A note to foundations and public charities from Patty Finch, GFAS Executive Director:
When beginning my five years in animal grantmaking, the first thing I was challenged with was a previously awarded grant to an animal sanctuary. Despite a site visit before the grant was awarded, the facility turned out to develop criminal animal abuse problems…an animal grantmaker’s worse nightmare. It was then that I first learned that sanctuary funding can be risky business. Hoarders, game
ranches, roadside zoos, wildlife “pet” owners seeking permits, good-hearted folks in over their heads, and plain old con artists….all can present themselves to funders as legitimate sanctuaries.
Through a sound accreditation and monitoring process, GFAS will highlight those animal sanctuaries which are providing animals the highest standards of care. GFAS will conduct a thorough and objective evaluation, measured against clear standards, in the following
- sanctuary structure and governance including finances and long-term sustainability
- guidelines (regarding acquisition, handling, commercial activities and more)
- community outreach
- physical facilities
- the veterinary medical program
- animal care standards, with clear guidelines on the humane care of various animal species in captive facilities
GFAS will be a source of reliable information that funders can count on, with a meaningful accreditation “seal of approval”. In differentiating legitimate, strong sanctuaries from pseudo-sanctuaries, GFAS will be helping all true sanctuaries succeed. GFAS will provide these sanctuaries with a wide variety of resources, including convenient means for strong, established sanctuaries to share with the field their proven methodology in sanctuary management, including succession planning and all facets of the areas outlined above.
The process of accreditation is thorough, as are the standards. GFAS is hopeful that funders will support sanctuaries with compliance grants as they seek to meet these standards, and support more established sanctuaries as they devise mentoring programs to help other sanctuaries attain accreditation. Funders can know that in helping sanctuaries meet GFAS standards, a solid infrastructure is being created which will benefit animals for decades.
The GFAS Board consists of individuals who represent a rich history in the animal welfare field. The President is Adam Roberts, Senior VP of Born USA United with Animal Protection Institute, the Vice President is Mike Markarian, Executive VP of HSUS. The treasurer is Kim Haddad, DVM, Manager of Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, and the secretary is Ian Robinson, Emergency Relief Program Director for IFAW – the International Fund for Animal Welfare. . Please feel free to contact the Board or me for more information at patty[at]sanctuaryfederation[dot]org or 928-472-1173.