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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Training, Animals, Blind & Visually Impaired Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: Breed, raise, train and place guide dogs with vision impaired people mainly on the east coast of the u. S. We also place guide dogs with Veterans in all of US. These services are provided free of charge to the clients.

Results: Since our inception in 1992 Freedom Guide Dogs has placed 470 guide dog teams with currently 242 active teams.

Target demographics: Blind and Visually Impaired and those with additional disabilities to their blindness.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Training guide dogs for the blind. 40 dogs were placed with blind persons during 2019. With 25% having additional disabilities

Geographic areas served: East coast and all US for Veterans

Programs: Hometown Training and Special Needs Program

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can’t say enough wonderful things about the entire staff at Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind. Allot of love, hard work and dedication goes into the breeding, raising, training and placement of their sweet-tempered, well-mannered, confident guide dogs.

Through hometown training, Freedom gave me two great guide dogs that were willing and able to tackle anything I asked of them. They walked with their heads and tails held high, always ready for the next adventure. The more difficult the challenge, the more confident and fearless they became. With my Freedom dogs at my side, I became confident and fearless as well. My dogs truly changed my life.

Thank you Freedom Guide Dogs!!!

Kim O

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind is a wonderful organization. They are so dedicated and passionate about the work that they do and the clients they serve. From breeding to whelping to working with great volunteers who raise these puppies all the way to the trainers who formally train and successfully place the dogs with their handlers they are 100% dedicated in their mission.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Five years ago, I joined a knitting group. This is where I met Sue and her guide dog Lacey. We quickly became friends Unfortunately, a few years later Lacey passed away unexpectedly. Sue was devastated (actually, we all were). Sue began her search for another dog. As soon as Sue contacted Eric and he put his nose to the ground, he performed a miracle. He matched Sue with Braelyn! She is exactly what Sue needed. Sue was able to quickly resume her normal life with Braelyn at her side. They are a wonderful pair. Thank you, Eric, and Freedom Guide Dogs.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A good friend has a Freedom Guide Dog. The dog is an important element in allowing her to live a full and independent life. The dog came, well trained, but Freedom's trainer came to where my friend lives and worked with both their client and the guide dog to be sure that they could manage together in their regular setting. Getting to know the dog better, I find her to be the most loving animal I have known, but when it is time to go to work and the harness is on she is focused on what she has been trained to do. Hats off to Freedom Guide Dogs for going the second mile to assure a successful match of person and guide dog.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It's been 6 Months that Freedom Guide Dogs of Cassville NY connected my 20 year old son with Mateo ( Matty). Freedom Guide Dog Staff, Breeding Program, Training in my sons enviroment and Matty abilities that are consistent each day are no question five star. Eric Loori and his staff demonstrated there ability to adjust to the need of the individual - this takes special people. In this case for a young man with Down Syndrome. They likely didn't realize at the time the impact this would have for Mom and Dad in making some of our life task with a person with almost no sight better. Six months later to be able to go into a Walmart/Home Depot/Concert/Restaurant/Dr. Office/ Work ect.. with Ryan and Matty working independently and knowing that Matty can help find the steps and obstacles. The confidence for Ryan is obvious as he works thru his surrounding. From a parent I ask you to consider a charitable donation as it's easy to see the cost and expenses to provide this service - if you see a seeing eye dog work you'll know it was worth it. From a Dad Brian Townley

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a guide dog user for the past 52 years. I received Braelyn, my 7th dog, 2 1/2 years ago. Braelyn is my first dog from Freedom Guide Dogs, and she is a great dog in every way.
She is a beautiful animal, but more important than that, she is beautifully trained. I would highly recommend Freedom Guide Dogs for anyone wanting to receive a quality trained dog.
Sue Harden

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I currently live in a CCF where there is a sweet will behaved guide dog. I have learned that she was trained at Freedom Guide Dogs and I am amazed with her behavior and the ease with which she guides Sue through the maze of elderly people. Nadene

