Message From New GDA President Russell Gittlen

It is with great enthusiasm, anticipation and excitement that I begin my tenure at Guide Dogs of America. I am looking forward to immersing myself in the program and dedicating myself to the continued success and growth of our school.

For the last 16 years, I have worked diligently to support GDA through fundraising activities. I want to bring the desire and passion for GDA that was instilled upon me to anyone looking to get involved.

Russ Gittlen with German ShepherdWith no government funding, the school relies solely on donations and fundraising to provide guide dogs free of charge to visually impaired individuals in the United States and Canada.

It is our goal that GDA will now be holding six classes each year rather than four. Adding two classes will mean boosting our annual budget goal by nearly a half-million dollars. A challenge that, with your help, I am up for.

I have inherited a financially sound, well-run operation thanks to Dale Hartford and his experienced, dedicated staff. I look forward to implementing new ideas, setting new goals, and identifying new opportunities to raise funds for our program. I look forward to working with all the staff, volunteers, donors and organizations that contribute their time and resources to GDA, I see such potential for our world-class guide dog school to continue to flourish.

I am honored to be GDA’s president and will take every opportunity to express my appreciation directly to you, whether it’s at GDA or when I am traveling on behalf of the school.

Read about the growth and change happening at GDA in 2017 and beyond at

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