Archive for the ‘ITNPortland’ Category

Drivers on Call

February 8, 2011

Karen Stabiner
The New Old Age Blog
The New York Times

Dottie Macdonald, 81, got to the annual crafts fair in Portland, Me., this winter the same way she always does: with six big bins of dolls and quilts and artwork stacked in the back of a 2002 Dodge Caravan, the one her husband Bob, 86, always drives because Mrs. Macdonald never learned how.

Read the full article in The New Old Age Blog.

ITNPortland Letter to the Editor, Portland Press Herald

January 30, 2011

Elderly drivers have other options
Read the Letter to the Editor in this week’s Portland Press Herald

Senator Collins’ Remarks at ITNAmerica Dinner

January 19, 2011

Read the full remarks at Senator Collins’ website.

ITNPortland Announces New Executive Director

December 13, 2010

Westbrook, ME – ITNPortland ( announced today that Bob Dunfey has been hired as Executive Director. Bob Dunfey comes with a wealth of experience, having served as a senior federal executive in the Clinton/Gore administration and on numerous nonprofit boards. .   Bob has owned and operated hotels, real estate development projects and a property management company.  He started his career in his family’s company, Dunfey Hotels, now known as Omni Hotels.

Bob is also an endurance runner having completed over 100 marathons including 20 consecutive Boston Marathons as well as many ultra trail marathons with distances up to 100 miles.

ITNPortland Board Chair, Andy Bernstein, said “We are excited to have a new Executive Director who brings a broad range of skills to educate the community about our services and grow the organization to its full potential.”

Katherine Freund, founder and Executive Director of ITNAmerica, commented “I believe Bob can create a model ITN affiliate that will be a valuable resource to developing new ITN’s throughout the nation and the world.”

About ITNPortland

ITNPortland is a local non-profit that provides safe, affordable personal transportation to  seniors and the visually impaired.  ITNPortland provides arm-through-arm, door-through-door service, anytime for any purpose to 18 towns in the greater Portland area.  ITNPortland enables its customers to maintain healthy, independent lives, and provides families with a solution to a complex and growing social problem.  Access to personal transportation allows seniors to stay connected to family, friends and the business community.

About ITNAmerica

ITNAmerica is the first and only national non-profit transportation system for America’s aging population. Its mission is to create an efficient and financially sustainable solution to the transportation needs of seniors and their families throughout the world.ITNAmerica imagines a day when all seniors and adults with visual impairment will have access to transportation when they want it.

Katherine’s 24-Hour Walk for Rides

April 19, 2010

When: Noon, June 18 – Noon, June 19
Where: Portland ME, Back Cove, along Baxter Boulevard

Less than a decade after the very first Walk for Rides™ fundraising event, Katherine Freund is embarking on a 24-hour, round-the-clock walk, in support of ITNAmerica and all affiliates. The walk is around Back Cove in Portland, Maine on June 18-19. Katherine will be traveling around the country gathering support for her walk. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, representing the 1st District of Maine, will join Katherine on June 18 to show her support for ITNAmerica and senior transportation.
If you are interested in walking with Katherine, please sign up on our website. You can register online to walk as part of Katherine’s team, and then share your page with friends and family asking them to sponsor your walk. If you can’t be with Katherine to walk in Maine, register as an individual to walk in your community. You can also promote your page on Facebook and Twitter to let more people know about Katherine’s 24-hour walk. Anyone, anywhere in the country can walk to support ITNAmerica in our Walk for Rides.

National Foundation Extends Funds for Innovative ITNAmerica® Program

February 22, 2010

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Internship Program a Model for Success

WESTBROOK ME – A generous grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has enabled ITNAmerica to expand its successful internship program supporting sustainable transportation resources for seniors across the country.

“The initial funding for this innovative project yielded such successful outcomes we’re doing it again,” says Katherine Freund, President and Founder of ITNAmerica. “With the Foundation’s funding of nine interns in affiliate communities across the country, we raised awareness about our services while also raising significantly more money than we spent.”

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has supported the needs of low-income seniors for over 50 years. The Foundation’s 2009 grant to ITNAmerica enabled participating affiliates to generate more than $130,000 in revenue, with $20,000 of that money reserved for ITN®’s Road Scholarship Program™ for low-income seniors. In this way, the grant helped build community support for senior mobility, enabled access for all seniors, and ensured the special needs of low income seniors were not forgotten.

“The interns helped us build support that will continue to generate funds year after year,” says Freund. “With as many as 20 interns in affiliate communities across the country in 2010, we anticipate even greater success with what has now become The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Internship Program. This support will expand our commitment to more transportation resources for more people in more places.”

Congratulations to “Six Who Care” recipient George Crockett December 9, 2010

December 9, 2009

The Independent Transportation Network of Portland would like to congratulate George Crockett for being chosen as a “Six Who Care” award recipient. This honor is awarded by WCSH Channel 6 to six individuals who are dedicated to helping others in need. George has been a valuable asset to ITNPortland as a volunteer driver, driving over 3,300 miles. That’s enough miles to cover a trip from Maine to California! George has taken part in many service missions to Third World Countries located in parts of Central America, South America, and Africa. Other organizations he has worked with include Rotary International, Goodwill Industries, and the Preble Street Resource Center.

