TURPENTINE CREEK FOUNDATION INC

Rescuing Exotic Cats Nationwide

aka Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge   |   Eureka Springs, AR   |  https://www.tcwr.org

Mission

To provide lifetime refuge for abandoned, abused, and neglected “Big Cats" with emphasis on Tigers, Lions, Leopards, and Cougars.

Ruling year info

1994

Founder/President

Mrs. Tanya Jackson Smith

Main address

239 Turpentine Creek Ln

Eureka Springs, AR 72632 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

71-0721742

NTEE code info

Wildlife Sanctuary/Refuge (D34)

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

Across the U.S. thousands of big cats live in inadequate facilities or are privately owned. When facilities are closed, laws change, legal action is taken, or private owners realize that owning a wild animal is too much for them to handle sanctuaries are called to intercede and provide a forever home for those animals. The illegal wildlife trade is the 4th largest global black market. These animals can be found in shoddy zoos, circuses, pay-to-play attractions and even backyards. Cub-petting is a major money-making offshoot of the Exotic Pet Trade. The USDA allows handling of cubs between 4-12 weeks of age which encourages breeders to churn out hundreds of cubs yearly to supply their demand. It is unknown what happens to those cubs after 12-weeks. There are over 7,000 tigers in America today. As of 2014, there were over 700 reported incidents in the U.S. involving captive exotic cats since 1990. Incidents are not always reported because of the legal consequences the owner could face.

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?

Animal Care

Turpentine Creek Foundation, Inc. rescues big cats and bears throughout the United States and gives them a lifetime home. Since Turpentine Creek has begun, we have been developing our animal care program. Turpentine Creek Foundation, Incorporation's animal care has developed to be the best in our industry. Our animals are cared for at the highest level and interns are trained correctly to pursue careers in the animal care industry.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Even though Turpentine Creek has always offered public education, in January of 2018 we established our formal outreach program. Staffed by certified wildlife interpreters with degrees in wildlife conservation and wildlife biology, our team hosts groups and visits classrooms K-college throughout NW Arkansas and the surrounding region. TCWR is evolving how we educate youth through Interpretive Learning to teach why sustainable behavior matters, how they can affect positive change through their everyday actions, and the devastation the Exotic Animal Trade inflicts on both captive and endangered wild species.

In 2021 our team taught 44,425 people of all ages onsite. Educational tours are offered seven days per week, with online reservations. We also reached close to 3,000 students in 10 different states and Canada through our virtual classes. Our goal is to create a New Generation of Wildlife Advocates.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

TCWR is working to create advocates who will lobby for the passing of national legislation to protect big cats by making cub petting illegal, and greatly restrict private ownership and breeding. The Big Cat Public Safety Act for the 117th US Congress Session (2021-2023) has been reintroduced to the House of Representatives as H.R. 263 and has yet to be reintroduced to the Senate. It has been assigned to the Natural Resource Committee in the House. https://www.turpentinecreek.org/advocacy/

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) 2017

Awards

USDA License 1992

A.P.H.I.S a division of U.S.D.A and the Arkansas Game and Fish

Affiliations & memberships

Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance 2017

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 with freedom from hunger and thirst

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

Animal Care

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We have cared for an average of 95 animals for the past three years. Quality of life decisions in elderly animals can lower this number while new rescues throughout the year cause it to increase.

Number of animals with freedom from discomfort

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

Animal Care

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of new advocates recruited

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

Adults

Related Program

Animal Care

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is a brand new program that is growing. As of October of 2019, 1,385 supporters have taken action. This program is expanding as we discover ways to reach new people.

Number of people educated about the faults of having big cats as pets

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

Adults, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This figure includes off-site classroom visits and booth presentations along with our weekly onsite education programs, guided tours, children’s day camps, workshops, and volunteer enrichment days.

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.

Turpentine Creek is utilizing public education, social media, facility tours, and advocacy to help get information out about the Exotic Pet Trade. Through promotion of federal and state legislation, educating the public about the plight of big cats and other exotic animals in captivity, and social awareness, we plan to put an end to the Exotic Animal Trade in the U.S.
Big Cat Trade while providing a safe place for its survivors to call home.

When the Big Cat Trade ends, these animals will no longer require sanctuary, but our work will be far from finished. At that time we will have to continue caring for the animals (up to 25 years after laws are passed) and also direct our rescue focus to other species, such as bears, and later on, native apex predators like wolves, who face uncertain futures due to human encroachment and persecution.

We will continue our mission, adapting as needed, to protect animals in captivity that are survivors of the Exotic Animal Trade.

Ending the Exotic Pet Trade is achievable in our lifetime if we can continue to expand our public educational outreach and advocacy programs.

Rescue Victims:
TCWR will continue to use its 30 years experience of rescuing big cats and bears nationwide. After rescue we provide a lifetime home with the best care in the world. This provides homes to the needy while we work to stop the trade.

Education:
By having a dedicated education department, we are able to offer off-site and onsite educational sessions for all ages to raise awareness of the Exotic Pet Trade and build a community of environmentalists and advocates that can work together for the passing of national legislation to end the Trade and create a more sustainable society.

In 2021 our presentations reached over 55,000 individuals through in person and virtual classes and educational tours.

Advocacy:
We have an advocacy page on our website, www.turpentinecreek.org/advocacy, which makes it easier than ever to become a voice for big cats!

