Pathfinders, Inc

aka Pathfinders for Autism   |   Hunt Valley, MD   |  www.pathfindersforautism.org

Mission

Pathfinders for Autism works to support and improve the lives of individuals affected by autism through expansive, individualized programming, and by providing resources, training, information and activities free of charge.

Ruling year info

2000

President

Mr. William Surhoff

Vice President

Ms. Alisa Rock

Main address

235 Schilling Circle Suite 103

Hunt Valley, MD 21031 USA

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EIN

52-2226573

NTEE code info

Autism (G84)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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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?

Resource Center

The Pathfinders for Autism Resource Center is the cornerstone of our efforts to serve Maryland’s families by:

providing timely, accurate autism-specific information and resources
responding personally to inquiries via telephone, email and Facebook
distributing monthly “PFA Tips” articles on a variety of topics.

The Pathfinders for Autism Resource Center helps families navigate the often confusing and complex array of services, treatment, and programs available to them. Our staff receives calls from parents who have just received a diagnosis; caregivers of adults with autism in need of support services; individuals with autism who are seeking services for themselves; and professionals working with clients with autism.

The Pathfinders for Autism website is a critical link to the thousands of families and professionals we serve throughout Maryland. The site offers a searchable, online database of more than 2,200 providers along with informative articles and a calendar of autism-specific events.

Population(s) Served

Pathfinders for Autism hosts free recreational events at local attractions, such as the National Aquarium and Minor League Baseball games. This provides an opportunity for the entire family to experience a “typical” outing with others who are sensitive to their situation, without some of the common barriers many families experience on a daily basis. Pathfinders provides informative fact sheets to the venue to share with their staff and will provide sensitivity training to ensure the staff are fully prepared so that the visit goes as smoothly as possible. PFA also supports recreational opportunities hosted by other organizations through sponsorships, such as the annual Surfers Healing Camp in Ocean City.

Population(s) Served

Pathfinders for Autism sponsors workshops around the state featuring experts in the field presenting on a variety of relevant topics such as: vocational rehabilitation, behavioral interventions, special education, financial planning, dietary interventions, sensory processing, and more. PFA also supports training opportunities hosted by other organizations through sponsorships, such as Honestly Autism Day in Baltimore County.

First Responder Training: Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, and Emergency Room

This training provides first responders with “scenario-based” instruction with practical application in the field. Pathfinders provides a balance of factual information, experiential exercises, and practical tips and strategies, along with personal stories that both entertain and provoke thoughtful consideration. Our curriculum focuses on functional ability (rather than specific diagnosis) that incorporates the most prominent developmental disabilities first responders may encounter. The program addresses how to identify disabilities and their characteristics and make modifications and accommodations. We also help first responders identify behaviors which could easily be mistaken as belligerence or acts of aggression.

The curriculum development teams consist of IDD experts, advocates, and former/active police, fire, EMS and ER doctors and nurses. The law enforcement curriculum is certified by the Maryland Police and Corrections Training Commission (MPCTC) for police entry-level and in-service, and corrections entry-level and in-service. The fire/EMS training offers CEUs. (Click on the brochure for the certification numbers.)

BE SAFE is an interactive training for individuals 13 years old and up with Autism and other Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. It uses video modeling and role playing to show viewers how to interact with the police in everyday encounters. Crucial safety skills are clearly demonstrated through an interactive movie. Topics range from following instructions to the right to remain silent. In each scene, real police interact with special needs individuals, giving BE SAFE true authenticity.

Population(s) Served

Promoting public awareness and understanding about autism and its effect on individuals, families, and society through media campaigns; presentations to local schools, civic groups and businesses; promoting the use of standardized developmental screening tools to pediatricians; and community events.

Pathfinders for Autism serves as a catalyst to influence public policy decision makers and service providers to ensure that high-quality services and programs are available to individuals with autism throughout their lives.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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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.

1) To expand geographically, both within the state and (potentially) in the surrounding mid-Atlantic region.

2) Utilize new/faster/more efficient ways of getting information to more care providers (social media, new technological tools, etc.)

3) As the population of individuals with autism ages, we will need to begin to be more programmatically focused on adult issues.

4) Capitalize on the legislative/regulatory/other changes that happen real time and provide our database quick information as needed.

5) Continue to partner with with other organizations with complimentary missions to expand our reach and increase awareness.

1) There is room for geographic expansion, both within the state and in the surrounding mid-Atlantic region. While we are substantially Maryland based, our internal statistics have shown an increasing need and interest from outside our historical geographical footprint. This
potentially increases our visibility and funding opportunities.

2) We already have an excellent providers and services database in place, it simply needs to be cleaned/maintained.

3) A renewed focus on adults with autism may open areas of funding previously unavailable to us.

4) Utilize existing forms of communication (i.e. Social Media, e-newsletter, Facebook groups, website, etc.) to actively share when public policy changes are happening.

5) We are well-networked with other Maryland autism organizations and simply need to meet with them to determine how best to partner.

1) While we have a strong staff that regularly travels to all areas of the State, additional travel or expansion to the mid-Atlantic region would likely require extra staff or the development of regional staff.

2) Using our existing technological resources and database, we can develop a faster way of communicating with care providers.

3) We have strong lifespan programs in place, and the resources/connections to locate adult/transitional healthcare options for individuals with autism.

4) We have a strong online presence and an excellent awareness of relevant public policy issues/when important changes are made.

5) Our network strength and reputation helps us to reach out to various partners and potential partners.

2016 -Following the success of 2015, PFA hosts a second Leadership Conference with World Champion US Women’s Soccer star Mia Hamm, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh, Orioles’ Manager Buck Showalter, BSO Conductor Marin Alsop, Retired 1st Sgt. Black Hawk Down Matt Eversmann, and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet CEO Mark Butler. • PFA launches Your Next Patient Has Autism, Are Your Prepared? training to local hospitals, medical and nursing school students, and dentists along with medical office support staff. PFA worked with a curriculum development team consisting of an ER doctor, a nurse, and child life specialists.
2017 -PFA hosts a screening of the award-winning documentary film SWIM TEAM, which chronicles the rise of the Jersey Hammerheads, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence and a life that feels winning. The screening was followed by a Q&A with the McQuay family who are the film’s inspiration. • PFA hosts An evening of Orioles magic and autism awareness with Rob Long of 105.7 the Fan, Cal Ripken, Mike Bordick, and PFA President, BJ Surhoff. • PFA staff is recognized by the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities for our April Autism Awareness Campaign “Myth Busting Autism”. The campaign shared common autism myths (ex. “People with autism aren’t intelligent”) and then busted them (i.e. “Always presume intellect. Just because someone can’t communicate verbally, doesn’t mean that they can’t communicate in other ways, or don’t have something to say.”). The campaigned featured submission from individuals with autism, family members, and professionals using photos and video to break down stereotypes.
2018 -PFA receives the Governor of Maryland’s Citation for our first responder training program. • PFA hosts the inaugural HeART for Autism fundraiser featuring one-of-a-kind artwork by Mary Beth Marsden and Make Studio. Proceeds from the event supported PFA’s First Responders Initiative. • PFA launches Swim Parties for the entire family to enjoy in an effort to promote water safety in a relaxing judgement-free zone. Water safety resources were shared and swim buddies were available to encourage water safety skills. • With a focus of long-term sustainability for our growing number of programs, PFA hires a Fund Development Director.
2019 -Members of PFA training teams are recognized for their service. Josh Smith received the Stanley S. Sidle/William Ohge, Jr. Memorial Citizenship Award for his work as a co-trainer in PFA’s law enforcement training. The award honors an individual with intellectual/developmental disabilities for outstanding participation in or contribution to the community, including community leadership, contribution to his/her community and/or elf-advocacy. Eric Kane, Glenn Myers and Tom Whalen received the LaVonnya Gardner Award for Autism Acceptance & Advocacy from the Autism Society of Baltimore-Chesapeake for their work training first responders and medical professionals.

Financials

Pathfinders, Inc
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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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Pathfinders, Inc

Board of directors
as of 02/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. William Surhoff

No Affiliation

Term: 2018 - 2022

Rebecca Faye Smith Galli

Freelance Writer

Rick Opfer

Opfer Auctioneering

H. Bradley Donovan

George Weiss

Alisa Rock

Blog Writer

Bruce L Schindler

Bob Davidson Ford Lincoln

Michael R Ford

Merrill Lynch

William Surhoff

No Affiliation

Polly Winde Surhoff

No Affiliation

Mike Shelah

Advantage Industries, Inc.

Michael P Mohney

First Financial Federal Credit Union

Alicia Wopat

Helen Shafer

The Shafer Center

Laura Herrara Scott

Anthem

Robert L Long

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Gus Kalaris

Axios Wine, Kalaris Family Vineyards

Carol Dalton

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Carin Lazarus

Media Star Promotions

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