Watch the video profile

Join Us Dec. 7 for a Fabulous Wine Dinner!

October 27, 2009

ITNAmerica and ITNPortland present the fourth annual Joel S. Freund Memorial Wine Dinner at the Back Bay Grill, Monday, December 7 in Portland, Maine.  Five courses will be paired with five wines.  Proceeds benefit ITNAmerica and ITNPortland.

Your support means that more seniors and adults with visual impairments nationwide will have access to transportation when they want it.  The Independent Transportation Network® helps keep families and friends together, and preserves communities that otherwise might not have the strength of all its members.

Tickets are $250 per person.
RSVP by December 1 at  207-857-9001 or

Please click here to see the invitation.

Rides-for-seniors Program Delivers 250,000th Ride

September 4, 2009

A Maine-based nonprofit organization that provides door-to-door rides for senior citizens with no access to vehicles says it has delivered its 250,000th ride.

See The Associated Press for the story.

From John Balentine, ITNPortland Dispatcher

August 13, 2009

A day in the life of an ITN dispatcher

The day starts early. It’s 6 a.m., mid-winter. Snow is falling persistently. It’s still dark but the small LCD display on my ITN® cell phone sends a faint glow onto my bedroom ceiling. From the number on the display I know it’s a driver calling. I think to myself, this can’t be good.

“It’s Jeanie. My car won’t start. There’s no way I can make that 7 a.m. pick-up,” the voice on the other end of the line says.

So starts an average day in the life of a dispatcher for ITNPortland™.

It’s the dispatcher’s job to make sure the day’s rides run smoothly. While we spend hours the day before preparing the next day’s schedule, rarely does a day go exactly according to plan.

It’s now 7:30 a.m. and I’m in my car driving to ITN’s office at the Dana Warp Mill on Bridge Street. in Westbrook. Another call comes in on my cell phone, this time from Mrs. Smith. She forgot to schedule a pick-up for 11 a.m. I tell her I’ll call her back when I get to the office and can check the schedule. After arriving at work, I go through each driver’s schedule for that day and eventually find an opening. I quickly call Mrs. Smith back and tell her we will pick her up at 11 a.m. Victory! The first bump of the day is resolved.

The day progresses as usual. Members needing rides for the next day call and schedule their upcoming rides. The other dispatcher Eric Bartlett, veteran dispatcher Mary Lou Zahn, or myself will answer each call, “ITN, this is (our name), how can I help you?” Most folks are very friendly, appreciative that an organization such as ITN is around to provide such a needed service.

After lunch at my desk, the next day’s schedule beckons. Knowing that most people have already called in to request their rides for the next day, I use ITN’s computer system to begin the process of scheduling the next day’s rides. To efficiently schedule, a dispatcher needs to know where destinations are and how long it takes to get there.

Scheduling is one thing. Having the day’s list of 50 to 70 rides proceed according to schedule is quite another. Despite such snags as heavy traffic, train crossings, and weather delays (especially in the winter), it’s remarkable the day’s schedule progresses as smoothly as it usually does.

But other times, the schedule can get off track. One thing that can ruin our schedule, is delays at doctor’s appointments. When someone calls to request a ride for a doctor’s appointment, the dispatcher’s job is to work with the rider to figure out how long an appointment will last. Obviously, some appointments last longer than others. Someone needing surgery will often need hours compared to someone visiting for a routine checkup. Many times, our estimate will be accurate. Other times, an ITN driver will arrive only to find the rider is still in with a doctor. As these snags occur throughout the day, we do our best to shift the schedule accordingly.

By 4 p.m., the next day’s schedule is usually complete. Inevitably, someone will call after 4 p.m. to schedule a ride for the next day. After working those into the schedule, we’ll print out each driver’s manifest. A manifest is a sheet of paper detailing specific pick-up and drop-off times and locations, the rider’s name, the doctor’s name, and any other pertinent information.

At ITNPortland, we have paid drivers, who use company cars, and volunteer drivers, who use their own cars. Since volunteers rarely come to ITN’s office in Westbrook, most request we e-mail their driver manifest information the night before. Depending on the number of volunteers available for the next day and how slow our typing fingers are moving, this process can take upwards of an hour to complete. We then call to confirm that everyone received their schedule and if they have any questions about the next day’s rides.

At 6 p.m., one of us will forward the office phone to the ITN cell phone and head out the door. As in the morning, inevitably someone will call at night to request a ride for the next day. The cell phone will ring, a shaft of LCD light will brighten my bedroom and I’ll awake to either a rider needing a ride or a driver not available for the day. But so goes the dispatching business. Our job is managing the snags. And when people need us, they can call and be sure an ITN dispatcher will answer.