Public, Society Benefit

Phoenix Zones Initiative

Advancing Rights, Health & Wellbeing

Albuquerque, NM


Phoenix Zones Initiative powers a movement to advance the intricately connected rights, health, and wellbeing of people, animals, and our life-sustaining planet.

Ruling Year



Dr. Hope Ferdowsian

Main Address

13170-B Central Ave SE PMB 385

Albuquerque, NM 87123 USA


human rights, animal rights, health, wellbeing, advocacy, policy, social justice, environmental justice, vulnerable populations, community, grassroots, structural change, food ethics, research ethics, ethical clothing, plant-based, sustainability



Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (D01)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

As disease patterns, the climate crisis, and countless patterns of exploitation have shown, the rights, health, and wellbeing of people and animals are intimately connected. Emerging pandemics and social and environmental injustices illustrate these interconnections in real time. The novel coronavirus pandemic has shed a light on these connections, and it has also created opportunities to re-envision our relationships with each other, other beings, and our life-sustaining planet. In order to catalyze solutions to some of the most difficult problems afflicting society, Phoenix Zones Initiative helps expand the common ground of movements serving people, animals, and the environment by working with partners to scale, enhance, and accelerate ideas and solutions that advance ethics, empathy, and meaningful and lasting impact.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 16

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Phoenix Zones Initiative Programs

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Phoenix Zones Initiative has two main aims: to foster grassroots Phoenix Zone projects that empower the most vulnerable communities, and to fuel systemic changes that advance rights, health, and wellbeing, in order to make it easier for those working locally to build stronger, more resilient communities. Our programs focus on five areas: food, fiber, community, knowledge, and service, in which the lives of people and animals acutely intersect. We prioritize efforts that expand the common ground of movements working on behalf of people and animals, and we work to scale, enhance, and accelerate solutions that advance the intricately connected welfare of people, animals, and the planet. In an increasingly interconnected world, our efforts prioritize building bridges between organizations and movements that have traditionally worked in silos.

We focus on public education and outreach, policy research and analysis, the creation of diverse coalitions, advocacy for grassroots and systems-level action, and sustainable, evidence-based models of social change. In order to advance meaningful impact, we also advocate for high-yield reforms within governmental, nongovernmental, and corporate entities, while curating and disseminating best practices that advance the rights, health, and wellbeing of people and animals.

Phoenix Zones Initiative is led by physicians and a diverse cross-sectoral team. Within its first year of operation, the organization assembled a team of dozens of individuals with critical expertise. The organization’s co-founder, president, and volunteer CEO, Dr. Hope Ferdowsian, is a double-board certified internal medicine and preventive medicine physician with expertise in ethics and public health. Over the past two decades, Hope has worked across six continents to advance human and animal wellbeing, health, and rights. In the US, she has provided healthcare and advocacy for homeless, veteran, immigrant, and other vulnerable populations, while also working to end the exploitation of animals in laboratories and food production. She has led key educational, research, and policy initiatives, collaborated with the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States on global public health issues, and developed resources for nongovernmental organizations, national governments, and the World Health Organization. She has authored highly cited publications and spoken at academic institutions and through media outlets across the globe about connections between human, animal, and planetary wellbeing. Additionally, Phoenix Zones Initiative’s senior leadership team consists of professionals with degrees in domestic and international law, cultural anthropology, sociology, and women’s studies, as well as concrete experience in nonprofit management, community relations, research, education, and advocacy. Together, members of the senior leadership team have a depth and breadth of expertise caring and advocating for children and adults with atypical psychiatric and cognitive abilities, Indigenous persons, sexual violence survivors, vulnerable animals, and many other marginalized individuals and communities. The team's expertise includes decades of programmatic and executive leadership experience, monitoring and evaluation for the United Nations and US State Department, and strategic winning international campaigns to advance social and environmental policy. Members of the team have ties to the US Fulbright Scholars Program, the European Environmental Bureau, the Animal Law and Policy Program at Harvard University, and other influential governmental, academic, and nonprofit organizations. They have written critically acclaimed books and manuscripts on the impact of US migration policy, the US torture doctrine, and anti-civil rights policies, as well as the adverse treatment of animals in various sectors of society. Phoenix Zones Initiative's strategic plan includes multi-year financial projections, and we have received major financial commitments to: 1) Research and analyze complex, interconnected problems. 2) Identify and evaluate holistic solutions. 3) Advocate for grassroots and systems-level reform and scalable, sustainable, evidence-based models of change.

Phoenix Zones Initiative is committed to transparent monitoring and evaluation. All initiatives are subject to rigorous social impact measurement, using qualitative and quantitative social impact metrics that draw upon a Theory of Change, a logical framework, key performance indicators, and data collection and analysis. We track indicators that measure public education and outreach, stakeholder participation, and information sharing through online hubs, publications, presentations, and media outreach. We also track indicators directly related to shifts in norms, legal and economic frameworks, and policy and funding priorities. Our strategic plan includes regular re-evaluation of our initiatives, and external and internal analyses of factors that may influence our ability to accomplish our mission.

Phoenix Zones Initiative has already built a growing team, key alliances, and an expanding network. We are proud to be a member of the Harvard FXB Health and Human Rights Consortium, and to have formed partnerships and alliances with numerous organizations that advance human rights, animal protection, and environmental protection. Phoenix Zones Initiative's interdisciplinary team and network consists of professionals and advocates from fields including medicine, public health, law, the sciences, economics, journalism, arts and media, government affairs, finance, education, ethics, and international development. At our inaugural summit, we invited diverse leaders and stakeholders to identify how we can better work together to advance the rights, health, and wellbeing of people and animals with the urgency and sustainability required. Discourse among experts in medicine, public health, media, finance, and law led to a deeper understanding and analysis of problems in need of legal, political, and societal restructuring. As a result, we have identified a number of pathways to forward holistic solutions through education, advocacy, and structural change. Our efforts focus on influencing multiple levels of power, from grassroots action to systemic change, toward lasting and meaningful impact for vulnerable people and animals. Learn more about our programs and progress at

External Reviews


Phoenix Zones Initiative

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable

Organizational Demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/14/2020


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
Gender Identity
Female, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual Orientation
Decline to state
Disability Status
Decline to state

Race & Ethnicity

Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation


Equity Strategies

Last updated: 05/14/2020

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


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 employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
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 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.