Human Services

Operation Warm Inc.

  • Chadds Ford, PA
  • www.operationwarm.org

Mission Statement

We provide brand new winter coats to children in need, helping to improve self-confidence, peer acceptance, school attendance, and overall wellness.

Operation Warm believes that every child, regardless of circumstance, deserves their own brand new coat. While other organizations collect used coats, Operation Warm works with manufacturers, both in our Made in America program as well as overseas, to create our own line carefully crafted winter coats.

By making our own coats, we control the quality and ensure these brand new winter coats become a daily source of pride and joy for children, who rarely feel the emotion associated with receiving a gift that was made just for them.

Main Programs

  1. Operation Warm
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Operation Warm serves children in 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

ruling year

2003

Executive Director

Self-reported

Mr. Richard Lalley

Keywords

Self-reported

Children, Youth, Coats, Warmth, Clothing, New Coats, Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Disadvantaged, impoverished

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Also Known As

Firefighters for Operation Warm, Coats for Kids Foundation

EIN

38-3663310

 Number

1293516237

Physical Address

6 Dickinson Drive Suite 314

Chadds Ford, PA 19317

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

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?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Top 3-5 accomplishments from FY14/15
1. Distributed 316,000 coats in the U.S. and beyond, more than any year in our history.
2. Saw the increase of our Firefighters for Operation Warm partnership grow to include nearly 200 local fire departments throughout the country.
3. Distributed 60,000 100% American Made coats through our Firefighters partnership.
4. Leveraged cause marketing relationships with consumer brands, locally and nationally, including Google, K-Love/Air 1 Radio, and Groupon.
5. Successfully installed Salesforce.com as our enterprise management system, enabling efficient scaling of our operation over the next several years.

Top 3-5 goals for FY15/16
1. Distribute 325,000 coats this upcoming winter, including 60,000 Made in the USA coats.
2. Aggressively grow our Firefighters for Operation Warm program in partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters.
3. Significantly increase individual giving and cause marketing programs. We made great strides last year, with significant new support from Google and several utility companies, and increased cause marketing support from Groupon.
4. Increase and diversify our funding base, including expanding to northern metropolitan areas we do not currently serve.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

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

Program 1

Operation Warm

Operation Warm is a nationally active non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of impoverished children and their families through the gift of brand new winter coats. We work in partnership with hundreds of foundations, corporations, media partners, grass roots organizations and caring individuals who help fund and distribute our coats; and hundreds of schools, youth service agencies, churches and other local non-profits serving children in need. We have distributed 1.7 million coats nationwide since we began in 1998, and our goal for the coming year is 325,000, which will bring us to the 2 million mark. 96% of all operating revenue goes to program costs.

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Homeless

Adults

Budget

$21,967,500.00

Results

Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

1. Number of products distributed

Target Population
Children and youth (0-19 years)

Connected to a Program?
Operation Warm
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
60,000 of our Brand new winter coats distributed to children are 100 percent sourced and made in America!

2. Number of first-time donors

Target Population
Children and youth (0-19 years)

Connected to a Program?
Operation Warm
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

3. Number of donors retained

Target Population
Children and youth (0-19 years)

Connected to a Program?
Operation Warm
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

4. Number of overall donors

Target Population
Children and youth (0-19 years)

Connected to a Program?
Operation Warm
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

5. Number of new donors

Target Population
Children and youth (0-19 years)

Connected to a Program?
Operation Warm
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

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

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    While the U.S. economy improves for many, it is not helping most school children, as the majority of public school students are in poverty for the first time in at least 50 years. These children and their families face many financial challenges, and often a winter coat is simply not in the family budget. Teachers and school administrators often report that winter time absenteeism increases due to the lack of a winter coat. Moreover, children in poverty face health risks from exposure to violence, drug addiction, and other life stressors. Schools and social service organizations remain in dire need of solutions to mitigate children's inability to concentrate due to stress or trauma. A new winter coat is a valuable tool that enables a child to attend school, enhances their sense of self-worth, and allows educators and service providers to establish rapport and trust with a family living in need. A brand new Operation Warm coat gives a child newfound freedom and confidence to play more, learn more, and do more.

    Our primary goal this upcoming winter is to continue to address the immediate and critical need for warm coats for approximately 325,000 children nationwide. Our program will focus on students from low income households, especially children who are homeless or highly mobile, and children living in extremely poor economic conditions. Recipient school districts and social service providers will identify the children in grades K-12 most in need of coats and devise strategies to distribute them in ways that contribute to their overall program goals. Together we will identify children most in need, based on free and reduced lunch enrollment and family income levels at or below 150% poverty.

