Best Friends Animal Society

Together, we can Save Them All

aka Best Friends   |   Kanab, UT   |  bestfriends.org

Mission

Every day, more than 950 dogs and cats are killed in America's animal shelters, just because they don't have safe places to call home. But every day, there's something each of us can do to help save those lives. The mission of Best Friends Animal Society is to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. We do this by helping end the killing in America's animal shelters through building community programs and partnerships all across the nation. We believe that by working together, we can Save Them All.

Ruling year info

1971

Chief Executive Officer

Julie Castle

Main address

5001 Angel Canyon Rd

Kanab, UT 84741 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7147797

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (D01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Today, more than 950 dogs and cats are killed every day in animal shelters across the country, just because they don't have safe places to call home. Working collaboratively with shelters, other animal welfare organizations and you, we can Save Them All. Best Friends has pledged to lead this country to no-kill by 2025.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Saving Lives

At Best Friends, we believe that every animal is deserving of a full and happy life and that big change requires creativity and a willingness to challenge conventional practices. We’ve pioneered new approaches to saving lives and are continuing to develop and test lifesaving tactics and technologies that will better inform the work to end the killing of pets in shelters.

We’re saving lives through the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and through programs and initiatives with a broad reach that allow us to share what we’ve learned with our partners and give them the tools they need to end the killing. Across the country, we have teams that work both remotely and in-person to deliver services that save more lives in their communities and states. And this work is about more than saving lives—it is about ENDING the killing of pets in shelters. We are driving systemic change in animal welfare, thanks to the visionary commitment of our partners.

Lifesaving Programs and Initiatives

Community-supported sheltering means thinking beyond the walls of the shelter into community-based solutions involving a range of partners committed to the same goal: saving lives. Our strategy is also evolving to a region-wide view, with our lifesaving hubs expanding their impact beyond the cities in which they are based.

Our lifesaving hubs in areas like Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Northwest Arkansas and Houston extend our reach. In these communities and beyond, Best Friends’ lifesaving teams work collaboratively with city shelters, individuals, and local animal welfare organizations to save lives. We don’t just want better animal shelters; we want to reduce the need for animal shelters.

For example, our centers run foster and adoption programs in collaboration with animal shelters, facilitate lifesaving pet transports, help nearby rescue groups raise funds, run community cat programs, provide access to spay/neuter services and work collaboratively with whole communities to save more lives.




Population(s) Served

Best Friends’ national data collection and analysis tell us which animal shelters across the country need the most help, as well as the level and type of assistance they may need. Based on that information, we then help animal shelters in the United States reach and sustain no-kill by offering customized technical assistance, capacity-building support and financial assistance. Our solutions look different based on each community’s need, but the results are the same: more no-kill shelters.

Best Friends’ bench of 300-plus expert trainers, coaches and mentors work together to deliver a range of tools that transforms animal sheltering systems. For most shelters, our free online lifesaving library with comprehensive playbooks, best practice manuals, webinars and e-learning courses that cover a range of topics is exactly what they need to accelerate their progress to no-kill.

For the shelters that have the most lives to save, Best Friends takes a hands-on approach, providing one-to-one coaching and mentoring for shelter leadership, staff and animal control officers. Through these partnerships, Best Friends experts work alongside shelter staff to build trusting relationships, conduct assessment, share best practices and provide personalized guidance. We even embed our own staff in temporary, but long-term, roles within priority shelters for intensive lifesaving and leadership support.

We are also scaling up our efforts to facilitate peer-to-peer connections. By bringing partners together through lunch and learns, roundtables, cohorts and coalitions, and by incentivizing peer-to-peer mentorships, we are helping connect partners to strengthen shared learning, accelerate lifesaving, elevate other leaders and replicate systems change faster than we could ever do alone.




Population(s) Served

We are creating positive change for the most at-risk pets through advocacy work, targeted campaigns, and public service announcements to increase awareness of puppy and kitten mills, breed discrimination, community cats and pet-friendly housing.

