As 2023 draws to a close, all of us at Michelson Found Animals want to take a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished together, thanks to the incredible support of our pet-loving community. This year has been an extraordinary journey filled with heartwarming moments, significant milestones, and a collective commitment to positively impacting the lives of animals in need and the people who care for them.
The organization has made remarkable strides in fulfilling our mission through our dedicated staff’s work, partner’s support, countless volunteer hours, and admirable allegiance to animal welfare. Here’s a glimpse into some of our notable achievements in 2023:
Better Neighbor Project (BNP)
BNP had a very busy 2023 with more events than any year before. In addition to BNP’s weekly pet food pantries and various resource events in the Los Angeles region, they hosted 10 Pet Wellness Days in 2023.
Since 2020, the Better Neighbor Project has provided:
345,000+ lbs of pet food distributed
113,000+ pets served
56,500+ families served
The BNP and DWC teams with happy clients “Peanut” and “Hercules”
This year, Michelson Found Animals established a new partnership for BNP with the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC). Last summer, BNP hosted three events to bring free resources to DWC’s residents and the surrounding community. Collaborating with our magnificent partners and volunteers, we provided dog training and behavior tips, pet food and supplies, and hygiene & wellness services, including grooming, vaccines, and microchips.
To learn more about the BNP program and upcoming events, visit foundanimals.org/better-neighbor-project/
Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology (MPG)
Photo of a “cat scientist” courtesy of The Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Dr. David Pepin, a Michelson Grantee since 2015, published a paper describing his development of an injectable that can induce long-term contraception in domestic cats, providing an alternative to surgical spaying. This research was the result of a partnership between Dr. Pepin and his team at Massachusetts General Hospital and collaborators at the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the University of Massachusetts.
“A nonsurgical sterilant for community and companion animals is long overdue and will transform animal welfare,” said Dr. Gary K. Michelson, founder and co-chair of Michelson Found Animals, which hosts the Michelson Prize & Grants program. “This breakthrough discovery is a major milestone.”
Since Dr. Pepin’s paper was published on June 6, 2023, Michelson Found Animals has received more than 200 media mentions, creating more than 1.4 billion media impressions worldwide. Notable mentions include Science Magazine, National Geographic, and The New York Times.
Read the full story behind the science in our blog, “Journey to a Nonsurgical Sterilant – By Dick Anderson.”
Michelson Found Animals Grants
Michelson Found Animals is committed to funding programs that align with our mission of saving pets and enriching lives. In 2023, our grants program provided over $1 million dollars in funding to 65 organizations.
This year, the Michelson Found Animals Grants program sponsored the My Dog is My Home Open House at PATH Los Angeles. Joining us were Lil Bub’s Big Fund, Maddie’s Fund, and 37 people across homeless services and animal welfare came together, representing 20 organizations to learn about the 15-year evolution of PATH’s outlook and practices on integrating animals into their services.
PATH resident Krystal with her pup, “Keeper”
“PATH makes me feel like I will never be without my dog, and I’m so grateful.”- Krystal, a PATH resident. Krystal is part of PATH’s pet program, a program created as a solution to support people with pets facing homelessness. Since launching this program, PATH has found it has only brought vitality and love into their community, and they hope their practices influence others to integrate co-sheltering into their programs.
We are honored to support many dedicated and impactful organizations through our grants program. To learn more, visit https://www.foundanimals.org/grants/
The Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative (PIHI)
This year, our Pet-Inclusive Housing team has been busy developing resources and partnerships that support pet owners, as well as showcasing the value of pet-inclusive rental housing with rental owners and operators.
The PIHI team with this year’s Pet Awards winners
For the second year running, removing breed and weight restrictions set the grand prize winners apart at the 2023 Pet Awards, presented May 9th at the Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference to showcase pet-inclusive rental housing communities.
Fidus Pet Concierge Communities of Dallas and The Management Group (TMG) of Atlanta were both named Most Pet-Inclusive Company among a strong field of finalists. Like Fidus and TMG, more and more rental housing operators are considering the removal of weight and breed restrictions to be more attractive to pet owners, who now account for about 66 percent of U.S. households.
“We at Michelson Found Animals believe that everyone deserves the joy of having a pet, regardless of where they live,” said Ross Barker, Director of the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative. “Not only do rental housing operators see significant retention lift and the corresponding NOI increase as a result of easing restrictions, they also enjoy more connected communities and happier residents. It’s a true win-win scenario.”
To learn more about the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative, visit petsandhousing.org/.
Leap Venture Studio & Academy
Group Shot at Leap’s Alumni Summit in Nashville, TN
Celebrating 5 Years of Pet Care Innovation! It’s been an incredible journey of impact, growth, and diversity for Leap Venture Studio. Together with Michelson Found Animals, Mars Petcare, R/GA, and pet care enthusiasts, over the past 5 years, we have…
Invested in 45 dynamic early-stage companies
Their portfolio companies span the globe, based in 15 different countries
Their portfolio is over 65% diverse
Their portfolio has raised over $200M in follow-on funding
They’ve seen two companies make successful exits
In 2023, Leap was around the globe jet-setting with events! In addition to their annual cohort (lucky number 7), they held an Alumni Summit in Nashville, a Fellowship program in Montpellier, France, and a pitch competition at SuperZoo in Las Vegas.
To learn more about Leap, visit https://www.leapventurestudio.com/
Michelson Institute for Pet Professions (MIPP)
Since its launch in 2021, The Michelson Institute for Pet Professions has seen 150+ students graduate, with 50+ of those in 2023.
One of this year’s graduates was Arlecia, who learned about the MIPP program from a reference at A New Way of Life, a reentry project that provides housing, case management, pro bono legal services, advocacy, and leadership development for people rebuilding their lives after incarceration.
“MIPP has impacted me by giving me more skills and training in the field I want to pursue, which is dog training and grooming. Every day that I come here, it makes me better. Every day gives me an opportunity to give something back. I love being here. What I hope to do when I finish the program is give back to my community by going downtown to the mission and servicing the dogs there and changing their attitudes the same way when we go to the beauty shop, and it changes ours.”
On the left is Arlecia while enrolled as a student; on the right is Arlecia volunteering at one of our BNP events in Downey, CA, this year.
Pet care careers are in high demand. This year, MIPP hosted a “Growth in Grooming” Career Fair at Groomers Pro in Hawthorne, CA. Industry pros and aspiring pet professionals came together to network, learn, and grow the pet wellness community. Slots for the MIPP program in 2024 are already quickly filling. To learn more about MIPP and how to apply, visit foundanimals.org/mipp.
Spay & Neuter Initiative
This year, MFA established the Spay & Neuter Initiative, powered by the Robert & Erika Brunson Fund. We have expanded our spay and neuter resources to reach more communities in need, providing financial assistance to help reduce pet overpopulation and animal homelessness in our region.
The MFA team with founder Dr. Gary K. Michelson at a BNP event in South Gate, CA. At this event, the Spay & Neuter Initiative coordinated services with our partners for pets to receive surgery for free, thanks to the Robert & Erika Brunson Fund. From the efforts of this event alone a total of 109 dogs and cats received free spay and neuter services.
To learn more, visit foundanimals.org/robert-erika-brunson-fund
These achievements are not merely statistics; they represent the lives we have touched, the tails that have wagged, and the purrs we have elicited. Each success story is a testament to the collective power of compassion and heartfelt impact of our community.
As we look towards the future, we are filled with gratitude for your allegiant support and inspired by the endless possibilities that lie ahead. Together, we can continue to make a world where animals are cherished, protected, and empowered to live happy, healthy lives.
Cheers to a happy and healthy 2024 for you and your pets!