Frequently asked questions
Donation and charity questions
A: Yes. We are a federally recognized 501(c)(3) charity under the auspices of NHAB, which is our fiscal sponsor. This means your donations are tax deductible. If you are looking for us on Guidestar, you will need to search for "New Hampshire Association for the Blind," which can be found here.
A: A very dedicated group of Randy's friends came together to help him achieve the creation of 2020 Vision Quest. Visit our About us page to meet our board and staff members.
A: No; all our board members and staff are 100% volunteer.
A: In addition to raising funds for our charities, through your generous support, the mission of 2020 Vision Quest also centers on Education and Inspiration.
The Educational component involves making people aware of the emerging crisis in blindness as the Baby Boom generation ages, and helping them understand what a difference can be made in the lives of the visually-impaired to receive beneficial support from service organizations.
We continue to develop activities and materials in support of our mission of Inspiration, tied to what Randy likes to call "Ability Awareness." This is the idea that your response to the challenges in life -- not the challenges themselves -- makes all the difference.
We have produced a pair of web documentaries that support these themes, along with considerable website content, and have developed an active media campaign to gain exposure for our work and that of our charities. We also pursue an active schedule of speaking engagements at public schools. In doing so, we help young people learn about the issues of blindness, and encourage them to become excited about the possibilities within their own lives. These programs provides impactful curriculum content to fiscally challenged schools, free of charge. In our first six months alone, donors have enabled us to present to over a thousand students in and around New England.
As a result of our work and your contributions, we have begun to draw considerable positive attention for our two recipient charities, NHAB and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, leaving them free to focus on their core competencies as they support the visually impaired population throughout New Hampshire and the US.
A: Our day-to-day operating costs are quite small, primarily costs for running our website, using online services to send out press releases, postage, some printing, and the like. One non-routine expense was that of creating our documentary videos, which we feel was critically important in bringing our story to the public. We also reimburse NHAB for the cost of services they provide to our organization, largely accounting fees. During our start-up year we have had some significant charges for legal help in setting up the organization, which we expect to be non-recurring.
A: Since we're in our first year as a charity, we don't have historical numbers to give you, but we are striving to use less than 10% of each donation for administrative costs. The balance supports our numerous programs, and our contributions to NHAB and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
A: As with all operational costs, we intend to minimize the budget for active fund raising, with special events (such as our annual Peak Potential dinner) supplying the entire revenue for the budget from the event. We achieved that entirely in our first five months of operation and expect it to continue in similar fashion going forward.
A: Randy gives his time to 2020 Vision Quest strictly as an unpaid volunteer, as do all members of the board and staff. Randy pays for Quinn's food and supplies out of pocket, so that all the money you give goes to support our programs and our two exceptional charities, NHAB and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
A: NHAB is the New Hampshire Association for the Blind, an organization that provides support and rehabilitative services in every community in New Hampshire. They were instrumental in helping Randy learn the skills of living without eyesight. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is one of the very few organizations in the US that raises and trains guide dogs, providing them at little or no cost to the blind.
A: You are welcome to donate directly to either or both; however, to accurately measure the fruits of our labor, we ask that you note with your contribution that you were inspired to give via 2020 Vision Quest.
But also, we believe there is an advantage in donating to 2020 Vision Quest, that supporting our mission of reaching out, educating America about the growing crisis among the visually impaired, and inspiring people to reach beyond their perceived limitations has significant value in its own right -- ideally, generating a snowball effect that will ultimately provide greater net contributions to these organizations.
Human interest questions
A: Randy lost complete vision in his right eye in 1989. Though he retained a small area of faint tunnel vision in his left eye for a number of years, in 2000 he became totally blind.
A: Climbing a mountain with ropes and pitons is called "technical climbing," and while Randy has indeed done this, 2020 Vision Quest involves hiking to the peak using trails. Quinn provides the eyes for almost the entire hike, and together he and Randy have developed a remarkable degree of communication and focus that lets Randy progress along paths that are often full of obstacles like rocks, roots, logs, etc. At some point on many of the trails it is simply not feasible for Quinn to guide Randy, such as climbing a ten-foot rock ledge, or a wide stream crossing along a narrow log. At these times, human members of Team 2020 provide the lead; invariably, they come away from the experience with a better understanding of just how remarkable Quinn's contribution really is! You can see how Randy and Quinn work together by viewing our documentary trailer on YouTube, along with other informal videos of our hikes on that YouTube channel.
