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Board of Directors

Gary Jeandron
Chairman of the Board

Gary Jeandron

For more than three decades, Gary Jeandron served professionally with the Palm Springs Police Department. He started as a Records...

Guido Portante
Vice Chair

Guido Portante

General Portante is the absolute citizen-soldier.  Born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and having grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, the family made...

Laurie Kettering

Laurie Kettering

Kettering is the owner of Ben & Jerry’s at The River, which is a Global Top 10% Scoop Shop in...

Cynthia Woods

Cynthia Woods

A graduate of Western Michigan University – earning Masters of Arts in Vision Rehabilitation therapy.  Also certified by the Academy...

Management Team

Ben Schirmer – Executive Director

Shortly after graduating from law school, Ben began working for the State of Florida’s Attorney General’s Office. First, he handled dependency cases and civil prosecutions of parents who were accused of abuse, abandonment or neglect of their children. Next, he handled termination of parental rights trials and finally was promoted to the position of Managing Attorney for that division of the Attorney Generals’ office. Ben was then recruited to run a non-profit agency, Children’s Home Society, in Florida that focused primarily on services to abused, abandoned and neglected children including emergency shelter and foster care.

Eventually moving to California, he became the Executive Director for Rainbow Services in 2003. Rainbow Services provides support services to victims of domestic violence. In 2015, Ben left Rainbow to pursue an opportunity to run the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation. HCBF makes grants to local nonprofits for projects that help mitigate the impact of the Port of Los Angeles on the surrounding communities of San Pedro and Wilmington. However, he quickly realized that his passion is working for an agency that works directly to support clients.

In 2018, Ben decided to relocate to the desert to be closer to an aging relative and was fortunate enough to hear about the opening at Guide Dogs of the Desert. For Ben this opportunity combines two passions – his love of directly supporting clients with life-saving services and his love of dogs.  He is honored to have the opportunity to lead  an agency that is admired and supported by this incredible community.

Training Team

Administrative Team

Kennel Team



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