During fiscal year 2020 (October–September), the Best Friends advocacy team helped enact 21 local retail and/or roadside pet sales ordinances, as well as a statewide ban of the retail sale of pets in Maine. There are now more than 380 local and statewide retail pet sale bans in North America. These laws prohibit pet stores from selling pets bred in commercial puppy and kitten mills — instead allowing the adoption of pets sourced from shelters or rescue groups. Our puppy mill initiatives team works to convince pet stores to offer pets from shelters and rescue groups for adoption instead of selling mill-bred animals, educates consumers about puppy mills and their connection to pet stores and online puppy retailers, and lobbies for humane legislation. Increased state and local regulations, greater media exposure and public awareness have helped make the traditional puppy mill industry more prohibitive and less profitable.

We are also working with poverty support organizations to connect vulnerable residents with resources that keep pets and families together and ensure housing policies are pet-friendly. Data shows that housing restrictions on pets is the second most common reason pets are surrendered to shelters, and we are working to promote pet-inclusive policies in standard and affordable housing. These policies will prevent unnecessary separation of pets from their families and allow more pets to be fostered and adopted by any and all animal lovers.

Best Friends is helping communities to create community cat programs that focus on public and private partnerships and the goal of Best Friends' cat initiatives is to keep cats safe and provide positive outcomes for those entering shelters. We do this by helping municipalities create laws that support trap-neuter-return (TNR), and by operating community cat programs with public and nonprofit partners. From 2016 through 2018, Best Friends influenced 73 legislative wins that positively affected community cats.



Population(s) Served

At Best Friends, we believe in working with local shelters and animal welfare organizations.

Collaboration with these groups is key to ending the killing in America’s shelters, because when we work together, we save more lives. We have put together a network of more than 3,300 animal welfare organizations in all 50 states working in their own corners of the nation to save the lives of pets. Being a part of our network gives groups all across the country the chance to work together to implement lifesaving programs. Membership also comes with benefits like opportunities to take part in national adoption promotions, discounts and scholarships to educational conferences, and consultations with Best Friends staff.

Last year, shelters partnering with Best Friends reduced the number of pets killed at 3.5 times the rate of other shelters. That's 63,374 cats and dogs saved. Empowering shelter and rescue group partners to save more lives through targeted programming is a primary component of our plan to lead the nation to no-kill. In 2020, a total of $7.8 million in funding was provided to Best Friends Network partners. Network partners can also take part in fundraising events like our nationwide Strut Your Mutt sponsored dog walk. In 2020, this event raised nearly $1.5 million for our network partners around the country.

The Network regional specialists are our direct link to partners around the country. They help new partners understand the many benefits of the program, and provide one-on-one consulting to troubleshoot everything from marketing and event promotions, to educating groups on how to build solid relationships with their local shelters. The specialists also distribute grants to these organizations, and work with them to ensure that the donated funds are helping to save more lives. There is no cost to members to participate.

Population(s) Served

As the purest expression of our commitment to Save Them All, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Nestled in the red rock canyons of southern Utah, the nearly 4,200-acre Sanctuary is a home-between homes for around 1,600 animals, many with special medical or behavioral needs. The Sanctuary is where our movement began, and it continues to serve as the proving grounds for innovative lifesaving techniques that are helping to redefine the care and compassion we provide to homeless pets.

Animals live here, are loved here, and are welcome to stay until they are adopted. Best Friends employs a holistic approach to each animal’s lifesaving, which is tailored to meet his or her unique needs. There is an extensive “menu” of care options at Best Friends, and each animal receives the combination of options likely to benefit them the most. Of course, a lot of love and attention are baked in at every step of the way, with the ultimate goal of preparing animals to be placed into loving homes whenever possible. And for those few animals who are never ready to take that next step, Best Friends is their safe haven for life.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2011

Nonprofit of the Year

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2012

Nonprofit of the Year

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2016

Nonprofit of the Year

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2019 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2019

Nonprofit of the Year

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2018 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2018

Nonprofit of the Year

Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year in the 2021 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study 2021

Nonprofit of the Year

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Spay/neuter surgeries performed through Best Friends clinics and programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Saving Lives

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The need to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) halted non-urgent veterinary procedures in many places during 2020, which led to a suspension or drastic reduction in spay/neuter services.

