Human Services

Free Wheelchair Mission

  • Irvine, CA
  • www.freewheelchairmission.org

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide the transforming gift of mobility to the physically disabled poor in developing countries, as motivated by Jesus Christ.

Main Programs

  1. Wheelchair Program
  2. Leading Partner Program
  3. Gifts In Kind
  4. Transformation Investigation

service areas

International

Self-reported by organization

Areas Served Narrative

Free Wheelchair Mission is an faith-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs for persons with physical challenges in developing nations. Working in concert with a network of like-minded, humanitarian groups, FWM has sent over 844,000 wheelchairs to 91 countries around the world, delivering not only the gift of mobility, but dignity, independence and hope. FWM provides wheelchairs to people in need and does not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexuality.

Self-reported by organization

ruling year

2002

Principal Officer since 2001

Dr. Don W. Schoendorfer

Self-reported by organization

Keywords

relief, disability, physical challenges, international, wheelchair, mobility, crippled, immunization, faith-based

Self-reported by organization

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EIN

31-1781635

 Number

1854117485

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Patient Services - Entertainment, Recreation (E86)

International Human Rights (Q70)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

FWM recognizes the link between disability and poverty is a powerful one. Specially designed for rugged terrain, our wheelchairs are meant to be used in some of the most challenging rural and urban landscapes the developing world can offer. To date we have provided more than 844,000 wheelchairs to individuals in 91 countries around the world, free of charge.

Programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Wheelchair Program

Free Wheelchair Mission is a humanitarian, faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities living in developing nations. In collaboration with a network of like-minded partners, FWM has sent more than 844,000 wheelchairs to people in 91 countries, providing dignity, independence and hope through the gift of mobility.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Budget

$4,982,529.00

Population Served

Other Named Groups

Other Named Groups

Program 2

Leading Partner Program

One of Free Wheelchair Mission's strategic priorities is to strengthen our distribution partner network. One way this is done is to provide ongoing training for international wheelchair providers on proper wheelchair service and delivery. The Leading Partner Program provides unique service opportunities for those with backgrounds in physical and occupational therapy who serve alongside trained staff members on a volunteer basis. Leading Partner Program participants receive instruction on wheelchair assembly, maintenance and fitting, as well as identifying the various causes and manifestations of disability. Additionally, participants receive training on wheelchair use, transfers, exercises, and proper pressure relief techniques.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Budget

$51,200.00

Population Served

Other Named Groups

Other Named Groups

Program 3

Gifts In Kind

In 2012, FWM launched a successful pilot program providing mobility aids and orthopedic medical supplies for recipients when it is evident a wheelchair is not the best solution. FWM can expand the gift of mobility to many more families as we partner with selected hospitals to provide much needed operations. These operations frequently eliminate the need for a wheelchair. In other cases, even though a wheelchair is still necessary, a person's quality of life is greatly improved.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Budget

$1,665,000.00

Population Served

Other Named Groups

Physically Disabled nec

Other Named Groups

Program 4

Transformation Investigation

Our Transformation Investigation is a longitudinal study of 600 Free Wheelchair Mission recipients across 3 countries, Peru, Uganda, and Vietnam. The purpose of this investigation is to quantify the impact that a wheelchair can make on a person's life by looking at 8 areas of transformation: Education, Financial, Social, Psychological, Physical Health, Mobility, Spiritual, and overall wheelchair durability. To do this, we have hired three native, in-country, college educated, analysts who interview the wheelchair recipients every 6 months. Each time, the analyst will ask the recipient (or their care taker) a series of questions regarding the wheelchair, their experience with the wheelchair, and the ways in which it has changed their life.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Budget

$60,000.00

Population Served

Other Named Groups

Other Named Groups

Charting Impact

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

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Our goal is to provide mobility to those with disabilities in developing countries. During the current fiscal year, our goal is to distribute almost 60,000 wheelchairs in many different countries around the world.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Our team is working hard with our partners to meet the needs in each area to the best of our ability. Not only are we distributing wheelchairs, but we are also providing additional training to our distribution partners to make sure that each wheelchair is adjusted and maintained properly.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    We have partners all over the world that greatly increase our ability to get wheelchairs to those in need. We heavily rely on their hard work and reporting in order to provide mobility to as many people as possible.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    We use a very thorough reporting system to track the number of wheelchairs distributed and we also have staff in different locations conducting surveys with many wheelchair recipients in order to constantly improve our wheelchairs and the lives of those who receive them.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We have come a long way since 2001. We have now distributed over 700,000 wheelchairs in developing countries around the world. There are still millions of people with disabilities in need of a wheelchair. We continue to strive to reach everyone possible, but we still have a long way to go. With the generous support of our donors, we continue to make progress and have faith that one day no one will have to crawl on the ground anymore.

service areas

International

Self-reported by organization

Areas Served Narrative

Free Wheelchair Mission is an faith-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs for persons with physical challenges in developing nations. Working in concert with a network of like-minded, humanitarian groups, FWM has sent over 844,000 wheelchairs to 91 countries around the world, delivering not only the gift of mobility, but dignity, independence and hope. FWM provides wheelchairs to people in need and does not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexuality.

