Why I'm Committed to Leader Dog

By John Hebert, Board Chair

Published in: Update - Issue 2 - 2015 »   

My wife, Margo, and I were introduced to Leader Dog around 2007 by then CFO Sue Daniels. Sue and I had previously worked together at the Red Cross. We did not have a dog or a family member or close friend who was visually impaired, so it made sense to find out as much as we could about the organization.

Having been exposed to many nonprofit organizations as a practicing CPA I knew the types of questions to ask, especially about the financial soundness of an organization. Everything I learned indicated Leader Dog was very well run, responsible and dedicated to serving its clients. Each time I visited I learned more about the visually impaired community and enhanced my knowledge of the breeding, caring and training of dogs to assist with independence and mobility. Margo and I became supporters of the annual operations knowing how our money was being spent.

A few years ago the idea of improving the kennel experience for the dogs came up. I became involved with the planning phase and executing the financial ability to achieve this important goal. As the plans became clearer and we kicked off a capital campaign, one of the initial fundraising phases was the board challenge. I chaired this effort and challenged Leader Dogs’ board to commit $1 million toward the $14.5 million goal. The board exceeded this goal through 100% participation! It was a very easy decision when it came time for Margo and I to make a financial gift. We take pride in being involved with such a historic time in the 76-year life of Leader Dogs for the Blind.