Square Peg Foundation

Tech Donation Helps NGO Empower Students with Special Needs

When Darius Dunlap asked Sarah to teach the new kids how to brush and saddle a horse, he knew it would be difficult for her. Sarah had Asperger's Syndrome. It was hard for her to speak to people and look them in the eye. However, she had been at the Square Peg Foundation's riding school in Half Moon Bay, California, for more than three months and had made a lot of progress.

When Darius received a call from Sarah's mother the next day, he feared the worst. Sarah's mother asked what had happened, and Darius recounted Sarah's painful and hard-fought success. Her mom laughed and said, "Well, she is Miss Chatty Kathy today." It was a big breakthrough for Sarah.

The Square Peg Foundation teaches students with special needs (mainly children on the autism spectrum) how to ride and care for horses that were formerly champions. The foundation likes to refer to the horses as square pegs in round holes. The students can relate to the horses because many of the students feel like square pegs themselves.

By learning how to ride and care for these horses, students develop the self-worth and pride that comes with mastery.

Over the years, the Square Peg Foundation has received a number of grants from various foundations who believe in what the work it is doing. In order to keep the foundation's finances in order, Darius turned to TechSoup.

He received a donation of Intuit's QuickBooks, which his organization would not normally have been able to afford. Darius explained, "In my previous experience at a nonprofit, paperwork and grant funding reporting requirements were major roadblocks that delayed us significantly. It was awful. Having access to QuickBooks, a system so straightforward and easy to use, has been great."

QuickBooks has allowed the Square Peg Foundation to track restricted funds and create donor analysis reports quickly and easily. With their finances in order, Darius and the team at the Square Peg Foundation can focus on what they do best: empowering students through mastery.