Self-reported by organization

Funding Needs

Free Wheelchair Mission's vision is to be a world-class provider of mobility, transforming the lives of 100,000 people in 2014. With an estimated 100 million people around the world today in need of a wheelchair without the means to get one, FWM strives to distribute over 100,000 chairs annually, and continues to pursue our goal to distribute one million chairs by 2017. Free Wheelchair Mission continues its focus and commitment on becoming a leading provider of mobility in developing nations, but beyond placing recipients in a wheelchair, FWM is bringing transformation that opens doors to education, employment opportunities and community that these individuals only dreamed of before receiving the gift of mobility. For only $77.91 you can give someone the wheelchair they're waiting for; providing not only mobility, but independence, hope and dignity.

Affiliations + Memberships

Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability - Member

Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability - Member

Accreditations

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)

Charity Navigator

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External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Free Wheelchair Mission
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

Free Wheelchair Mission

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Dr. Don W. Schoendorfer

BIO

Don Schoendorfer is a biomedical engineer who makes his home in Santa Ana, California, with his wife and three daughters. He has an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Professionally, Don has headed R&D Departments in numerous biomedical companies including Haemonetics and Baxter Healthcare. He holds more than 50 U.S. Patents in the field of medical technology and pioneered practical transdermal diagnostics as well as blood cell separation technology. About 15 years ago Don turned his God-given and MIT-developed engineering talents to solving the problem of immobility in developing nations. There are over 100 million disabled adults and children in the developing world, many of whom are poor and isolated. The causes of disability range from diseases that have been eradicated elsewhere, to injuries from land-mines and war. For many of these people, medical aid is simply not available - adaptive equipment is even scarcer. Dr. Schoendorfer devised an answer to the need for mobility: a low-cost, high-durability wheelchair made from a resin lawn chair, metal tubing, and bicycle tires dubbed the GEN_1. This innovative solution to a pressing problem can be manufactured, shipped and delivered at a low cost. In 2010 FWM introduced the GEN_2 wheelchair: an evolution of the iconic GEN_1 design, which is designed to be a more adaptable, but still low-cost, version of its predecessor. Articles have been written about Free Wheelchair Mission by USA Today, Readers Digest, The Orange County Register, The Los Angeles Times and People Magazine. Don was personally honored with the Above and Beyond Citizen Award by the White House Congressional Medal of Honor Society; one of three individuals selected to receive the honor in 2008 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, for the work that Free Wheelchair Mission has done around the world.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Our mission is to transform lives through the gift of mobility as motivated by Jesus Christ. Our wheelchairs cost just $77.91 to manufacture and deliver, and are provided at absolutely no cost to the recipient. Thanks to the support of our donors, Free Wheelchair Mission has been able to manufacture and ship over 844,000 wheelchairs to those with disabilities all over the world. The need for wheelchairs in our world is staggering. In developing nations where poverty pervades, it is estimated that 100 million people are in dire need of a wheelchair, yet lack the resources to obtain one. Already suffering from the pain, isolation and indignity of a physical disability, many of these people must endure further burdens, many forced to live on the ground or wait to be carried to meet their most basic of needs.Poverty, disease, malnutrition, armed conflict, and lack of proper medical care are all major causes of disability in the developing world. Diseases eradicated in the developed world years ago are still prevalent elsewhere. Conflict is another contributing factor both in places where conflict is active and where the remnants (land mines undetonated bombs, IEDs) are left behind. Poverty, however, is the biggest issue. Without money to seek medical attention, simple injuries like broken bones that would be simple to fix in developed countries, go untreated. Birth defects tend to be more common and home child delivery is more frequent which can have more complications during childbirth. Factors like access to clean water and a steady, nutritious diet also play a role.Our wheelchairs are simple, cost-effective, and highly functional. They are designed with resources in mind, with the goal of providing the transforming gift of mobility to as many people as possible while still maintaining a standard of excellence. We partner with like-minded organizations to reach some of the most remote regions on the planet. And we do it for an astonishingly reasonable cost - all while being free to the recipient and their families. "

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Jim Franklin

Harbro Company

Term: June 2004 - June 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?