A: In Randy's words:
"There are many challenging parts and so ultimately I'd like to provide the two distinct and correct answers. Physically the hardest challenge is footing. The White Mountains are older mountains and as such the rock strewn "trails" are exceedingly challenging for finding proper footing. Quinn does an amazing job of indicating the best possible options, and from there I must find the first point which is good enough to hold my foot and move me forward. This resets my foot several times and increases my work significantly while also often putting my foot in less than ideal positions from which I need to make the steps. There are some sections which are exceedingly challenging and I'm at a high level of mental and physical concentration. Thankfully there are more reasonable sections as well to give me a little respite!
"Mentally I'm very desirous to be independent. I must balance my personal drive for accomplishment with consideration and appreciation for the impact of each of my decisions upon the group. I struggle internally to find the balance which ensures they can help in appropriate ways to maximize our efficiency and safety as well as ensure they allow me the freedom to accomplish reasonably within my abilities."
A: "The Mighty Quinn" has earned the nickname! To begin with, Quinn's stamina surpasses any human's, and regular visits to the vet ensure that hiking remains a positive experience for him. Randy knows Quinn better than most people know their best friends, and Quinn's welfare is always foremost in Randy's mind (and vice versa!); after all, he'd be lost without Quinn. Randy tells us that Quinn is always eager to take on the trail, and he can feel Quinn's tail happily wagging throughout the trek. And yes, Quinn gets tired, and takes breaks on the trail just like the human members of Team 2020. He is also treated to robust playtime at the summit of a peak, and has never asked to take a nap rather than play tug-of-war.
A: As with most things an appropriate amount of preparation is essential. One of Randy's favorite quotes from John Wooten, "We do not plan to fail but rather fail to plan," suggests that by careful advanced preparation a much higher success is likely. The first step is to learn all that is required for these expeditions and then ensure we are ready from a equipment requirement, food and water, maps, teamwork and of course the physical and mental conditioning. It is important that everyone have a reasonable idea of what to expect from the trip and what is expected of them. The average climb may be less than 8 miles though the terrain ensures it is a very challenging work which may take as many as 15 hours on our longest days. As such the physical training is taken very seriously and is customized for the individuals involved.
A: There is an element of danger to hiking, but most of it can be avoided through careful planning and cautious decision-making. Randy considers himself more of a problem-solver than a risk-taker, and the "extreme sports" approach that some people take with mountaineering is not part of the 2020 Vision Quest program. We plan our hikes thoroughly with safety in mind, and include a Wilderness First Aid Certified member on each hike. We log our plans and trails with Team members who are not on the hike, and carry safety equipment including a satellite position broadcast system, which is capable of alerting search and rescue teams with our exact location should this prove necessary.
A: Yes, and yes. Remarkably, Randy's falls are far fewer than one might expect given the rough ground conditions he has to navigate. Over the July 4th, 2010 Mt. Washington hike he fell two times, and in a later hike, he missed a step and banged his knee soundly on a rock. Remember that in addition to having been blind for 20 years, Randy is also a life-long athlete, having played basketball through his college years, and in more recent years, earning a black-belt in karate. His training helps him to fall in such a way as to minimize impact and physical harm.
A: Team 2020 always includes a party of at least 5 hikers, for that very reason. If Randy -- or any other member of Team 2020 -- was to sustain a hike-ending injury, the team would evaluate the situation, and whenever possible self-evacuate in the most expedient manner.
A: If you are interested in participating in a hike, go to 2020VQ on Facebook, and Like our page. Regular updates will make you aware of all upcoming hiking plans, including calls for additional hikers. Please be aware, however, that openings are few.
A: Randy has a very rich and rewarding life, with a very large group of dedicated friends who want to spend time with him and his wife, Tracy. He is a major fan of the New England Patriots, and has a number of other hobbies. A very large slice of his time goes to running 2020 Vision Quest, and accomplishing its many goals. These include public speaking engagements, addressing assemblies at schools, writing articles and blogs for our website, and fund-raising activities.
Contact and media questions
A: Randy and Quinn love visiting schools and will happily talk to you about doing so. You can contact him at 1-888-54-2020-1 x54, or email him at Randy@2020VisionQuest.org.
A: Randy is a gifted public speaker, with a rich variety of topics that are meaningful and empowering to corporate audiences. If you are interested in having him speak to your company, please contact Rachel Morris via email.
A: Visit our In the Media page.
A: You can call us at 1-888-54-2020-1 or email Randy@2020VisionQuest.org
Don't see your question here? Send us an email and we'll get you the information you're looking for.