Client Served

Rating: 5

I became totally blind at age forty, and when I came to New York City, I decided that I needed to have a guide dog for mobility in the city. Previously I had been dependent upon either a sighted guide, or on my cane traveling skills that were never great and always made me uncomfortable. I tried two different guide dog schools, and after receiving both dogs, found them unreliable and not fit to work in the city. Ready to give up on getting a guide dog, a friend recommended Freedom Guide Dog. Within less than a year, I got Major, my lab who has changed my life. New York City is constantly filled with chaos, construction, traffic jams, and obstacles on the sidewalks. From the beginning, Major has been a calm, dependable, trustworthy guide dog that has not only traversed all of these issues, but has given me back my freedom and independence that I thought disappeared with my vision. The staff at Freedom Guide Dog has always bent over backwards to be helpful and supportive whether it is about a handling issue, or health question. I know other blind people in the city that have guide dogs supplied from other schools, and I can say , hands down, that Major is far superior to any of my previous dogs or those of my blind friends. Freedom Guide Dog Organization deserves all the accolades and support possible. In my opinion, they are one of the finest suppliers of guide dogs in the country.
Busser Howell

Pat S.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I became familiar with Freedom when my friend and former Talking Books volunteer Sue Harden of Bradenton, FL suddenly lost her beautiful dog Lacy. She was bereft and lost, not having been able to make the usual plans for a retirement and new companion. A reach out to Freedom brought Braelyn into her life in the best of time. so Braelyn has been a life saver to Sue and also to all her friends of whom there are many. Braelyn is a precious gift loved by all and she keeps a very active senior citizen engaged in her life and active in her community through various volunteer activities. She and Freedom have my gratitude and respect.

Lori K.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Major is a well trained beautiful guide dog. His bond with his owner Busser is amazing to watch. A bond I have never witnessed before. He offers my friend Busser the freedom to be independent and be cared for at the same time. I know my friend is safe with Major and that is something that is priceless to me.

Philip G.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an Adaptive ski instructor who is certified in blind skier instruction, I had the privilege of guiding Barry Honig at Windham Mountain, I saw first hand the extraordinary nature of Barry's Freedom Guide Dog, Xander. I have worked with hundreds of blind individuals and their guide animals. Freedom Guide Dogs is literally exceptional!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Xander, a guide dog trained by Freedom Guide Dogs, gives my blind husband the security to navigate safely through airports, cities, hotels, to his office or anywhere else he chooses to go, with or without a sighted person. The dog anticipates black ice on the pavement 30 feet away, and makes adjustments to avoid this and other hazards. He performs well on escalators, finds doors, elevators, and the right room at hotels when traveling for business and pleasure. I am grateful to Freedom Guide Dogs for giving Xander the exceptional training that gives my husband the independence to pursue his life’s goals and not be restricted by his inability to see. Xander, like other dogs trained by The folks at Freedom, is a life changer!

Donor

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a breeder of multiple Smooth Collies that have been accepted into the Freedom Guide Program. Seeing the difference my dogs make is very rewarding!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Kim. My freedom guide dog is GInny. I had no idea what a difference she would make in my life, but I can't imagine life w/o her. She has made it possible for me to go back to work, spend less time on worrying about where my feet are, and more time to enjoy my children instead when we are out. So very greatful for all they have done for me!! Thank you!!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I received my guide dog Crom from Freedom Guide Dogs in the Spring of 2018. When Crom arrived I also received home town training with him. Crom has helped me travel more easily and with greater confidence in my rural community. Thanks to Freedom Guide dogs, mobilitu has become much easier for me. Crom came to me with no cost because of those who generously donate to Freedom and the puppy raisers who give their time to raise puppies for the organization. I highly recommend this organization.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm currently raising my third Freedom Guide Dogs puppy (I've raised four other guide dog puppies from two other guide dog schools). I can't say enough good things about Freedom. They truly take the time to match the right dog with the right person. And when you make a donation to Freedom, your dollars really make a difference.

