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 and staff.

Notes from the nonprofit

It is entirely our choice how to affect our world and to what extent we will let it affect us, but it is important to remember that in the moment we touch another life, that existence may already be so tenuous that our one kind act, or cruel, might be all that’s left between hope and despair, life and death. Compassion Changes Everything. Yvonne Wallace Blane, co-founder

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 contact info

EIN

39-1694862

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 123 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 60,000 injured and orphaned wild animals since 1985. Even though many patients are newborns or critically-injured animals, the majority 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 or work schedule.

In conjunction with providing professional and compassionate care, permanently-injured  wild creatures of common species foster young of their own kind as surrogate parents.  These include "Naomi," a Canada goose, "Robbie & Jian" Eastern screech owls, and "Sherman," a common nighthawk, 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.

In addition to its direct rehabilitation services, the licensed wildlife rehabilitators on staff mentor and supervise college students and recent graduates interested in obtaining hands-on experience to augment their formal course work.

Fellow Mortals' five licensed wildlife rehabilitators have degrees in biology and natural sciences and choose to work in a field where the compensation is much less than in a for-profit setting.

Our release percentage (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
Adults
Children and youth
Work status and occupations

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.  Four to six internships are offered annually. Interns are provided with a stipend to help with meals and other necessities and out-of-town interns can apply for housing, which 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 or donate decades after their internship.
 
Fellow Mortals Internship Program provides the consistent care necessary to provide for the hundreds of orphans admitted to the hospital which require frequent hand-feedings, while providing recent graduates the hands-on experience necessary to follow their chosen career path.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Fellow Mortals 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 including videos, pamphlets, and activity kits 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.

The organization was gifted a 52-acre property in 2013 which is in development as a nature education site.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Fellow Mortals conducts post-release studies to gauge the success of our rehabilitation protocols for beaver, great-horned owls, white-tailed deer fawn, and other species and has partnered with Wisconsin and Illinois state 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
Adults
Children and youth

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
Adults
Children and youth
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants

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

Partnership Award 2019

Wisconsin Conservation Wardens

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

Adults, Children and youth

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

Adults

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

Adults, Children and youth

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

Adults, Children and youth

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

Adults

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

Adults

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)

Number of wildlife education contacts related to admit of injured wildlife

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

Children and youth, Adults

Related Program

Wildlife Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Every time an animal is admitted to care, several people are involved. Each admit represents a wildlife education encounter unique to the event and involving from 1 to a dozen people.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

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 in 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 working to expand our permanent wildlife care staff to sustain our operating model.

In addition to staff, extensive and varied facilities are required to provide care for over 100 species of wildlife, over 500 individuals 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. In 2019, $253,000 was donated in services or in-kind gifts.

We are currently developing our succession plan to identify and segment responsibilities that have historically been accomplished by one or two people, as well as examining operations to ensure that our mission and services are able to continue with the change or loss of current board or staff.

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 our business model of operating with a professional staff was put to an unanticipated test as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have long operated differently from the volunteer-based paradigm in the wildlife rehabilitation field. 2020 found our business model sound, as we did not cease or limit services in any way as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic while volunteer-run facilities closed entirely or limited or changed services.

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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We provide our services to all people equally. There is no charge for the services we provide and, in the event the person who needs us has difficulty in using our services, we work to make those services accessible.

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

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Suggestion box/email, Top Nonprofits, Facebook, Google,

  • 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, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • 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. When face-to-face interactions were not possible because of the pandemic, we created new ways to interact 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,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Creating an avenue for feedback has brought us closer to the people we serve and has increased the likelihood that they will recommend our services to someone else. Feedback also makes us accountable for decisions we make and helps us ensure transparency in our operations.

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

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, 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 act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

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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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

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Fellow Mortals, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 8/2/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Attorney Richard Scholze

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Term: 2020 - 2021


Board co-chair

Yvonne Wallace Blane

Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Term: 2020 - 2021

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

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 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.