PLATINUM2024

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

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

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

EIN: 84-1068936


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

Mr. Chris Nelson

Main address

7193 S Dillon Ct

Englewood, CO 80112 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

84-1068936

Subject area info

Animal training

Human-animal interactions

Animal therapy

Family disability resources

Independent living for people with disabilities

Population served info

Children and youth

Adolescents

Caregivers

People with disabilities

Veterans

NTEE code info

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

Youth Development Programs (O50)

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

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

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

155 committed volunteers. The number of hours they log is vast because 120 of these volunteers are Puppy Raisers, who raise a puppy for 10-12 months in their homes, and others foster dogs-in-training

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 2023 we placed 30 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 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

172 FSD clients received follow-up support and training through post-placement follow-up, annual re-certification, ongoing training and FSDs 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, 90% 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

89% 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 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

  • 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

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

19.72

Average of 12.78 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

12.5

Average of 16.5 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

17%

Average of 18% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $2,638,328 $1,898,696 $1,333,057 $1,688,271 -$530,072
As % of expenses 84.4% 52.4% 34.2% 38.3% -9.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $2,375,633 $1,631,500 $1,069,346 $1,426,437 -$828,174
As % of expenses 70.1% 41.9% 25.7% 30.5% -14.4%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $6,040,585 $4,987,091 $5,020,638 $5,898,261 $5,427,824
Total revenue, % change over prior year 21.7% -17.4% 0.7% 17.5% -8.0%
Program services revenue 0.5% 0.6% 0.7% 1.2% 1.7%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.6% 0.4% 1.2% 2.1% 1.5%
Government grants 3.0% 6.9% 5.0% 14.7% 6.1%
All other grants and contributions 95.7% 91.7% 93.2% 82.0% 90.3%
Other revenue 0.3% 0.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.4%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $3,125,856 $3,626,644 $3,899,411 $4,412,299 $5,457,490
Total expenses, % change over prior year 18.6% 16.0% 7.5% 13.2% 23.7%
Personnel 53.4% 56.8% 60.5% 58.0% 60.3%
Professional fees 27.4% 24.6% 24.5% 24.9% 20.6%
Occupancy 4.8% 3.5% 3.4% 3.2% 2.9%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 14.3% 15.1% 11.7% 13.9% 16.2%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $3,388,551 $3,893,840 $4,163,122 $4,674,133 $5,755,592
One month of savings $260,488 $302,220 $324,951 $367,692 $454,791
Debt principal payment $648,253 $622,944 $0 $302,000 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $4,297,292 $4,819,004 $4,488,073 $5,343,825 $6,210,383

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 18.9 13.7 16.1 16.4 12.5
Months of cash and investments 19.1 19.8 22.5 23.0 16.9
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 17.3 18.8 20.5 22.2 16.5
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $4,933,632 $4,149,759 $5,247,757 $6,013,072 $5,706,187
Investments $34,298 $1,847,204 $2,068,851 $2,451,140 $2,002,077
Receivables $0 $54,124 $0 $0 $108,051
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $7,276,754 $7,392,232 $7,543,266 $7,697,774 $7,828,523
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 9.4% 12.9% 16.1% 19.2% 22.3%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 8.5% 3.6% 4.4% 1.4% 2.8%
Unrestricted net assets $10,271,222 $11,902,722 $12,972,068 $14,398,505 $13,570,331
Temporarily restricted net assets $310,322 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $310,322 $131,856 $103,012 $100,672 $100,412
Total net assets $10,581,544 $12,034,578 $13,075,080 $14,499,177 $13,670,743

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Documents
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President and CEO

Mr. Chris Nelson

Chris comes to FSD from Boulder-based nonprofit organization TGTHR, where he has served as CEO since 2018. During his 14 years at TGTHR, Chris's expertise in financial, operational, and program planning and management was instrumental in the success of the organization's mission to end youth homelessness. His background in leadership, mission-oriented growth, development, facilities expansion, and donor cultivation make him uniquely qualified to lead FSD into the future. “I am incredibly excited to be joining an organization that is truly passionate about their mission,” says Chris. “I am inspired by the mission of FSD because I have spent my entire adult life contributing to the improvement of circumstances for people in their daily lives. A service dog greatly enhances life for someone in need, and importantly, beyond that service is the lifelong relationship that a dog and human partnership fosters.” Adds Chris, “Everyone I have met at Freedom Service Dogs demonstrates friendly an

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Freedom Service Dogs, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 01/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this 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

Lani Kessler

Write Occasions

Peter Meyers

Black Creek Capital Markets

Brian Sward

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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

John DellaSalle

Tennison Group

William Foy

Spearhead Mortgage

Daniel May

Quitman Consulting

Al Hirshberg

VOR Advisors, Inc.

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
There are no contractors recorded for this organization.

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser