Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM)

Summary

Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) provides free wheelchairs to the poor, crippled and disabled persons living in developing third-world countries. FWM believes that when Jesus Christ lived in this world, He had special love for the sick and crippled. They try to share the same concern now for the poor, especially those with physical immobility. The chairs are distributed free to those in need, regardless of one's religious affiliation if any. FWM is a nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. In addition, it is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).


Contact information

Mailing address:
9341 Irvine Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92618-2618

Website: www.freewheelchairmission.org

Phone: (949) 273-8470

Email: involve@freewheelchairmission.org


Organization details

EIN: 311781635

CEO/President: Mr. Don Schoendorfer, Ph D

Chairman: Mr. Jim Franklin

Board size: 10

Founder: Mr. Don Schoendorfer, Ph D

Year founded: 2001

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 2004


Purpose

Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) provides free wheelchairs to the poor, crippled and disabled persons living in developing third-world countries. FWM believes that when Jesus Christ lived in this world, He had special love for the sick and crippled. They try to share the same concern now for the poor, especially those with physical immobility. The chairs are distributed free to those in need, regardless of one's religious affiliation if any.

Don Schoendorfer's approach was to engineer a wheelchair costing less than $52. His design was to use components that are manufactured in high volume for other products. By this method, they enjoy a low piece price cost. He removed every extra feature possible, ending up with the least expensive design that will satisfy a large portion of the world's need for wheelchairs. This wheelchair design lends itself to manufacture by highly efficient companies where assembly costs are relatively low.

Wheelchair Components:

  • A LAWNCHAIR
    For a wheelchair you need a chair. He selected the least expensive chair he could find - a molded plastic patio chair. Perfect! It's waterproof. It's durable. It's comfortable to sit in for long periods. It's washable. It's made in many countries. You can drill holes in the arms and legs so it can be mounted on the frame.
  • MOUNTAIN BIKE WHEELS
    A wheelchair needs wheels. Don selected 24 inch bicycle wheels. For added durability he selected bicycle tires made for mountain bikes. The difference between the ones they use and those on millions of bikes made around the world is a special wheelchair hub. Theirs is considerably stronger. The mountain bike tires allow their chair to transverse rocky, uneven, and even muddy terrain that would be impossible in a regular wheelchair. They are frequently asked about using inflatable instead of hard tires. Inflatable tires allow movement over terrain that would be impossible with a hard tire. There is almost no place on earth where the tools to repair a flat tire aren't available.
  • Front Castors
    You need castors for the front legs. Don found 8 inch diameter castors that are inexpensive but rugged enough for this wheelchair.
  • Frame
    For a wheelchair you need a frame. They started with steel conduit because he could bend it himself. Once he got something close, Don took it to a steel fabrication company in Los Angeles called Mark IV Metal Products. (www.markivmetal.com). There Gonzo Viana used his creativity and his years of experience to turn his crude design into something that could be mass-produced. The bends in the single piece frame follow the contours of the molded plastic chair. At the same time, the frame is something that can be made relatively inexpensively.
  • Improvements from the original design
    They found a new wheelchair supplier and they've made upgrades to the wheelchair. It is more effective and comfortable for a larger number of users.

    Among the improved design features are side panels placed alongside the seat of the wheelchair, giving more protection from anything thrown up from the ground by the movement of the chair. The wheel has been fitted with a hand-rim to make the propelling of the chair easier and cleaner; the footrest has been repositioned for easier entry into the chair and more comfort while in the chair, the brakes are better, and the axle is larger, creating more strength and durability and propulsion once the chair is set in motion. The wheelchair is still relatively lightweight and is now more rugged and suitable to the locations where it's being utilized.
  • Complete!
    These parts, plus a few dozen nuts and bolts and miscellaneous pieces is all that it takes to make one wheelchair. Another benefit from this design is standardization. There are relatively few parts, so there is little to stock for repair.
CHAIR AND SHIPPING TO DEVELOPING COUNTRY UNDER $52
The plan was to ship the wheelchair in a kit - for two reasons. One reason is that they take up less space that way. They can pack 550 kits in a standard 40 foot container. The second reason is that in most countries the labor to assemble a kit will be very low. With little training, someone who is good with his or her hands can make three wheelchairs in one hour. Each kit also includes a bicycle tire pump and a couple of tire patches.

ASSEMBLY IS DONE ONSITE AFTER DELIVERY
Don made assembly instructions with photographs so someone who cannot read English can learn to assemble these kits. They supply an assembly tool kit (5 simple wrenches and air pump) with every 20 wheelchair kits.

Testing
FWM verified that volunteers in developing countries can easily manage wheelchair assembly. They shipped 43 wheelchairs in kit form to Luanda, Angola. Their assembly team consisted of 16 young Angolan volunteers using simple hand tools.

FWM is a nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. In addition, it is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

Mission statement


Transforming lives through the gift of mobility


Statement of faith

FWM expresses its Statement of Faith as follows:

  • We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all.
  • We believe that the Scriptures of the old and new testaments are the word of God.
  • We believe in God the Father, an infinite Person of Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love; that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayers; and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
  • We believe in Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in his virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings, his substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into Heaven, perpetual intercession for his people and personal, visible return to Earth.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Relief and Development

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating310 of 43052 of 60
Fund acquisition rating398 of 43059 of 60
Resource allocation rating336 of 43057 of 60
Asset utilization rating91 of 43023 of 60

Financial ratios

Funding ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
7%18%16%14%14%19%
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
6%17%16%14%14%19%
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
95%99%100%99%98%99%
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
6%19%16%16%14%18%
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
5%1%0%1%2%1%
 
Operating ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
83%75%79%79%80%74%
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
99%92%103%92%96%103%
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
81%69%82%73%77%76%
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
1%8%-3%8%4%-3%
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
3%33%-17%42%25%-24%
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
10%6%5%5%6%8%
 
Investing ratiosMedian measure
for all ministries
in MW database
20172016201520142013
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
1.323.034.963.874.817.03
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
1.531.141.221.411.521.14
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
2.533.466.055.487.317.99
 
Liquidity ratiosMedian measure
for all ministries
in MW database
20172016201520142013
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
9.097.1211.287.263.377.08
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
0.100.140.090.140.300.14
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
4.072.981.811.891.151.29
 
Solvency ratiosMedian % for
all ministries in
MW database
20172016201520142013
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
10%17%13%14%25%18%
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
0%0%0%0%0%0%
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses
63%27%17%22%16%12%

Financials

Balance sheet
 
Assets20172016201520142013
Cash$2,573,489$1,373,348$1,031,168$851,878$850,477
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$267,122$341,428$344,989$240,082$149,609
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$380,000$0$0
Total current assets$2,840,611$1,714,776$1,756,157$1,091,960$1,000,086
Long-term investments$150,715$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$249,792$123,504$121,536$136,773$63,719
Other long-term assets$7,869$253,163$607,210$430,309$72,218
Total long-term assets$408,376$376,667$728,746$567,082$135,937
Total assets$3,248,987$2,091,443$2,484,903$1,659,042$1,136,023
 
Liabilities20172016201520142013
Payables and accrued expenses$372,460$120,161$208,591$323,628$141,269
Other current liabilities$26,292$31,895$33,405$0$0
Total current liabilities$398,752$152,056$241,996$323,628$141,269
Debt$0$0$0$0$0
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$150,715$125,534$112,054$91,722$65,923
Total long-term liabilities$150,715$125,534$112,054$91,722$65,923
Total liabilities$549,467$277,590$354,050$415,350$207,192
 
Net assets20172016201520142013
Unrestricted$2,010,287$973,740$793,629$481,113$591,185
Temporarily restricted$689,233$840,113$1,337,224$762,579$337,646
Permanently restricted$0$0$0$0$0
Net assets$2,699,520$1,813,853$2,130,853$1,243,692$928,831
 
Revenues and expenses
 
Revenue20172016201520142013
Total contributions$10,611,476$10,025,810$10,404,162$8,167,369$7,720,263
Program service revenue$108,985$96,749$110,691$131,064$48,981
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$0$0$0$0$0
Other revenue$0($60,057)$0$0$0
Total other revenue$108,985$36,692$110,691$131,064$48,981
Total revenue$10,720,461$10,062,502$10,514,853$8,298,433$7,769,244
 
Expenses20172016201520142013
Program services$7,357,811$8,215,792$7,625,009$6,367,394$5,902,427
Management and general$613,151$552,252$506,292$465,650$634,998
Fundraising$1,863,832$1,611,458$1,496,391$1,150,528$1,453,931
Total expenses$9,834,794$10,379,502$9,627,692$7,983,572$7,991,356
 
Change in net assets20172016201520142013
Surplus (deficit)$885,667($317,000)$887,161$314,861($222,112)
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$885,667($317,000)$887,161$314,861($222,112)

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


History

Mid 1970s Don Schoendorfer witnessed a crippled Moroccan woman crawling across a dirt road which planted a seed that germinated in 1999 when he invested his education and professional expertise as a PhD Mechanical Engineer to create a simple, rugged, and inexpensive wheelchair. The mental picture of the crawling woman's anguish and loss of dignity had haunted him for years until God opened a path for Dr. Schoendorfer.


Program accomplishments

FWM has given wheelchairs to those in need in the following countries:

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Belize
  • Cuba
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Trinidad
South America
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
Eastern Europe
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Belarus
  • Moldova
  • Romania
  • Ukraine
Africa
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Cameroon
  • Comoros
  • Djibouti
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • Somaliland
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
Middle East
  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq (via Kuwait)
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Lebanon
  • Pakistan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uzbekistan
  • West Bank/Gaza
Asia and The Pacific
  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Fiji
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Nepal
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Tonga
  • Viet Nam

Needs