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OptiNeeds

 78 Ridge Avenue
 Newton, MA 02459
[P] (203) 451-9498
[F] --
www.optineeds.org
[email protected]
Alex Song
INCORPORATED: 2016
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 81-3600764

LAST UPDATED: 03/30/2017
Organization DBA OptiNeeds, Inc.
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

OptiNeeds is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide eye-care for athletes with special needs by delivering free prescription sports eyewear. Clear vision is vital for athletic success and the self-confidence that brings, and in the special needs community, over 50% of people are visually impaired. For them, participating in sports can be frightening and unsafe, and not having corrective lenses while they compete leaves these athletes effectively bind. OptiNeeds is committed to changing that reality and to giving people with special needs the chance to participate in sports more safely and with more enjoyment.

Mission Statement

OptiNeeds is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide eye-care for athletes with special needs by delivering free prescription sports eyewear. Clear vision is vital for athletic success and the self-confidence that brings, and in the special needs community, over 50% of people are visually impaired. For them, participating in sports can be frightening and unsafe, and not having corrective lenses while they compete leaves these athletes effectively bind. OptiNeeds is committed to changing that reality and to giving people with special needs the chance to participate in sports more safely and with more enjoyment.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $25,000.00
Projected Expense $25,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Special Goggles for Special Needs Boston (SGSN Boston)

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

OptiNeeds is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide eye-care for athletes with special needs by delivering free prescription sports eyewear. Clear vision is vital for athletic success and the self-confidence that brings, and in the special needs community, over 50% of people are visually impaired. For them, participating in sports can be frightening and unsafe, and not having corrective lenses while they compete leaves these athletes effectively bind. OptiNeeds is committed to changing that reality and to giving people with special needs the chance to participate in sports more safely and with more enjoyment.


Background Statement

The organization began with the success we saw in one athlete with special needs. For Max, an athlete with Down syndrome, having prescription goggles has made a change in his life, in and out of the pool. Before having the goggles, Max was effectively blind in the water, but he had never thought about perception swimming goggles. With the goggles, Max swam faster and won medals at Special Olympic games. With increased confidence, he advocated for himself to become the first special needs swimmer on his high school team. Max has already made a lasting impact on the team, and now a second special needs swimmer has joined. After he responded so positively to our efforts, we wanted to find out out how significant of an issue this was. Through a pilot program, we interacted with over 200 athletes and families in Massachusetts, and their response inspired the creation of OptiNeeds, Inc.


To tackle the problem at hand, we assembled a team of people who would best represent our mission. OptiNeeds is led by its President and a group of incredibly able and passionate people, who all deeply care about the special needs community. Our President and other board members have volunteered and coached local Special Olympic teams, and another member is the parent of an athlete with Down syndrome. The leadership team is also backed by an expert advisory board that consists of nonprofit executives, medical and legal professionals, and business executives serving Boston's special needs community, whose combined expertise and effort are vital to the organization’s success.
OptiNeeds works closely with several partners, including nonprofits, sports organizations, and eye-care related companies. Athletes Unlimited (AU) is a fantastic special needs sports team, whose work was featured on NBC's program "Give", a series that focuses on impactful nonprofits. Many people in our leadership have worked as AU coaches and volunteers. OptiNeeds has also partnered with OneSight, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide eye-care for disadvantaged communities internationally, and they have donated an expensive eye-care medical unit that helps us reach more people. Local and national prescription goggle retailers, like Speedo and Varsity Swim Shop, have also supported Optineeds with discounts and donations.