Animals adopted through Best Friends adoption centers, events and promotions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Saving Lives

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

For 2020 we shifted to virtual pet adoptions with curbside pickup and a national online adoption event. The decline in 2018 is due to resource shift - hosting fewer national adoption promotions.

Number of Best Friends Network Partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Mobilizing the Public

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This number changes on a regular basis. For updated information, visit bestfriends.org/our-work/supporting-network-partners/network-partners.

Funding provided to Best Friends Network Partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Mobilizing the Public

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

When Best Friends began in 1984, approximately 17 million dogs and cats were killed every year in our nation's shelters. Today, that number is down to about 347,000. That's incredible progress, but it also means there are still nearly 950 dogs and cats being killed every day simply because they don't have safe places to call home.

Best Friends is uniquely positioned to continue to lead our partners and the country to become a nation that no longer kills healthy dogs and cats in shelters.

Our goal is to reduce the number of cats and dogs entering the shelter system and increase the number leaving alive until we Save Them All by 2025.

To achieve these goals, we will directly save more shelter pets through proven, lifesaving adoption and spay/neuter programs and by addressing the gaps in public understanding and awareness through targeted outreach and education.

More specifically, we must:
• Through education and advocacy, create a groundswell of public support for spay/neuter and adoption.
• Save the most at-risk cats and dogs from being killed in shelters: kittens, adult cats (particularly community cats) and large dogs, including pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes.
• Through legislation and advocacy efforts, put an end to breed discrimination and puppy mills, and support trap-neuter-return as the best way to control community cat populations and reduce shelter intake.
• Maintain the beauty and integrity of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill refuge that on any given day is home for about 1,600 animals (many with special needs), as well as the accompanying goal of rehabilitating and finding homes for as many as possible.
• Create Save Them All ambassadors through our visitor and volunteer programs.
• Expand our footprint beyond the Sanctuary and our existing regional centers in order to broaden our lifesaving impact.
• Strengthen our Best Friends Network by providing the needed resources so that our partners can save more lives.

Save Lives

1. Increase pet adoptions - Best Friends is committed to making pet adoption an easy, inclusive process by removing barriers for people who want to provide a loving home for pets who need them. In May 2020, we hosted our first virtual super adoption, which helped find homes for over 1,700 pets from Best Friends and 252 partner organizations.

2. Expand foster networks – Fostering a pet saves lives and frees up space for another pet to be rescued. Best Friends partners with shelters around the country, helping to create and maintain foster programs. A growing need is foster care for orphaned or newborn kittens and puppies. Best Friends equips foster families with the supplies and training they need to provide lifesaving one-on-one care in their homes.

3. Support spay/neuter services - Preventing accidental litters of puppies and kittens through spay and neuter is one of the most critical strategies for achieving our goal of ending the killing in the nation’s shelters. The impact affordable and accessible spay/neuter services has on decreasing shelter intake is large. Best Friends supports spay/neuter programs across the country and offers low-cost services in our lifesaving centers and clinics.

Support shelters

4. Provide hands-on mentoring and targeted coaching - To help shelters reach and sustain no-kill, we created a comprehensive “toolbox” of lifesaving solutions, including technical assistance, capacity-building support and grants. Using this toolbox, our expert trainers, coaches and mentors provide customized assistance and meet shelters where they are on their journey to no-kill. Organizations that partner with Best Friends save lives 3.5 times faster than those that don’t.

