LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 8, 2015) - Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Inc. ("Found Animals") (www.FoundAnimals.org), a leading animal welfare organization that works to end pet homelessness, is officially kicking off its 10th-anniversary celebration with a new website, milestone celebrations, and new initiatives for 2016.
Michelson Found Animals was created by Dr. Gary Michelson in 2005. A lifelong animal lover, Dr. Michelson was moved by the plight of the 600,000 animals killed or separated from their families by Hurricane Katrina. The goal of ensuring that all lost pets can find their way home helped inspire both Found Animals' name and its first grant program, which provided pet microchips to Los Angeles area shelters. Found Animals has grown and evolved over the past decade, and is now a successful social enterprise serving animal welfare organizations and pet owners nationwide.
Preventing the birth of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens has also always been a high priority for Found Animals. Dr. Michelson was the driving force behind a partnership with PetSmart Charities that funded the launch of three Los Angeles area spay/neuter clinics that now provide nearly 40,000 free or low cost surgeries annually to low-income families and community cat caregivers. In the last 10 years, Found Animals has granted more than $3 million to make spay/neuter services affordable and accessible in the Los Angeles area. An additional $15 million in grant funding has been committed to the development of a non-surgical sterilant for dogs and cats through the Michelson Prize and Grants in Reproductive Biology.
Taking this commitment even further, Dr. Michelson and Found Animals were instrumental in the launch of the California Pet Lover's License Plate, the first new specialty plate in the state since 2002. Proceeds from sales of the plate support free and low-cost spay and neuter programs in California.
Over the last decade, Found Animals has grown its offerings to include ever more innovative programs, including:
- Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology: a $75 million program that incentivizes research through prize philanthropy and grant funding to rapidly develop a permanent, single-dose, nonsurgical sterilant for cats and dogs. To date, $15 million in grant funding has been committed to over 30 projects worldwide at America's top universities and institutions and locations from Australia and New Zealand to Argentina and the Netherlands
- Adopt & Shop: a humane-model retail and adoption boutique in two locations: Culver City and Lakewood, CA, where all pets offered for adoption come from local shelter partners, and are spayed/neutered, microchipped and vaccinated prior to adoption. Adopt & Shop also offers training, grooming, daycare, premium food and treats, toys, and much more, with all proceeds going back into programs that help more pets.
- Microchip: Found Animals offers affordable microchips and scanners to shelters and non-profit organizations nationwide so that cost is not a barrier to pet protection.
- Microchip Registry (Found.org): a free-for-life, national microchip registry where pets can be registered with any brand of microchip. Found pet alerts can be started and stopped online, and updates, transfers, and alerts are also free for the life of your pet.
- Volunteer: Found Animals' robust volunteer department of nearly 600 active volunteers gets the opportunity to do everything from playing with and caring for pets at Adopt & Shop to working in the office at Found Animals' administrative headquarters
- Saving Pets Challenge: in partnership with Crowdrise, Found Animals' Saving Pets Challenge is a crowdfunding contest where organizations compete to win grant money for programs that help pets.
Reflecting on the challenges and achievements of the last ten years, Dr. Michelson is resolute.
"What began as donating microchips to local shelters and supporting spay/neuter initiatives have grown tremendously due to our team's unwavering dedication. In the last 10 years, we have invested millions towards solving the pet homelessness problem through our own initiatives and by supporting other animal welfare organizations, but our work has just begun. Found Animals will continue to create and support innovative programs that protect pets, not only in the U.S., but around the globe."
Found Animals is proud to celebrate its accomplishments towards saving pets and enriching lives in the last 10 years. Some of the major milestones include:
- Over 20,000 pets adopted through Adopt & Shop stores and adoption promotions;
- Over 137,000 hours of service donated by volunteers;
- Over 1.5 million pets protected in the rapidly growing Found Animals Registry;
- Over $3 million in spay/neuter grants given to clinics and programs;
- Nearly $3 million raised for programs that help pets through the Saving Pets Challenge; and
- $15 million committed to research by Michelson Prize & Grants.
Throughout all its programs and partnerships, Found Animals has helped well over 1.5 million pets to date.
"But the team is not yet satisfied," says Found Animals' Executive Director, Aimee Gilbreath. "Everything we do is with an innovative, solutions-based approach to improving the lives of pets and the people who love them," she says. "As we mark our 10-year anniversary, we want to celebrate our accomplishments, but also realize there's so much more to do going forward."
Celebrating the present but looking to the future, Found Animals is excited to unveil www.foundanimals.org, its newly designed website that highlights educational information, products and services for both animal welfare partners and pet owners, especially the Millennial generation. The new website features a bold, engaging, and interactive play theme, which will be continually expanded and updated, and provides information and resources in a positive and humorous tone. Most importantly, the revamped design offers a seamless experience where pet lovers can find essential information and services regarding pet microchipping, spay and neuter, and pet adoption in a modern, approachable way.
"We realize that Millennials are the largest group of future pet owners, and it is vital that we provide them with resources in a way that's genuine, optimistic and helpful," noted Aimee Gilbreath. "Found Animals has always been about saving pets and enriching lives because we realize the mutually beneficially relationship people and pets have with one another. Our new website, 2016 initiatives, partnerships, and everything else we do will ensure that pets find homes, and stay in their homes -- happy and healthy."
In addition to the website, in 2016, Found Animals will launch several new social and direct-to-consumer campaign initiatives that will create additional awareness of its mission: Saving Pets, Enriching Lives, and resources for pet owners across the nation. These campaigns will include a combination of experiential events, like Adopt & Shop's recently debuted Yappy Hours, fun web content that entertains the pet lover in all of us, and major activations on a national level. Stay tuned for more news in the months ahead.
About the Michelson Found Animals Foundation
Michelson Found Animals is an independently funded non-profit foundation led by business, animal welfare, and medical professionals who develop innovative solutions that address the underlying causes of pet homelessness. Major programs address pet adoption, pet microchipping and registration, low-cost spay neuter services, and sterilization research. By offering a wealth of educational resources to pet owners and animal care professionals, Found Animals advances the health and safety of animals everywhere. Found Animals is funded by Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson. Follow our progress online at www.FoundAnimals.org, or via social media atFacebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.