Impact Statement

We, at OptiNeeds are very proud of the progress that we have made in the past year, and extremely optimistic about our goals for this current year. The following are our major accomplishment in the past year:

  1. Incorporating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
  2. Building a fantastic Executive Board and group of advisors, which includes medical experts, nonprofit executives, business leaders, and the parent of an athlete with special needs, to support and propel the organization
  3. Meeting and speaking to 200 Special Olympic athletes and their families about the possible impact our service could have, to a resoundingly positive response
  4. Establishing partnerships with international and local sports retail companies, like Speedo and Varsity Swim Shop, to provide us with products at a discounted rate
  5. Receiving a donations from OneSight, a nonprofit that provides eye-care for disadvantaged communities around the world, as well as from Converse

In the current year, we have the following goals:

  1. To raise awareness in the special needs community of the benefits of sports and safety risk associated with poor vision while participating
  2. To raise $30,000 to accomplish the mission of our first project and start the groundwork for future projects
  3. To provide free prescription swimming goggles to all athletes with special needs in the greater Boston area who need them. Swimming is ranked #1 due to its health benefits and accessibility to those with physical disabilities.
  4. To increase the number of Special Olympic athletes who participate in the swimming events. Our service will make the sport safer and more accessible to athletes with special needs, and this both helps them lead healthier lives and build confidence through sports.

 

The whole team at OptiNeeds is committed to our mission and we are working tirelessly to achieve the best results possible.


Needs Statement

The organization has the following needs:

  1. Funding, totaling in $30,000 to assure the completion of our first goals and to start planning for the future. This will go to purchasing and delivering goggles to Special Olympic teams and families. We are applying to many different grants and have asked the public for donations on our website.
  2. Raising awareness, so that the special needs community knows about OptiNeeds and can take advantage of our service.
  3. Increased number of partnerships with companies and organizations. This will help us purchase products at the lowest rate, receive donations, expand into other products (like general prescription sports goggles), and give us a bigger platform. We are currently reaching out to Luxottica, Nike, and Specs4us.
  4. A larger executive board. This will increase efficiency and allow us to delegate responsibilities in the area each board member is best at. We hope to add another member to the team who is passionate about and dedicated to our mission.
  5. Additional information. It’s best to have more information about our impact, the science of eyesight, legal policies, and whatever else that comes our way, so that we can make the best decision for the organization and the community. We are continuously expanding our advisory board.

 


CEO Statement

OptiNeeds is the only organization in the greater Boston area that provides prescription athletic goggles for athletes with special needs. The organization is led by a group of people who are fully dedicated to helping the special needs community. Three of our executive board members have a combined over 30 years of working with people with special needs, and we are all extremely passionate about our mission.

OptiNeeds is deeply rooted in the community, and we are committed to using their support to help the special needs community. Much of success has been propelled by local companies and organizations, as well as local people who believe in the organization. Similarly, our partnerships with larger national companies started as one-on-one conversations with local representatives.

Sports has the amazing ability of empowering people and building confidence. That confidence then trickles down to all areas of life. By empowering these athletes, we can give them opportunities to show their talents and worth, in and outside of sports. One our athletes, Max, who has Down syndrome, has used prescription goggles to gain confidence and change the perception of those around him. After using the corrective swimming goggles, Max gained confidence in the pool, and then advocated for himself to be the first athlete with special needs on his high school swim team. He has made a lasting mark on the team and is changing how his teammates see people with special needs. Now, a year later, a second special needs athlete has joined. Max's story and experience with prescription goggles embodies the impact that they can have on people and the community.

A pair of prescription goggles not only makes the athlete safer, but can also give them the confidence and independence needed to have success. I truly believe in the collective effort of the organization can have on people with special needs and their families.

 
Alex Song
Founder and President
OptiNeeds, Inc. 

Board Chair Statement

The successes OptiNeeds has experienced are due to the group of people who’ve worked for the organization, and the formation of our Executive and Advisory Boards is our main success. The board meetings we’ve held since incorporating have yielded great ideas and results, and the executive board has worked seamlessly together with one common goal. We all have different areas of expertise, and our varied connections around Boston have proved extremely valuable to OptiNeeds. Our meetings and conversations are charged with excitement over the possibilities of helping those in need.

Nevertheless, we will face challenges. Inexperience is the the biggest issue the Executive Board will face as none of our members have executive experience running a nonprofit organization. To combat that, our advisory board is filled with people who have such backgrounds. Their expertise both guides us and provides valuable connections to nonprofits around Boston. Because the organization is still young, some of E-Board member’s expertise is not applicable to the initial tasks, and this makes equal delegation difficult. However, as we are moving into the actual delivery process, that issue will likely disappear because each person will have their own job. Another reason why delegation is difficult is that we all have jobs. Whether it is, in my case, being a student, or for the others, being high-achieving professionals, there are limitations of time and energy. We have learned when and where to maximize our efforts to maximize results, and our passion and commitment makes up for the rest. I truly believe in the work that we do at OptiNeeds, and we will not fail at helping the special needs community.

I have been volunteering as an Aquatics and Track coach for the local Special Olympics team for eight years now, and it has been the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. The athletes all work hard and strive to contribute to their communities, and that inspires the work we do at OptiNeeds. When the pilot program started, long before the founding of the organization in 2015, all we wanted to do was help some athletes on my team, who I saw struggling without their glasses, to purchase some prescription goggles. After talking to over 200 families, and realizing how large of an issue this really was, I started seriously thinking about forming a nonprofit. Fast forward to now, and we are just as committed to helping the community as we were two years ago. I know that my experience and ability to work with the special needs community outweighs my youth, and I would love to work with anyone who has more passion to help people with special needs than I do. However, my youth and passion have their limitations, and that’s why I’ve surrounded OptiNeeds with a group of expert and professional adults, who have supported and guided the organization. I am committed to our mission because I saw a problem that is affecting the community I love, which had a solution I could implement.

 
Alex Song
Founder and President
OptiNeeds, Inc. 

Geographic Area Served

City of Boston- Allston/ Brighton
City of Boston- Fenway/ Kenmore
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Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Under Development

Programs

Special Goggles for Special Needs Boston (SGSN Boston)

OptiNeeds is committed to delivering vision care through prescription athletic eyewear, and of all sports, swimming is listed as #1 for people with special needs. Therefore, with SGSN Boston, OptiNeeds will provide free prescription swimming goggles to all special needs athletes participating in Boston. This service will impact a large population because over 50% of people with special needs have vision issues, and we already have interest from over 300 Special Olympic swimmers who wear glasses in the greater Boston area. To our astonishment, none of them nor their families knew about the safety issues caused by not wearing corrective eyewear while swimming. OptiNeeds will go to Special Olympic swimming competitions held at Harvard and Boston University, later in the spring, to provide athletes with the goggles. Furthermore, for people that may not compete or teams we do not reach at the competitions, we will send goggles directly through our website or through attending other events.
Budget  $25,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities People/Families with of People with Disabilities Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

In the short term, OptiNeeds has four goals:

  1. To give a pair of prescription goggles to each person with special needs that we reach out to in Boston
  2. To help each person we give goggles to be safer in and around the pool
  3. To educate each person we reach out to or visits our website about prescription goggles, and the benefits of swimming for the special needs community
  4. To empower each person we help gain confidence through sports and being active

Program Long-Term Success 

OptiNeeds has four long-term goals for SGSN Boston.

  1. To ensure that all Special Olympic athletes participating in Boston have prescription goggles
  2. To empower people with special needs who would like to swim competitively but where previously afraid of not seeing
  3. To allow people with special needs who love swimming, but don’t compete, to be safe while at the beach or the pool
  4. To help people with special needs gain confidence and empower themselves through sports and being active.