    We will leverage our coats to go beyond warmth and strengthen relationships between our partners and their communities by facilitating positive outcomes that aid in the breakdown of dependence on long-term assistance. Collaboration with like-minded partners enables expansion of our mission – to deliver warmth and happiness to children in need. We will work locally with Title I schools, agencies serving youth, corporate and foundation donors, community and faith based service organizations, and corporations looking to give back. In addition, we will work closely with the International Association of Firefighters through our Fire Fighters for Operation Warm partnership.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Through community-based partnerships, Operation Warm provides families with brand new winter coats for their children while other organizations leverage our coats to deliver social work, after-school programs, educational assistance programs, life skills training, and healthcare offerings. Collaboration with like-minded partners enables expansion of our mission – to deliver warmth and happiness to children in need. In 47 states, we work locally with agencies serving youth, corporate and foundation donors, community and faith based service organizations, and corporations looking to give back. Thanks to in-kind support from manufacturing and transportation partners, we are able to efficiently deliver warm and stylish coats at cost to over 300,000 children annually.

    Operation Warm secures charitable contributions through strategies including grant writing; Fire Fighter partnerships; our Rotary initiative; employee campaigns; personal solicitations; direct mail and electronic campaigns; radio station partnerships; and cause marketing, among others. As an adjunct to our primary mission, we are committed to coats Made in America, which promote sustainable employment opportunities for families needing to break free from poverty. Our American-Made coats, comprising 20% of this year's inventory, are distributed through our Fire Fighters for Operation Warm partnership with over 200 fire departments nationwide.

    Operation Warm works year-round identifying resources for securing coats, designing coats, and managing the complex logistics required to get coats delivered to our warehouses, inventoried, and shipped to hundreds of locations across the country. Additionally, we identify community partners to assist in finding coat recipients and managing coat distributions, and raise and steward the funds required to do it all. Our coat program is ongoing and follows our fiscal year calendar from April through March. Coats are typically distributed between September and December (according to timing of funding commitments). In order to continue and expand the program for 2015, Operation Warm will raise funds through corporations, charitable foundations, government agencies, our FFOW partnership, employee campaigns, philanthropists and individuals. We also have "Donor Managed Programs" through which we make coats from our inventory available at wholesale pricing to agencies, schools and other non-profits providing services to children from low income families.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Operation Warm consists of 18 paid employees, with 97% of all operating revenue going to program costs and only 3% to overhead. The vocational expertise of the team in social work, database management, logistics, development, public relations, and more ensures the non-profit is run with lean principles that ensure productivity, efficiency, and agility in service delivery. We also utilize 300-500 volunteers throughout the year, from the individuals and groups who help with our distributions, to college students who intern at our office. Lastly, corporations volunteer their services with the transportation of our coats, helping reduce transportation and fuel costs.

    2014 was a great year for Operation Warm. We brought the happiness and warmth of a new winter coat to 316,000 children living in need, more than any year in our history. Thanks to record numbers of firefighters, Rotarians, churches, corporations, foundations, non-profits and caring individuals supporting our mission, we expect to reach our 2 millionth child by the end of winter 2015/16. And, we're very proud that 20% of our coats were union-made in the USA! With our growing brand awareness, new funders are proactively finding us, such as Google, which included Operation Warm in its year-end "Holiday Spirit" campaign. Most notably, our Fire Fighters for Operation Warm (FFOW) partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has expanded to 200 firefighter locals throughout the country. The IAFF represents over 300,000 professional firefighters who are dedicated to serving their communities beyond the traditional call of duty. FFOW is a widespread, high-impact collaboration between the IAFF and Operation Warm.Beginning in 2012, Operation Warm forged a new partnership with the IAFF and the locals across the country. This partnership led us to initiate production of coats in the USA. (We are the only manufacturers of low cost, high quality winter coats for children in the U.S.)The IAFF represents over 300,000 professional firefighters who are dedicated to serving their communities beyond the traditional call of duty. This past year, 20% of our coats were Made in the USA, and over 200 IAFF locals helped us reach an incremental 60,000 children. Due to the enthusiasm and early adoption of the program, Operation Warm has every reason to believe that FFOW will grow significantly in the coming years, opening a revenue stream that will become sustainable for years to come.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Our short-term measure of success is that 100% of children receiving a new coat will be warm. Secondary to warmth, the coat provides hope and improves self-esteem. In the long term, our coats address the root causes of academic failure and poverty, by reducing absenteeism and strengthening families' connections with services and opportunities that enable them to rise out of poverty. We also conduct post-program evaluations with our community partners to assess their impressions on the personal impact on children and families, the role the coats played in their programming, strategies they utilized to leverage the coats for further impact, and our operational efficiency and perceived coat quality.