5. Invest in no-kill leadership development - We are helping to prepare the next generation of no-kill leaders through a variety of advanced learning opportunities, such as digital materials, podcast episodes, and online learning and certification opportunities. This includes the Executive Leadership Certification program, a first-of-its-kind, university-accredited academic program that provides professional development for those who will play pivotal roles in advancing the no-kill movement.

Mobilize the public

6. Advocate for policy change - We are removing barriers to saving lives, such as breed-discriminatory legislation, through public policy advocacy. We have also helped change ordinances to legalize lifesaving practices like trap-neuter-return. Nearly 25 local ordinances banning the retail and/or roadside sale of pets from commercial kitten and puppy mills were enacted in 2020, as well as a statewide ban in Maine. Today, there are nearly 400 local and statewide retail pet sale bans in North America.

7. Empower community engagement - With more than 27,000 volunteer members, the 2025 Action Team advances local, statewide and national change on behalf of the animals. We support the team through advocacy training, self-serve resources and coaching

Beginning with the establishment of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, Best Friends has been a pioneer in the animal welfare field. Since 1984, we have challenged conventional practices and helped save the lives of millions of homeless pets. Our philosophies and strategies are grounded in our simple and steadfast belief that every unique, individual pet deserves a home.

We have demonstrated our effectiveness in saving the lives of pets and changing hearts and minds — like Utah, for example, where we have actively led the no-kill movement since 2000. In 1999, nearly 46,000 dogs and cats in shelters were being killed each year. Since then, the number of dogs and cats killed in Utah shelters has decreased by nearly 80 percent, and we are on the threshold of Utah becoming the largest no-kill state.

Throughout the years, Best Friends has distinguished itself by an unwavering commitment to save all pets — even those who people have given up on. For example, Best Friends led the effort to rescue pets stranded during Hurricane Katrina and rescued and rehabilitated 22 of the most traumatized dogs from the property of dogfighter Michael Vick. Many of these “Vicktory dogs" have found loving homes after having a hugely positive effect on public perceptions about pit bull terriers and the victims of dogfighting.

Our effectiveness and capacity to bring the nation to no-kill by 2025 is directly tied to our unique ability to demonstrate lifesaving programs and multiply our impact through our national network of more than 3,300 Best Friends Network partners and no-kill coalition partners. We are dedicated to empowering our animal welfare partners with the practical know-how and resources needed to achieve and sustain no-kill communities. This combination of experience, passion, innovation, collaboration and expansive reach sets Best Friends apart and positions us to Save Them All.

During fiscal year 2020, through a variety of Best Friends programs, events, clinics and lifesaving centers:

22,876 pets were adopted
47,543 pets were spayed or neutered
9,364 pets were fostered in 4,758 foster homes
23,618 cates were saved through community cat mentorships and programs
Over 20,000 animals were transported to places where they had the best chance of finding homes.

Empowering shelter and rescue group partners to save more lives through targeted programming is a primary component of our plan to lead the nation to no-kill. In 2020, a total of $7.8 million in funding was provided to Best Friends Network partners. Through virtual town hall meetings, informative podcasts and operational playbooks on topics ranging from animal care to the latest in COVID-19 guidance, we have provided our network partners with lifesaving tools and resources to keep saving lives, even in uncertain times.

Best Friends’ shelter outreach team spent the last year supporting, guiding and empowering partner animal welfare organizations committed to saving more lives around the country through a range of learning experiences. We provide shelters with expert staff members, assessments, recommendations and more. In 2020, 32 agencies received 53 mentorships, saving the lives of 23,554 pets.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email, Donor research panel,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Best Friends Animal Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Best Friends Animal Society

Board of directors
as of 7/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Francis Battista

Francis Battista

Molly Jordan Koch

Gregory Castle

Anne Mejia

Lynn Flanders

Cyrus Mejia

Abby Jones

Micarl Hill

Oke Mueller

Lona Williams

Denise Clark

Joe Angelo

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/12/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/12/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.