The Big Cat Public Safety Act, aims to protect captive wildlife, as well as the general public. The bill is currently proposing the outlawing of cub-petting; with this money-making arm of the Exotic Pet Trade cut off, our hope is the rest will disintegrate. At the very least, the passing of this law will pave the way for other protections for big cats in the U.S. The bill is in better position to pass into law than ever before in 2022.

With 30 years of proven big cat and bear rescue, and aftercare, success, we will continue to develop our skills and care for the casualties of the exotic pet trade. So First we rescue and then we educate.

TCWR education staff are certified by the National Association for Interpretation with the goal of spreading education on the TCWR mission and vision across the US and around the World with in person and online outreach. According to the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), a successful education program utilizes four modes of learning: through auditory information, visual observation, kinesthetic (touching), and writing. Along with wayside signs, fact sheets and photos, we incorporate replica claws, skulls, paw prints, and scat in our weekly programs, guided tours, children’s summer day camps, school visits, booth presentations, workshops, and volunteer enrichment days. This form of educating the public will help them to think, provoke them to ask more questions, discover valuable information, and become more involved in the world of animal advocacy and environmentalism. Our staff’s N.A.I. training and day-to-day experience with victims of the Exotic Animal Trade make them uniquely qualified to educate the public.

•1991: Notorious breeder/black market dealer abandons 42 big cats on the Jackson family’s property. They offer help.
•1992: TCWR becomes a 501 c (3) nonprofit organization
•1996: TCWR establishes a competitive intern program and goes on to train world-class animal care experts over the coming decades.
•2002: TCWR helps to put an end to a breeding operation taking in a total of 28 animals from the facility.
•2005: TCWR provides information for a former intern to write House Bill 2681 and creates a community of advocates to get the bill passed. This law heavily restricted private ownership of dangerous exotic and native animals in Arkansas.
•2009: TCWR rescues multiple animals from the Branson Interactive Zoo and Aquarium after regulations change.
•2012: TCWR leads the rescue of 34 big cats (taking in 28 animals) from a breeder when their owner is too ill to continue caring for the animals. In 128 days TCWR built 20 new habitats to accommodate the new animal residents.
•2015: All habitats at the Refuge are converted into natural enclosures.
•2015: TCWR is verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS)
•2016: The construction of the on-site, state-of-the-art Jackson Memorial Veterinary Hospital is complete.
•2017: The final animals from the largest big cat and bear rescue in U.S. History, (The Colorado Project facilitated by TCWR) are removed from a Colorado breeding/cub-petting scheme.
•2017: Through the Colorado Project, the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance is established.
•2017: TCWR is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, meaning it upholds the highest standards of animal care and safety.
•2018: The Refuge launches their Education Department to spread education and advocacy.
•2018: The Refuge advocates for the Big Cat Public Safety Act, over 3,500 emails sent to government officials to date.
•2019: TCWR rescues 6 big cats from a facility in Oklahoma when the owner was kicked off his property. The 6 cubs had initially been rescued from a notorious facility in Oklahoma after they ‘aged out’ of the “cub petting” scheme. One passed away from a tick born disease he was suffering from during the rescue.
•2019: TCWR performs an emergency rescue when flooding of the Arkansas river displaced two pet bobcats. The bobcats were rescued in an abandoned house with water up to their bellies, which was still rising.
*2020: TCWR transformed the lives of 12 big cats in 3 successful rescues.
*2021: TCWR transformed the lives of 18 animals in 5 successful rescues including 10 big cats seized by the Federal Government from the Tiger King Park in Oklahoma and 3 cubs born to one of the female tigers from that rescue.

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 teach our S.T.E.M. centered curriculum in K-12 classrooms throughout Northwest Arkansas, and perform surveys to test how much students retain about the importance of apex predators and preserving ecosystems is to our own future on this planet. We also host field trips, adult workshops and conduct onsite educational tours, again conducting surveys through mail and the email addresses we collect to show that over 95% of people educated by our team will no longer visit or support organizations and facilities that exploit wildlife for profit.

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

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • 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?

    Due to feedback from our past interns, we have revised our Alumni Association, including the opportunity for them to become involved in our advocacy campaign and inclusion in virtual meetings where they can share new experiences and knowledge to further the welfare of big cats and other captive wildlife. Due to the enthusiastic feedback we have received from k-12 students and teachers and cessation of in person classes during the pandemic we began to conduct virtual classes and tours, now available in 102 countries. We have educated over 260,000 adults and children since the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020.

  • 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?

    We have learned to listen more closely to how people wish to be communicated with. Many of our elderly supporters prefer that we check in on them by phone occasionally. Younger supporters prefer electronic communication over mailed paperwork and are very conscious of sustainability so we now offer our quarterly newsletter electronically, as well as our thank you letters.

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, 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 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 engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

TURPENTINE CREEK FOUNDATION 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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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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TURPENTINE CREEK FOUNDATION INC

Board of directors
as of 09/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mrs. Tanya Smith

Turpentine Creek Foundation, Inc.

Term: 2019 -

Randy Risor

Virginia Rankin

Tanya Smith

Amanda Rials

Heather Klatt

Tracy Garry

J.R. Shaw

James Jackson

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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • 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? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/22/2022

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

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/21/2022

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.
  • 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.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • 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 measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.