    We will track the following metrics this upcoming season:

    1. How many recipients agree providing new coats positively impacts the family budget?
    2. How many beneficiary organizations agree that providing new coats enables them to better pursue their mission?
    3. How many recipients agree the coats make children feel better about themselves?

    This data will be obtained on an organizational level through our annual surveys of community partners, normally administered within 3 months of the end of our coat distribution season.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    In 2014/15, our objective was to distribute 300,000 new winter coats to children living in North America. Thanks to funding received from our generous individual, corporate, foundation, and organization donors, we raised sufficient funds to serve over 316,000 children. Our coat distributions in fall and early winter put smiles on kids' faces, prepared them for the cold temperatures, and filled parents' hearts to know their children will be warm. Many children were shocked to learn the coats were new and just for them. The students who receive our coats wear them proudly, with no interest in taking them off. Some of them strut around the room, proudly showing them off. Others help their friends zip and unzip the new coats and put the hoods up. The gift of a new coat tackles much more than keeping kids safe in the bitter cold; it boosts their self-esteem and encourages them to come to school. School principals tell us you can see that in their smiles.

    Operation Warm brings children so much more than a coat. We provide not only an essential in surviving the elements, but also a smile and brighter prospects to at-risk children. With nearly half of the nation's families with young children struggling to make ends meet, there are a lot of things children can go without, but a jacket isn't one of them. Children from low-income families start each day at a disadvantage, and so even getting to school becomes a willful act of determination on behalf of the students and their struggling families. The support provided by our donors truly makes a difference, as the number of impoverished children continues to grow despite an improving economy.

    At Operation Warm, our mission originated from the realization that the gift of a brand new winter coat positively impacts vulnerable young lives. With the support of our donors and partners, Operation Warm is able to give stylish, new, warm coats to children, and through this gift, turn many of their hardships into opportunity; the opportunity to feel proud, the opportunity to partake in outdoor play, and the opportunity to attend school and learn. Our gift is truly more than a coat. The gift of a new coat ensures a warm winter for many families in need. It makes children feel special, encourages school attendance on cold winter days, and is a financial blessing to their families.
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Operation Warm serves children in 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Social Media

Blog

Funding Needs

Fundraising is our greatest challenge, as we face formidable competition for limited funding. OW capitalizes on the advantages of the coat that go beyond warmth, and get to the root cause of poverty through an impact on education, nutrition, and physical health.   OW is challenged to manufacture quality coats cost-effectively and sustainably. Our long-term goal is to work with western hemispheric vendors, to reduce our carbon footprint and stimulate the economy.   OW needs our partners who work with us to ensure the children who most need new coats receive them, from radio broadcast sponsorships, to Rotary Clubs, to retailers and more. We embrace many types of relationships that foster both the production and distribution of coats to children.   We need volunteers, approximately 500 a year, from the individuals and groups who help with our distributions, to our college and university programs that adopt Operation Warm as a community service project and host fundraisers. OW needs our distribution partners who provide free shipping each season. We are extremely grateful to them for saving us money, which we can then redirect to our mission, giving coats to children in need.

Accreditations

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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.

OPERATION WARM, INC
Fiscal year: Apr 01-Mar 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

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

Operation Warm Inc.

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
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Executive Director

Mr. Richard Lalley

BIO

Rich Lalley is responsible for the overall direction of the organization, which includes: development, organizational strategy and developing strategic partnerships and community programs. Prior to joining Operation Warm in 2009 as VP Development, Mr. Lalley served as President of the Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield, IL and he currently serves Rotary District 6440 as Assistant Govenor. Mr. Lalley brings over twenty years of brand marketing and advertising experience to Operation Warm, most recently as Vice President of Advertising & Brand Management for Discover Financial Services. He is a past recipient of Brand Week's Marketer of the Year and Ad Age's Marketing 100 awards. Mr. Lalley is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he studied advertising.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Richard D Sanford

Operation Warm, Inc.

Term: Apr 2014 - Mar 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

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?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

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

Yes

ETHICS & 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?