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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

Sponsored by Tigers in America®

  • 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

Specialty cocktail sponsored by the Summerlee Foundation

Meet up with - and meet - fellow conference participants for drinks, apps, and some fun and games. Don't forget to try a Tomcat Collins, courtesy of the Summerlee Foundation. And, yes, there will be prizes!

Monday, October 23, 2023

7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.


Sponsored by Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control

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: Caring for Pets in the Communities That Love Them

Community and animal sheltering leaders in Philadelphia will share examples of innovative, multifaceted programs that are simultaneously enhancing human and animal welfare in one of the country’s largest and most complex cities.

  • 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 will co-presenting about Don't Forget the Pets, a partnership between Greater Good Charities and RedRover
  • Moderator: Kate Atema, director of community grants and initiatives, PetSmart Charities

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

Sponsored by Maddie's Fund®

    Sit back and enjoy six short, yet inspiring solo presentations on diverse animal-related topics.
    • Talks and Speakers (in sequential order):
    1. Lights Out - Kathy Nizzari, founder and chair, Lights Out Coalition
    2. Unconditional Love; The Bond with Your Pet During Cancer - Brian Morvant, program manager, CancerCare, Pet Assistance and Wellness (PAW) Program
    3. Oklahoma All Together; Lessons in Animal Welfare Collaboration - Kelly Burley, director, Common Bonds
    4. The Role of Arts in Shifting Societal Attitudes Toward Animals
      Martin Rowe, executive director, Culture and Animals Foundation
    5. The State and Impact of Animal Sanctuaries - Valerie Taylor, executive director, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS)
    6. Stronger Together; The Science and Sanity of One Health - 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

      Sponsored by Kirkpatrick Foundation

      7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

      Gala dinner

      7:45 p.m.

      Keynote presentation: How Does Happiness Correlate to Animal Welfare and the Environment?

      Sponsored by Michelson Found Animals Foundation

      • 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.


        Sponsored by Morris Animal Foundation

        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

        Like ours, the lives of non-human animals, wild and domesticated, are increasingly shaped by the climate crisis. Our uses of them, as in animal agriculture, are also significant contributors to the greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet. Panelists will describe ways to bring more attention to and action on the causes and consequences of global heating for animals, drawing from their work in scholarship, law, policy advocacy, narrative, and creative, cross-sector collaborations.

        • 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. – 12:45 p.m.

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

        12:45 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)

        Sponsored by PetSmart Charities®

        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

            Animal Grantmakers aims to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion by helping animal funders elevate diverse voices and leadership to catalyze new solutions to complex animal protection problems and to engage a broader segment of society in animals' well-being. This goal reinforces and supports two others: (1) to help animal funders be effective and catalytic, both individually and collectively, in their work on behalf of animals; and (2) to engage funders from other sectors by highlighting the connections between social justice issues and animal issues.

            In this workshop, two animal funders will talk about their efforts—progress and challenges—to incorporate DEI in their grantmaking and other external work. Then, participants will have an opportunity to learn from each other about what they have done and / or hope to do (“no experience necessary”!), what they need to move forward, and how to support each other.

                • Facilitator: Candace Kenyatta, co-founder, managing partner, and CEO, Grovider
                • Other Participants: Lori Grange, strategy officer, Hewlett Foundation; Allison Cardona, California state director, University of California, Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, and Sarah Ocampo, senior community grants manager, PetSmart Charities

              Trends in Philanthropy

              The dynamic between funder and grantee is shifting. Funder-driven proposal cycles heavily dependent upon data-driven outcomes is now sharing space with trust-based philanthropy that enables potential grantees to drive the discussion. General operating support and multi-year funding, shunned by many funders for the past few decades, is making a return. Inequity and social justice are spurring funders to consider relationships with vastly under resourced non-profits; those least equipped to administer grants in the traditional way, but in the greatest need of such support. How do we as funders respond to these changes through our operations, processes, and funding priorities? Louisa McCune, past president of Animal Grantmakers and executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation (Oklahoma City) and Christine Robinson, president of Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia, will each lead an interactive session, which we hope will spur you to reconsider how you maximize your impact as an animal grantmaker.

                • Facilitators: Block A - Louisa McCune, executive director, Kirkpatrick Foundation; Block B - Christine Robinson, president, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia

              Animal Philanthropy 2030: Where Should We Be? 

              Animal philanthropy is growing rapidly, but it is still a small share of philanthropic giving. There are three primary areas of giving - companion animals, wildlife, and farmed animals. There are also funders who support programs that protect animals used in research. Who is giving and getting, and how can we grow animal philanthropy? As leaders in animal grantmaking, it is important that we discuss the strategic challenges facing financial growth in animal philanthropy. We will tackle: How do we strategically get more dollars for animals? How do we separate animal philanthropy from environmental giving? How do we integrate human and animal causes closer together?

                • 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

              Take a journey back in time as you hear about Philadelphia's unique animal rights history, which - in true Philly fashion - boasts many "firsts" in the animal rights movement.

              • 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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