Eric & Sharon Loori work hard for a mission they believe in. When I donate to Freedom, my money is utilized for actual day-to-day expenses that keep the puppy program going (i.e. heartworm & flea prevention for puppies in training).

I couldn't be prouder than being a Freedom Guide Dog puppy raiser!

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been both a puppy raiser and donor for almost four years and I have nothing but good things to say about Freedom Guide Dogs.

Being a puppy raiser has been a very positive experience. Whenever I have a question or concern, the issue is addressed immediately. Alison (Freedom's Puppy Placement Specialist) will even contact me on nights, weekends or holidays. That is true commitment to the job. Having raised puppies with another guide dog school, I can tell you that kind of dedication is rare.

The first dog I raised for Freedom (Woz) has a very slow gait and a soft personality. I was thrilled when Freedom took the necessary time to find the perfect match--an elderly gentleman who also walks slow. And knowing they are a great team makes my heart burst with pride.

As far as being a donor is concerned, I feel that every penny I donate makes a huge difference. It costs Freedom $25,000 to breed, raise and train each guide dog. The other guide dog schools dogs costs twice that much. Why? Other guide dog schools transport the blind individuals to their schools, house & feed them and provide on-site nursing care. This costs a lot of money. With Freedom's Hometown Training program, blind individuals train in their home and work environment. This saves Freedom huge overhead costs.

What a fantastic organization I am proud to be a part of!

3 Jo Ann Horn L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i became involved with freedom guide dogs just over 6 years ago, when i became a puppy raiser. I read a lot of info on this organization and attended an open house to become more acquainted. I have to tell you i was hooked right from the start. This organization is a well-oiled machine. There was so much interaction between Sharon and Eric right from puppy raisers to trainers to the clients who receive the guide dogs. Freedom guide dog staff work tirelessly to make sure placements are a good fit, and if not they work harder to make sure the clients get what they need.

3 Amy D.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've known the folks at Freedom Guide Dogs for quite a few years. They are an amazing bunch. Focused on doing what's right for the dog as well as the person receiving the wonderful service dog. I've been a puppy raiser and a breeder dog care giver. Always answered my questions for training and anything I wasn't sure of. I hope to someday have time again to puppy raise. It was a fantastic experience and for a wonderful cause!

1

Client Served

Rating: 1

I had a guide dog two different times from Freedom Guide Dogs. Both dogs were returned. One dog jumped on everyone and everything and the other one walked so fast I was being dragged constantly plus it led me into traffic repeatedly. This was not the type of behavior I expected from a guide dog. It makes me scared to ever try to get a guide dog again. I was completely devastated both times that I had to return the dogs but they were not meeting my needs.

4 Roger S.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Freedom Guide Dogs does exactly what the name implies it gives Freedom. I received a guide dog Biesler in 2012. And that dog literally saved my life. And the best thing about Freedom Guide Dogs is they not only gave me one chance to get a dog through them they give me three chances and finally by the third chance I was able to get the boy I have now thank you Freedom Guide Dogs for all you do

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a puppy raiser for Freedom and they made the process to get involved simple and efficient. I am proud to be a part of this program.

3 Barb M.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have meet Freedom a few times. The most recent was at a fund raiser but that was a couple of years ago. They had a dog with them that was in training. She laid at their feet and just looked around. Towards the end of the night she was allowed out of harness and was able to greet people. I have friends that raise for them and the pups are well socialized and taken care of like their own. I have seen video of their dogs in action, they are truly amazing.

3 Mary S.10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have the honor of fostering one of the precious dogs for this organization. The team in Cassville is always available to answer questions and share their knowledge.
The kennel is clean and professional.

3 Patti Ann Page M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My multiple disabled daughter received her guide dog Erris from Freedom Guide Dogs and has become so much more independent and confident since placement in Oct of 2018. The amount of joy seeing my daughter Paige and her guide dog Erris working as a team is something that never wanes. The are a dynamic duo- thank you Freedom Guide Dogs - the name Freedom truly speaks for it self. Paige finally has freedom after 24 years thanks to Erris.

3 Kevin G.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are now raising out 2nd dog with Freedom (our 9th Guide Dog ever). The experience raising for Freedom is absolutely wonderful. They are beyond professional. Thank you for allowing us to join you as raisers.

3 Dennis E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have raised two guide dog puppies with Freedom and I am very happy to work with them. They know the right amount of help versus allowing raisers autonomy. I am also very happy they placed my first pup with a wonderful human and family who has really made the guide dog part of their family. Before raising for Freedom, I raised for another school that was hit or miss depending on the local and supervisory personalities involved. Freedom trusts me to raise the puppy right and gives me the support I need with no drama and no micromanagement. I'd definitely recommend them to anyone looking to volunteer to raise a dog.

2 Rebecca M.6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was a puppy raiser for this organization. They run a top notch nonprofit business. Helping people in need is not just what they do. They are breeding, raising, teaching, and training, dogs and people to help people. Thank you Freedom Guide dogs.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I don't know where to start when talking about Freedom....I use to train for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and let's just say they didn't treat their dogs who didn't qualify for the program very well and I swore I would never train again for them. I knew I wanted to train again but didn't know where to go until I ran into another trainer who trained for Freedom. I called them up and spoke directly to Sharon, she was wonderful and asked me when I wanted a puppy! The transition went so smoothly and I felt very comfortable with this organization. I have now trained for them for several years with great success! I love the way they are always available for questions or comments. They love and care for each and every one of thier dogs, if they make the program or not! They make sure they match the personalities of the dogs to the new owner as well. I could continue on but would run out of space saying how wonderful this organization is and they have added people who care as much as the owners to the staff! Keep up the great work Freedom, as I will always give you my best as Well!
Freedom rocked!
Rebecca Roe

3 Melissa T.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have now had two Guides with freedom and both are amazing. I have and would recommend this Guide school to anyone I know.

3 Beth Simpson B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family had the awesome opportunity to raise a white shepherd puppy for 14 1/2 months, getting him ready for guide training. Eric delivered Milo to us in Feb of 2017 and we turned him back over to Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind in April 2018. Freedom was a great organization to work with. They were very responsive to any questions or concerns we had, and provided necessary medications for our Milo, or were quick to reimburse us for any Veterinary expenses. The entire experience was fantastic, although heart wrenching when we had to hand him over. Freedom has kept us up to date on Milo's progress through the guide training, and he is actually in Japan finishing up with Freedom's sister organization. We still miss Milo but know he is going to provide an invaluable service to someone.

4 Jessie T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a disabled veteran battling PTSD every day. I contacted Freedom Guide Dogs about my specific situation. Although they do not provide PTSD service dogs, they made an exception due to my unique circumstances. They were able to place a service dog with me and I gained my life back. They chose to help me even though my disability was not their primary focus. The kind, caring, and compassionate associates and volunteers that make up Freedom Guide Dogs are continuously going above and beyond expectations. Thank you for giving me my life back.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ten years ago,my vision faded away, and so did my independence. Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind came to the rescue by providing a highly trained guide dog. Eric, the trainer, was patient and calm while teaching me to work as a team with Elliott, my first Freedom guide dog. Hometown training was convenient because I live in a very rural town and did not want to go to a training facility in an unfamiliar city to learn to work with a dog guide in surroundings that were also unfamiliar. Elliott and I were able to learn the streets, sidewalks, stores and offices that we would visit nearly every day. Having a guide dog from Freedom restored my confidence, independence and provided a four-legged companion with whom I could safely walk through daily life. Now, ten years later, Wags, a brilliant yellow Lab from Freedom, has replaced my dear Elliott. Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind provided much more than training and support - they offered an open door to live an active, meaningful life with joy and freedom.