Program Success Monitored By  OptiNeeds has several ways to measure the success of its short and long-term goals. First, given statistics by medical experts and the Mass Special Olympics, we know that there are over 500 Special Olympic swimmers participating in Boston who wear glasses. If we deliver at least 500 goggles, we will have achieved one of our goals. Second, we want to increase the number of swimmers at the Special Olympics by providing prescription goggles. Using those goggles will make swimming safer and more enjoyable, and we expect this to encourage more people to compete in the Special Olympics. OptiNeeds can confirm with meet organizers in the future. Finally, in congruency with our other goals, we hope to make swimming safer for people with special needs, whether at the beach, at camp, or at the Special Olympics. The increased engagement in sports will help empower people with special needs and hopefully give them confidence in and out of the pool.
Examples of Program Success  The SGSN-Boston has already seen great success. Before having the goggles, Max, an athlete with Down syndrome, was effectively blind in the water With the goggles, Max swam faster, won medals at competitions, and began to set bigger goals. His increased confidence allowed him to advocate for himself, and he become the first special needs swimmer on his high-school team. He has made a lasting impact on his team, and now a second special needs swimmer has joined. Many people, including the Special Olympic athletes themselves, accept that athletes with special needs are less able to compete by virtue of their differences. However, our work is changing that perception. Stories like Max’s inspire us and give us the conviction to pursue our goals. Wearing prescription goggles increases their independence and feeling of self-worth, and this gained self-confidence will impact all aspects of their life.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As of right now, OptiNeeds is beginning its efforts through providing prescription swimming goggles. This is due to the fact that swimming is such an amazing sport and exercise, especially for the special needs community. However, we also realize that there are other sports where similar programs will be needed to provide prescription eyewear. We have already started contacting retailers of regular prescription goggles for sports like basketball and soccer, who are interested in supporting such a program. Boston is such a giving community and has always been a loud supporter of all the Special Olympic sports. The city champions people with special needs and we, at OptiNeeds, want to help as many of those people as possible. After SGSN Boston, and hopefully with its success, we will move on to providing different products, while still delivering prescription swimming goggles as well.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Mr Alex Ziqi Song
CEO Term Start Aug 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience
The following is a list of the Executive Director/President's experiences:
  • Brown University Class of 2020 - Candidate for B.A. in Biology and Candidate for B.A. in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations
  • Newton South High School Class of 2016 - Graduated Cum Laude
  • Coach for Special Olympic Teams in Aquatics/Swimming and Track (2010-present)
  • Counselor for Camp Echo Bridge (Newton, MA), a summer camp that integrates campers with and without special needs (2015)
  • Invited Observer of the Sarah Roe International School for Special Needs (Hong Kong) (2015)
  • 4 year varsity athlete for Newton South Swimming and Diving (2012-2016), 2-time captain (2014-2016), multiple record-holder, and Top-10 finishers in MA High School Swimming for an individual event (2016)
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
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Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
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Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
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Affiliations

Affiliation Year
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Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
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Collaborations

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 0
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 0
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 0
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 1
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration Exempt

Risk Management Provisions

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Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? N/A
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Alex Ziqi Song
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Chair Term Aug 2016 - Aug 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mrs. Katherine Brenna Community Volunteer Voting
Dr. Sharron Lin PhD Massachusetts General Hospital Voting
Mrs. Lisa Moore Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Alex Song Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
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Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
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Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mrs. Sue Covitz Families First Parenting Programs NonVoting
Mr. Mark Kelly Newton Parks and Recreation-Director of Special Needs NonVoting
Dr. Danielle Ledoux MD Specialized Pediatric Eyecare NonVoting
Mrs. Alexandra Liftman Bank Of America NonVoting
Mr. David Walek Esq. Cutter House LLC & Artists For Humanity NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017
Projected Income $25,000.00
Projected Expense $25,000.00
Form 990s --
Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

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Total Revenue -- -- --
Total Expenses -- -- --

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

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Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
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Government Contributions -- -- --
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    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Program Expense -- -- --
Administration Expense -- -- --
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses -- -- --
Program Expense/Total Expenses -- -- --
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue -- -- --

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

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Total Assets -- -- --
Current Assets -- -- --
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- --
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Total Net Assets -- -- --

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

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1st (Source and Amount) -- --
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2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
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3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
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Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year -- -- --
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets -- -- --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

OptiNeeds was incorporated late last year, and during 2016, we did not fundraise or raise any revenue. We took advantage of that time to build the foundation and solidify a plan for the organization. Thus, in the last fiscal year, OptiNeeds had no revenue, which explains the lack of financial documentation.
 
Alex Song
Founder and President
OptiNeeds, Inc. 

Foundation Comments

OptiNeeds is newer and received its nonprofit status from the IRS in late 2016, as noted in the IRS Letter of Determination posted above. As such, a full year of financial data will be posted when it becomes available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

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4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

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