Canine Companions for Independence

Lead with Independence

aka Canine Companions   |   Santa Rosa, CA   |  www.canine.org

Mission

Founded in 1975, Canine Companions® is a non-profit organization that empowers people with disabilities to lead life with greater independence, thanks to partnership with an expertly trained service dog and a lifetime of support - entirely free of charge. Canine Companions is a national organization, serving people with disabilities in all 50 states of the United States.

Ruling year info

1979

Chief Executive Officer

Paige Mazzoni

Main address

2965 Dutton Avenue

Santa Rosa, CA 95407 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-2494324

NTEE code info

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Provide service dogs to as many veterans, adults and children with disabilities that we can.

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?

Breeding Program

Canine Companions provides service dogs and ongoing support, free of charge, to children, adults and veterans with disabilities. Breeder dogs and their puppies are the foundation of our program. We carefully select and breed Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses of the two after an intensive evaluation process. Our breeding program staff checks each dog's temperament, trainability, health, physical attributes, littermate trends and the production history of the dam and sire. Only then are the "best of the best" chosen as Canine Companions breeder dogs. Our breeders are cared for by volunteer breeder caretakers whom receive extensive support from staff, volunteers and the Breeder Caretaker Council. Upon retirement, Canine Companions breeders are spayed or neutered and stay with the breeder caretaker as a loving pet.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Volunteer puppy raisers provide purpose-bred puppies a safe home, take them to obedience classes, serve up a healthy diet, provide socialization opportunities and give lots of love. Each hour spent caring for a Canine Companions puppy is vital to its development as a future service dog. The puppy raising program provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to assist with our very important mission. Requirements include: Provide a safe environment for a puppy who will be the only dog under 1-year old in the house; Work closely with Canine Companions monitoring the puppy's progress and submit monthly reports; Attend Canine Companions approved obedience classes; Teach the puppy manners and basic commands; Provide financially for the puppy's food, medical and transportation expenses; Keep the puppy on a leash at all times unless in a securely fenced area; Supervise the young puppy throughout the day; Agree to return the puppy upon request.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

After the puppy raiser returns the dog to Canine Companions at approximately 14-16 months of age, the dog attends a six month training course with professional instructors at one of the six Canine Companions training centers. The first two weeks, dogs are screened, undergoing x-rays and medical tests as well as tests to evaluate their temperaments. Some dogs are released at this point due to medical or temperament problems. The others continue into training. The first 3-month semester reviews and builds upon the basic obedience commands the dogs learned as puppies. It is during this semester that the dogs begin to work around the wheelchair and learn the retrieve command. The second three-month semester finishes the commands the dogs will need to know to become a working service dog. They learn more than 45 commands and practice working in different environments.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

This intensive two-week session teaches the recipients proper care and handling the Canine Companions service dog. During team training, students learn the skills to command their new service dogs, also learning techniques to modify commands to meet their own particular needs. Each student must demonstrate the ability to provide for the dog's care and well-being as well as pass ADI (Assistance Dogs International) certification. They attend daily lectures, learn dog handling skills, practice public etiquette, and pass daily tests and quizzes. After the training session and public access testing, they attend a public graduation ceremony in which the puppy raiser passes the leash to the Graduate and the Graduate officially receives the Canine Companions service dog.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Canine Companions has a comprehensive follow-up program to ensure the ongoing success of its working teams. Throughout the working life of the dogs, graduates periodically return to campus with their dogs for workshops, seminars and reunions. In addition, Canine Companions instructors remain in close touch with graduates on an on-going basis through correspondence, reports and by providing advice via telephone and email. Instructors also travel into the field to conduct workshops and to resolve specific training or behavioral problems in the graduate's home and/or workplace environment. In a typical year, Canine Companions training staff meets one-on-one with over 1,000 teams for follow up.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Where we work

Accreditations

Assistance Dogs International 2021

Awards

Raise Awards Storyteller of the Year 2020

OneCause

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 placed during the year

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

People with disabilities

Related Program

Professional Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, despite the pandemic, 378 working dogs were placed, making it the 6th consecutive year that over 300 dogs were placed with people with disabilities.

Success rate of our dogs that become service dogs

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

People with disabilities, People with hearing impairments, Veterans

Related Program

Professional Training

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The 54 indicates a success rate of 54% - meaning 54% of the dogs entering professional training graduated and were placed w/a person w/disabilities.

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.

Our organization strives to place the highest quality service dogs with adults, children and veterans with disabilities. Our 2021 goal is to place over 300 service dogs, which would make it seven consecutive years that we have placed over 300 service dogs. Our program department is also committed to making graduate follow-up visits.

Our program strategy follows the procedures developed by our organization to prepare our dogs in professional training to be paired with children, adults, and veterans with disabilities. Each of our regional centers puts Team Training classes together, and holds at least four Team Training classes during the calendar year. In 2021, we have held 103 smaller Team Training classes across the country due to pandemic guidelines affecting size. The program goals set are based on our Long Range Plan that was approved by our Board of Directors.

Our fundraising strategy involves a multi-faceted program -- direct mail, online contributions, recurring giving, events, peer to peer fundraising, major/individual gifts, corporate partnerships, foundations, clubs and organizations, and planned giving. Our strategy is based on our Long Range Plan, which was approved by our Board of Directors. Our fundraising is supported by marketing campaigns that inform and educate the public -- these campaigns are done online, through social media, and through a variety of other media channels.

Our six regional centers have professional staff that provide professional training for our service dogs. This is after our dogs have been with volunteer puppy raisers for approximately 1.5 years. The training of our instructors and program staff ensures that the service dogs we provide free of charge to each graduate is prepared to be the partner of a person with disabilities.

Our fundraising team across the country utilize their training and experience to raise funds for the organization. Our fundraising efforts enable us to train and place more service dogs free of charge to people with disabilities.

In 2021, we've placed 286 service dogs so far, putting us on track to place between 310 to 320 service dogs. We have conducted more than 1,000 graduate follow-up visits, and anticipate reaching our follow-up services goal. Our work with veterans with PTSD continues, as we place service dogs at three of our regional centers - Northwest, South Central and Northeast. Our fundraising for the year has realized increases in special events, online donations, and major gifts, and planned gifts are tracking very well once again this year. The multi-faceted fundraising program has also seen thousands of first-time donors come to Canine Companions through a number of channels that include, but are not limited to special events, DogFests, tribute donations, corporate partnerships, online donations, monthly donors and sponsorships and grants.

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

    People with disabilities.

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

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), 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?

    In May 2021 we implemented a roll out of an updated brand. The logo eliminated a person in a wheelchair and replaced with a representation of a human. This was partially in response to feedback that our client base is more diverse in their disabilities and do not always utilize a wheelchair.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

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

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

    It has opened lines of communication between our constituents and staff.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, 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 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?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Canine Companions for Independence
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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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  • 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.

Canine Companions for Independence

Board of directors
as of 11/09/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. John McKinney

John McKinney

Bob Street

Pauline Parry

Genentech

Joann Elliott

John Ellott

Anne Gittinger

Mel Gottlieb

Response Systems International

Barrie Graham

Russ Gurevitch

John Hopen

Carolyn Hrach

Chris Kittredge

Jill Leverton

Juergen Rottler

Nancy Sawhney

Dennis Sproule

Leslie Hennessy

Jean Schulz

William White

Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Emily Williams

Ed Kinkeade

Steve Boyd

Robin Sanchez

Linda Maggs

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? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/8/2021

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

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/05/2021

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 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.
Policies and processes
  • 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 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.