4 Julie Houser L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Freedom Guide Dog school is very patient and very interactive with their clients they have given me three amazing guide dogs. Throughout this experience my Independence has become more confident

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our family has raised four puppies and served on the board of Freedom Guide Dogs. it is an amazing organization that not only helps the visually impaired but also our wounded veterans. I can’t say enough about this amazing organization.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We've been volunteers for Freedom Guide Dogs for over ten years. In that time we have served on the Board, been a volunteer grant proposal writer, worked on events and helped wherever we could. In that time we have seen the number of trained guide dogs per year increase each and every year. Donations are used to help more people each and every year while administrative expenses are kept to the bare minimum. If you want to donate the most help to clients from your each dollar you give, then Freedom Guide Dogs should be your charity.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Freedom Guide Dogs is an amazing organization. We have been puppy raisers for 7-8 years and have raised 6 guide dog pups, starting our 7th soon. They have many special qualities: exceptional breeding of beautifully tempered and intelligent English Labradors, Hometown Training which allows clients to be trained with their new guide dog in their own community, servicing of clients who are not only blind or visually impaired but also have secondary disabilities, providing Barbets and Standard Poodles for clients with allergies, and rising to the placement of about 40 guide dogs per year on a very modest budget. Co-founders Sharon and Eric Loori and very sensitive to the needs of their clients and go the extra mile to provide for them.

3 Katie Shepard S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband has been blind from birth. He waited for many years to get a guide dog due to the fact he could not be away from work for an extended period of time. We discovered Freedom Guide Dogs that offered Hometown Training, where they come to you. It was a godsend. My husband received his first dog Piper approximately 10 years ago. He guided my husband Bill faithfully until his retirement last year. Then Freedom placed Banner with my husband. He could not have been happier. He has performed perfectly. The Hometown Training made all the difference in the world. Would not for that, my husband would never have gotten a guide dog and would have been forever dependent on others.

4 Mike C.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Freedom Guide Dog gave me my life, independence, and mobility back. I lost my vision completely at age 40.. I had taken mobility several times, but always had problems veering when crossing streets. I used a sighted guide when necessary, but mainly just stayed home.
Finally I was forced to live alone. In preparation for that happening, I tried a guide dog from a famous New York state school. The dog was a wreck in NYC, and she lasted only four days. I waited another two years, went to Ohio to get another dog, and after three weeks was told the dog was not sound and I left that school thinking I would never get a guide dog. Upon my return, a blind friend told me about Freedom Guide Dog. I applied, and in only ten months got Major, my English Labrador. I have had him since 2012 and he has been the most wonderful, sound dog. He is never rattled by anything in the city. Traffic jams, construction sites, subway, or other dogs. With him, I can go to my doctors, meetings, bank, grocery store, and even theatre. I have another blind friend who got a dog from Freedom Guide Dog, and her experience has been just as positive. Erik, his wife, and staff are always willing to help and answer any questions or address any issues that I may have. In my opinion, Freedom Guide dog is the best suppliers of well trained,, superb guide dogs. I cannot speak highly enough of these people and their dogs. Having Major has given my independence, self-esteem, and sense of freedom back to me;I did not know how much of life I was missing until I got this priceless , free, gift. Thank you Erik, and everyone with Freedom Guide Dog.

Busser Howell

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It’s amazing the time and effort put into the training of these guide dogs and to be given at no cost to the blind. This is a great organization.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Alyssa was born blind and with autism. Having Xaverie by her side offers her comfort and the independence she needed while out in the community. Anytime we have questions, we have several contacts associated with Freedom to answer our questions. It’s a great organization and we are proud to be part of the Freedom family.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gosh! Where to begin? We are puppy raisers for Freedom, currently raising our 6th dog, Ozzy. A better, more compassionate and wonderful organization can't be found. They TOTALLY go out of their way to meet a client's needs. They work so hard-and accomplish so much. They have a wonderful relationship with all their workers, raisers and clients. We raised 10 dogs for another organization,-but this one is by far the most caring one, going way over the top to always help out, and be there for anyone who need them. They treat us all like extended family-and we all feel the same towards them!!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

