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Where We Come From

michelson found animals foundation

14 Years of Saving Pets and Enriching Lives

The Michelson Found Animals Foundation was created by Dr. Gary Michelson in 2005 to improve outcomes for companion animals. A lifelong animal lover, Dr. Michelson was moved by the plight of thousands of animals separated from their families by Hurricane Katrina. Inspired to help ensure that every lost pet can get home safely, the Foundation’s first grants were to provide microchips to Los Angeles area shelters. Grants to help bring more subsidized spay/neuter services to low-income families and community cat caregivers soon followed. In these first years of Found Animals, Dr. Michelson ran the Foundation from his kitchen table.

By early 2008, Gary had a long list of innovative programs that he wanted to implement so he hired an Executive Director, Aimee Gilbreath. As the Foundation’s first employee, Aimee set to work creating an infrastructure for the organization to grow. The first priority was creating better technology for managing pet population and in the fall of 2008 Found Animals launched the Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology. This $75 Million program encourages academic and biopharmaceutical researchers to develop a non-surgical sterilant product for dogs and cats. Since its inception, the Michelson Prize & Grants program has committed $15 Million in grant funding to over 30 projects worldwide at institutions such as Harvard, Berkeley, and Cornell.

Subsequent innovative programs soon followed, including: Adopt & Shop, a humane-model retail and pet adoption boutique in Culver City & Lakewood, California, where all pets offered for adoption are from local shelter partners; Microchip & Registry, which offers affordable microchips and scanners to shelters and nonprofit organizations nationwide as well as a free-for-life, national microchip registry called Found Animals Registry ®; and the Saving Pets Challenge, a partnership with Crowdrise which brings the power of crowdfunding to animal welfare non-profits nationwide.

As of the end of 2015 Found Animals has grown to a team of 70 staff and nearly 600 active volunteers who assist with everything from playing with and caring for pets at Adopt & Shop to working in the administrative headquarters. This dedicated team is very proud of what Found Animals has accomplished Saving Pets, Enriching Lives.

The Michelson Found Animals Foundation’s mission of saving pets and enriching lives is made possible by the generous contributions of Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson.