Animal related

Fellow Mortals, Inc.

Compassion Changes Everything

aka Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital   |   Lake Geneva, WI   |  http://www.fellowmortals.org

Mission

"Fellow Mortals is more than a place; it is a living philosophy based on the belief that encouraging compassion in humans toward all life brings out the finest aspects of our humanity."

We believe that individual life is important and do not support the practice of euthanizing healthy animals to limit numbers or conserve resources.

We provide care for all species of wild birds, including non-native birds, as well as for non-predatory mammal species. In order to continue to meet the growing need for services for individuals of these groups, we continue to expand our facilities.

Ruling year info

1992

Executive Director, Co-founder

Yvonne Wallace Blane

Facilities Design & Operations, Co-founder

Steven J. Blane

Main address

W4632 Palmer Rd

Lake Geneva, WI 53147 USA

Show more addresses

EIN

39-1694862

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Graduate, Professional(Separate Entities) (B50)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Wild animals share our world, but they are at the mercy of human activities and human structures that can change their reality in an instant. They suffer trauma when they impact with a vehicle or a window. They are poisoned accidentally and on purpose. They are injured and killed by legal and illegal means. When an adult wild animal is removed from the environment through injury or death, its young are orphaned. When a compassionate human finds a wild animal in distress and wants to help, they turn to a professional wildlife rehabilitator. Fellow Mortals is the only resource available for people from more than 100 communities and multiple counties on the border of Wisconsin and Illinois. 2000 individual animals are brought to the hospital every year by the people who have found and rescued them.

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?

Professional Wildlife Rehabilitation Staff

Fellow Mortals has cared for over 50,000 injured and orphaned wild animals since 1985. Even though many patients are newborns or critically-injured animals, 60-70 percent of those admitted for care are successfully rehabilitated and released or placed as education or foster animals. Professional rehabilitative care is available 365 days a year at no charge to the public, making it accessible to anyone who finds a wild creature in distress, regardless of their financial situation. In conjunction with providing professional and compassionate care, 43 permanently-injured  wild creatures foster young of their own kind as surrogate parents.  These include "Naomi," a Canada goose, and "Chitter" and "Chatter," Chimney Swifts, which serve as behavioral role models for young of their own species, something that is critical for the orphans' survival and breeding success in the wild. FM is also in the process of developing a nature and education center which will provide educational outreach to the public at special events. In addition to its rehablitation and public education work, Fellow Mortals has offered training in wildlife rehabilitation to students, recent graduates and newly-licensed rehabilitators since 1992, providing practical experience that is necessary before entering a wildlife-related profession. Fellow Mortals' five licensed wildlife rehabilitators have degrees in biology and natural sciences and are paid for only a fraction of the time they give to the patients at the hospital.   Our 2016 success rate of 70% (animals released, which will be released or placed for education or fostering) is a testament to how professional care can make a difference to the life of an injured or newborn orphaned creature.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$500,000

The intern program is offered to college students and recent college graduates in wildlife-related fields and offers them to opportunity to acquire hands-on experience to augment their formal training.  Six internships are offered annually. Interns are provided with one of the most generous stipends in the field, and the provision of housing for out-of-town interns makes this opportunity available to interested young professionals from around the world, regardless of their financial situation.  Many of FM's former interns continue to volunteer at the hospital, helping with fundraising and animal care. 
 
Fellow Mortals Internship Program provides the skilled care necessary to provide for the hundreds of orphans admitted to the hospital during the busy summer months, while providing recent graduates the hands-on experience necessary to follow their chosen career path.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$40,000

FM provides public education one-on-one to thousands of people annually, including every person who brings an animal to the hospital and through public outreach at our nature and education center, in schools and to special groups. Information provided includes natural history about wildlife species, as well as information on preventing unnecessary injury and orphaning of wildlife.

Educational materials are developed for these programs and for distribution to the general public.

Program fees are waived for groups that cannot afford a cost, and alternate ways of helping the wildlife at the hospital are provided.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$40,000

Fellow Mortals conducts post-release studies to gauge the success of our rehabilitation protocols for beaver, great-horned owls and other species. Staff wildlife biologist has partnered with IDNR biologists to band birds and track them with radio-telemetry. We are also working with citizen science participants who keep daily logs relating to wildlife released on their property.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$0

In 2013, FM received a gift of a 52-acre property which is equipped with public facilities and buildings suitable for development into a nature and education center. We are developing plans for the center to include permanent exhibit habitats for some species of non-releaseable wildlife, and funding for a full-time wildlife educator to provide programs on-site on a regular basis. The property is already in use as part of our intern program and serves as a secondary care area for rehabilitated white-tailed deer, and a release site for individuals of certain species of wildlife.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$5,000,000

Where we work

Awards

Letter of commendation to Yvonne Wallace Blane 2007

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Andrea Kirk

Letter of support, Internship program 2012

Cazenovia College, Dr. Thad Yorks

Letter of recommendation to Yvonne Wallace Blane & Steve Blane 2014

Raptor Education Group, Marge Gibson

Outstanding Charity in Wisconsin 2017

Parade Magazine

Affiliations & memberships

International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council 2012

National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) 2012

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Number of animals monitored post release

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

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Post-release Research of Rehabilitated Wildlife

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Post-release studies help us understand how rehabilitated animals acclimate back to the wild. Numbers represent observations of animals identified by tagging and actual or remote observation.

Number of nonreleaseable animals saved from euthanasia and placed for wildlife education or conspecific fostering

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

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Wildlife Education

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Unreleaseable wild animals must be euthanized unless they can be placed with licensed individuals or institutions as education animals or fosters to orphans of their own species.

Number of animals rehabilitated

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

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Professional Wildlife Rehabilitation Staff

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This number represents the individual animals which received professional care after they were brought to the hospital by members of the public who found them injured or orphaned.

Number of non-releaseable animals saved from euthanasia to act as fosters to orphans of their species

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

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Wildlife Education

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Wild orphans must be raised to know their own kind. This number represents the number of birds saved from euthanasia to act as fosters to orphaned young.

Percentage of animals admitted which were successfully rehabilitated

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

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Professional Wildlife Rehabilitation Staff

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Admitting injury or condition affects release, as does # of staff. In 2019 we were down to 3 staff from 6 in 2018. # Released divided by # Admitted less # DOA/Euthanized due to severity of injury

Percentage of newborn and eyes-closed mammals admitted that were successfully rehabilitated and released: rabbit <7 days; grey squirrel <4 weeks; opossum <9 weeks; white-footed mouse <2 weeks

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

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Professional Wildlife Rehabilitation Staff

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Successful rehabilitation of newborn and eyes-closed mammals -50g is directly related to ability to provide staff care. In 2019 we were down 3 staff from 2018 (3 rehabilitators vs. 6)

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

We believe that injured and orphaned wildlife deserve professional attention from a person who is trained and experienced in caring for the species. Fellow Mortals provides care for any species of wild bird--from sparrow to eagle, and for any non-predatory mammal. We work with eyes-closed and newborn birds and mammals, as well as critically-injured adult wildlife. Fellow Mortals' care model is unique the wildlife rehabilitation field, as we do not utilize volunteers at the hospital or in their homes. All wildlife care is provided by full-time licensed wildlife rehabilitators at the hospital location. In the busiest months, we are joined by a handful of college students majoring in wildlife-related fields, who provide care for orphaned wildlife under the supervision of professional staff. We are very fortunate to have several veterinarians who donate their skills for surgery, consulting, and advanced diagnostics. A wild animal must do more than survive to be released; it must know its own kind, how to find or procure food in the wild, and be properly imprinted on its own species. We work hard to keep healthy wildlife from coming into care but when necessary, they are often placed with a conspecific (same species) adult. Providing injured and orphaned wildlife with surrogate parents is critical for impressionable young animals, especially birds that imprint quickly and will imprint improperly if not provided with appropriate role models. Injured adult wildlife benefit from the presence of their own kind as well. Observations of adult patients housed near or with conspecifics results in patients exhibiting less stress, more normal behaviors, and better adaptation to care. In every instance, our goal is to provide appropriate care for the individual animal, with the best result a release of a healthy, properly socialized animal back to the wild. Just as important to our mission is to provide information and education about wild species and natural history to the people who bring the animals to us, with the goal of preventing wildlife conflicts through inspiring understanding and compassion toward the wild species that share their space.

All of our small professional staff came to the organization through our Wildlife Care Intern program, which has been operating since 1992. Without the internship program, we would not be able to handle the influx of 1,000 animals over the space of three months. Young songbirds are fed every 15-30 minutes a minimum of 24 times a day. Young mammals are fed at least every four hours, sometimes five times a day. A permanent staff is critical to our rehabilitation success and we are currently fundraising to add another two staff positions. In addition to staff, extensive and varied facilities are required to provide care for over 100 species of wildlife--all at the same time. We currently have 10,000 square feet of hospital and clinic space, which includes various pool habitats for waterfowl and marine mammals. We also have various outdoor habitats and caging for wildlife nearing release and requiring more space for exercise, and more separation from human activity.

We are fortunate to have a stable, dedicated, multi-talented staff and have been able to count on some consistent funding from long-term donors that provides an ability to budget major items. In addition to wildlife rehablitation expertise, staff members have diverse backgrounds in legal, business, the building trades, biology, etc., which allows us to handle nearly all aspects of running the organization without requiring outside assistance. In addition, our board and advisory board includes individuals who donate services in veterinary, legal, accounting, and business, and another approximately 75 volunteers donate time over the course of the year for fundraising, help in the admissions area of the hospital, for general facilities maintenance and cleanup, and IT work. Nearly $370,000 of time was donated in 2018. We are in the process of reorganizing our board of directors in 2020 as part of creating a succession plan that can provide major donors with the confidence to continue to invest in the organization into the future.

1. The successful outcome of a wild individual brought to the hospital injured or orphaned is our first priority. While release percentage is one indicator of success, it does not reflect the service we provide to end the suffering of fatally injured animals. We are looking for other ways to assess our quality of care that are easily understandable to the communities we serve. 2. We are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our physical facilities to benefit the wild patients during their care and are in the last stage of raising funds for the Critical Care Wing of the Hospital. As long as we are improving and maintaining the facilities required for excellent care, we are on track. 3. Our small professional staff works very long hours, up to 70 hours a week. Wildlife hospitals are like MASH units. Wild creatures are injured and orphaned 365 days a year, at all hours of the day and night. It is our goal to add enough additional staff so that we can reduce the hours worked to a more reasonable number. 4. Within the wildlife rehabilitation community, there is an accepted paradigm of euthanizing healthy animals as part of 'conserving resources.' We reject this paradigm. Fellow Mortals' core values include the pledge that we will not euthanize a healthy animal; rather, we work hard to raise the funds to add facilities and staff to continue to meet the need for our specialized services. If we can show others that our model works, and stop the euthanasia of healthy orphaned animals as part of another organization's business model, we would truly feel we have made a difference.

2020 is Fellow Mortals 35th consecutive year serving as a no-fee resource to the public. Since our inception, we have continued to push the boundaries of what is possible for wildlife care, and have created some of the most unique facilities in the world. It isn't just about keeping the organization alive, it's just as important to us that we have kept our philosophy alive and true. At the end of 2017, we were honored to be chosen by Parade Magazine as the Outstanding Nonprofit for Wisconsin in their 2017 Giving Issue. While fundraising has never been our strong suit, we have been very, very fortunate to have donors who understand and support our philosophy of valuing individual life. Many of our supporters have been with us since the early days of the organization; others have joined in supporting our mission after we helped them with a wildlife situation. In 2020, we hope to add another permanent staff member, finish the Critical Care Wing, publish a new education booklet, reorganize our board of directors and create a strong succession plan, and help as many wild animals and people as need us.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), suggestion box/email, top nonprofits, facebook, google.

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: 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?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, our community partners.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: it is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback.

  • What significant change resulted from feedback

    As a small nonprofit with limited staff and those staff focused on animal care, we realize that the people contacting the hospital for advice and help need and deserve us to spend more time with them on animal-related issues. While every call (sometimes 75 a day on the busiest days) requires the attention of a licensed rehabilitator, we now have several volunteers who act as intermediaries between the wildlife staff and the public. These volunteers are able to relay important information to the people coming to the hospital, and have the time to listen to the concerns and questions of the people who are the reason Fellow Mortals exists. Someday we hope to fund this position full-time; in the meantime we will continue to recruit volunteers to help us provide better client services.

Financials

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

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Fellow Mortals, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 3/10/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Steven Blane

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Term: 2017 - 2018


Board co-chair

Samuel Bradt

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Term: 2017 - 2018

Paul Edwards

Edwards & Associates

Yvonne Wallace Blane

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Samuel Bradt

Merganser Fund

Robert Brumder

Robt. W. Baird & Co., Milwaukee, WI

Steven Blane

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Cassandra Miller

No Affiliation

Laura Arnow

Arnow & Associates, Milwaukee, WI

Richard Scholze

Konicek, Kaiser, Scholze & Wanasek, Burlington, WI

Karen McKenzie

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

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.

  • 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 03/10/2020

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

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/10/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
Policies and processes
  • 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.

Keywords

animal, education, bird, wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife hospital, wildlife training, orphaned wildlife, injured wildlife, education, public education