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The theme of this year's conference is All Together Now: A Declaration of Interdependence, which speaks to working together and learning from each other. It also echoes the One Health concept of the interconnectedness of animals, people, and the environment, as well as the undeniable impact of broader societal issues on animal concerns. The aim of the conference is to point to ways to cooperate and coordinate efforts to create synergy and strengthen impact.

Program information will be updated regularly. See the Speakers page for information about confirmed speakers to date.

Animal Grantmakers is exploring the possibility of making select presentations available for viewing online after the conference. Please stay tuned.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (times below are approximate) Optional field trips (additional fee)

If you would like to participate, please select from the following options when you register:

  • Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines (10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) - Founded in 1888, Ryerss Farm is the country's oldest non-profit organization of its kind, dedicated to providing a comfortable retirement for horses, which faithfully served their former owners or which were rescued from abusive situations.
    • Hosts: Samuel Griffin, president, Ryerss Farm; and Sue Leary, president, Alternatives Research & Development Foundation, and conference co-chair
  • ACCT Philly (11 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.) - ACCT Philly is the region’s largest animal care and control service provider, serving the City of Philadelphia by contract. ACCT Philly manages the city’s animal shelter facility in North Philadelphia, handling nearly 18,000 animals, from dogs and cats, to small animals, reptiles, birds and wildlife, annually.
    • Hosts: Sarah Barnett, executive director, ACCT Philly; and Chetana Mirle, program director, Life of Riley at Spring Point Partners
  • Veg History Walking Tour (3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.) - Learn Philly’s unique vegetarian history while strolling through Old City near the conference hotel with the American Vegan Society. Walk the same streets as historic figures such as Benjamin Lay, the Grimke Sisters, Sylvester Graham, Alfoncie Austin, and even Benjamin Franklin. All of these and more helped move Philadelphia’s vegetarian and vegan history forward.
    • Hosts: Vance Lehmkuhl, marketing and communications director, American Vegan Society; and Bethany Heins, director of operations and strategic projects for national programs, Best Friends Animal Society

6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.Opening night reception

Monday, October 23, 2023

7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.


9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Welcome and opening remarks

  • Speakers: Sue Leary, president, Alternatives Research & Development Foundation; and Kathy Tietje, chief program officer, Morris Animal Foundation (Conference Co-Chairs)

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Team Philly: A Lifesaving Powerhouse Forged by Four Local Companion Animal Welfare Organizations

  • Speakers: Sarah Barnett, executive director, ACCT Philly; Mandy Hood, community outreach manager, PSPCA; Melissa Levy, executive director, Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS); and Marie Wenzel, executive director, Hand2Paw
  • Moderator: Chetana Mirle, program director, Life of Riley at Spring Point Partners

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.


10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

All in the Family: Social Services for People and Their Pets

  • Speakers: Katie Campbell, director of collaboration and outreach, RedRover; Dr. Bryna Donnelly, vice president of pet programs, Greater Good Charities; Nathaniel Fields, chief executive officer, Urban Resource Institute; and Rachel Herman, founder and executive director, PAWS NY. Note: Campbell and Donnelly are both also with Don't Forget the Pets, which they will be talking about together.
  • Moderator: Kathy Savesky Buckley, philanthropic advisor, A Kinder World Foundation

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.


1:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.


1:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. (a 10-minute break will take place after the third presentation)

Lightning Talks: Six Short, Yet Inspiring Solo Presentations on Diverse Animal-Related Topics

  • Speakers (in order of appearance): 1) Kathy Nizzari, founder and chair, Lights Out Coalition; 2) Troy Seidle, vice president of research and toxicology, Humane Society International; 3) Kelly Burley, director, Common Bonds; 4) Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, DVM, chief executive officer, San Francisco SPCA; 5) Valerie Taylor, executive director, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS); and 6) Meg Daley Olmert, director of research, Warrior Canine Connection; science advisor and Board member, The Comfort Dog Program of Northern Uganda, and author, "Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond"
  • Moderator: Melissa Rubin, chief strategy officer, Greater Good Charities

3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Annual Business Meeting (Animal Grantmakers members-only)

5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Cocktail reception

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Gala dinner with keynote: How Does Happiness Correlate to Animal Welfare and the Environment?

  • Speaker: Beth Allgood, founder and executive director, OneNature
  • Moderator: Kate Atema, director of community grants and initiatives, PetSmart Charities

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.


9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

One World: Development and Opportunities in International Law and Policy

Panelists will provide a 30,000-foot-view of animal rights law and UN policy to advance animal protection worldwide.

  • Speakers: Dr. Sean Butler, University of Cambridge and director, Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law; and Dr. James Yeates, chief executive officer, World Federation for Animals
  • Moderator: Sue Leary, president, Alternatives Research & Development Foundation, and conference co-chair

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Animals and Climate Change: Multi-Species Perspectives

  • Speakers: Chris Green, executive director, Animal Legal Defense Fund; Dr. Becca Franks, assistant professor of Environmental Studies, New York University; Amelia Linn, director of global policy, Mercy For Animals; and Dr. Shaina Sadai, Hitz Postdoctoral Fellow for litigation-relevant research at the Science Hub for Climate Litigation, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Moderator: Mia MacDonald, board member, Culture and Animals Foundation

11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.


11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Documentary Film in Animal Advocacy and the Role Funders Can Play

  • Speakers: José Elias, assistant producer, The Humane League; Louisa McCune, executive director, Kirkpatrick Foundation; and Adam Peditto, producer and director, The Humane League
  • Moderator and Commentator: Vince Stehle, executive director, Media Impact Funders

12:30 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Second Annual Animal Grantmakers Melanie Anderson Lifetime Excellence in Animal Protection (LEAP) Award (winner to be revealed during award presentation)

12:40 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.


1:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


2:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Funders-Only Interactive Workshops (a 15-minute break will take place between rounds)

Attend two of the following three 90-minute workshops (offered in two rounds with a 15-minute break in between):

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Animal Philanthropy
    • Facilitator: TBD
    • Other Participants: Lori Grange, strategy officer, Hewlett Foundation; and Allison Cardona, California state director, University of California, Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program
  • Grant Reporting and Best Practices for Optimizing Grantee Relationships
    • Facilitator: TBD
    • Other Participants: TBD
  • Animal Philanthropy 2030: Where Should We Be?
    • Facilitator: Melissa Rubin, chief strategy officer, Greater Good Charities
    • Other Participants: Andrew Rowan, BSc, MA (oxon), DPhil, grants advisor, Edith J. Goode Residuary Trust

5:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.


5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Cocktail reception

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Dine-around Philadelphia (optional activity; self-pay and transportation on your own) - Did you know that Philly is famous for its pioneering vegan dining scene?

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.


8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Caroline Earle White: Philadelphia’s Pioneering Animal Advocate in a Modern Light

  • Speakers: Bernard Unti,  William and Charlotte Parks Foundation for Animal Welfare, and senior principal strategist, communications, Humane Society of the United States; and Janet White, chief executive officer, FREe-CARRIAGES LLC
  • Moderator: Kathy Tietje, chief program officer, Morris Animal Foundation, and conference co-chair

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Veg History Walking Tour (additional fee; repeat of Sunday afternoon field trip)

12:00 p.m.

Hotel check-out

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