need for support services in 2020 due to the coronavirus, which is causing added stress to our clients and their canines, in terms of mental health, finances, and worst of all, causing re-traumatizing effects amongst our clients with past experience of trauma.

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 collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • 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?

    Freedom Service dog started an Inclusiveness Committee to plan out how to engage more diverse staff, clients, and volunteers. As a result of the inclusiveness Committee and creating a new strategic plan 2022-2024, we have adopted a new diversity statement: We believe in harnessing the power of diversity to create a culture of belonging where all individuals are celebrated and valued for their unique ideas, perspectives, and strengths as a means to achieving personal excellence and organizational success.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • 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 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, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome,

Financials

Freedom Service Dogs, 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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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.

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 8/19/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Michelle Search

Jefferson Wells Management Group

Term: 2021 - 2024


Board co-chair

Ms. Lani Kessler

Write Occasions

Term: 2020 - 2023

Gabriel Koroluk

Wealth Management Portfolio Manager

Lani Kessler

Write Occasions

Brian Frevert

Retired, CPA/CFP

Peter Meyers

Black Creek Capital Markets

Brian Sward

Jackson National Life Distributors, LLC

Noel Wickwar

Morgan Stanley

Tom Krysa

Foley & Lardner LLP

Keith Trammell

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP

Kristen Deevy

Pensionmark Financial Group

Laura Fitch

Centura Health-Porter Adventist Hospital

Melissa Morrow

First Bank

Michelle Search

Jefferson Wells Magement Company

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 8/19/2021,

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

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/19/2021

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.