For the past 20 years, Freedom has giving me the wonderful gift of independent travel. In 1995 I had spinal surgery with complications leaving me with multiple disabilities. Freedom was the only guide dog school that would consider matching me with a guide. The trainer worked with my balance and loss of strength issues and blindness. I am now working with Otter my 4th Freedom Guide Dog. I always tell people that I think that Freedom is the smallest school with the biggest heart. I could never thank the staff for the wonderful gift of independent travel.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I am involved with a host of charities, including those which assist blind and sight-impaired persons, and which attempt to assist veterans who have become disabled as a result of their military service. I also contribute (in varying amounts) to such similar groups as The Seeing Eye, Guiding Eyes for the Blind and The Guide Dog Foundation. All are superb organizations, and deserving of support.

That said, Freedom Guide Dogs, perhaps because of its "mom-and-pop" aspect, holds a special place for me. The dedication of FGD's founders, Eric and Sharon Loori, to the "cause" is beyond ability to find words to do it justice. Indeed, a critical aspect to FGD is that if a blind/sight-impaired person lacks the means to attend a "regular" guide dog school or has been rejected by another school (where space, sadly, but understandably is limited) because the person lacks the funds to attend or cannot live her home area (e.g. because she has young children) or has a second disability (e.g. deafness), Eric will travel LONG distances to train that student.

FGD's has many compelling stories to tell, but two especially come to mind. The first is of a blind woman with Downs Syndrome who had no friends or social outlets, and who -- to be blunt -- but a sad, pitiable case. Eric trained the woman to use a dog which gave the woman not just mobility -- even the ability just to walk around the block in nice weather -- but her best friend.

The second instance involved a young kid who enlisted in the army, went to Iraq, and was not just blinded by an enemy bomb, but lost his hands as well. That young man's life vanished and even his high school friends (understandably) were at a loss to bring any joy into his horribly afflicted life.

After surgeons at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center (I believe it was) performed a miracle by implanting prosthetic hands, Eric patiently and painstakingly trained the young man to use his artificial hands to hold the lease and harness of the guide dog which FGD provided to him.

I am not particularly religious, but in those and in other circumstances, Sharon, Eric and their few, overworked, unpaid assistants did "God's work."

Eric and Sharon live so modestly that I'm not even certain that they have health insurance for themselves and their three children (one of whom is their biological son, while the other two were adoptees, both of whom are somewhat autistic).

Freedom Guide Dogs simply is a great, worthy organization, and exactly what most people have in mind when they think of charities doing noble and selfless work.

Edward Hochman
Eshoch@aol.com,

Review from Guidestar

3

Donor

Rating: 5

THIS IS A GREAT ORGANIZATION AND A PLACE WHERE YOUR DONATION CAN REALLY MAKE A DIFERENCE.
I am a very skeptical and cynical New Yorker and have been very disappointed when I learned more about many well known and not so well known nonprofits. Freedom Guide Dogs, on the other hand, is a place where your money truly helps those in need.
We are not personal friends but I have met Eric Loori, who founded and runs this organization and can tell you he is a man with few needs in life other than helping others. He lives a modest life dedicated to his cause. As an example, when he has come to New York on official business, he searches for the most economical accommodations available and if someone's couch is available, he will take it. Your hard earned donations are NOT spent at The Four Seasons, as I suspect they are with many larger organizations.
Small size is another factor. As you can see by the filing, this is a real "mom and pop" sized organization. YOUR money can really make an impact.
Mr. Loori is a remarkable man. Once I saw him speak about solving the problem, engineering wise, of building the guide apparatus for a man who was not only blind but physically disabled as well. I don't know that I have even seen anyone happier than he was at that moment.
Please note, I am a donor but NOT AFFILIATED with this nonprofit in any other way.
Robert Braglia
New York City

Review from Guidestar