Lives Made Happy

Novato, CA   |


More than an animal shelter, Marin Humane’s mission includes advocacy, education, and support and our values promote compassion, care, and respect for animals and people. Since our very beginning in 1907, we’ve fought for the protection of Marin County’s animal population. At that time, our founder Ethel Tompkins blocked drivers trucking livestock through Marin and forced them to provide water and rest for the animals in their care. We have followed in her footsteps by continually expanding our efforts to help animals. We offer shelter and rehabilitation, behavior and training, disaster response, pursuit of legislation to protect animals, extensive awareness and education programs, and veterinary care and pet food to the neediest of pets in our county.

Ruling year info


Chief Executive Officer

Nancy B. McKenney

Main address

171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd

Novato, CA 94949 USA

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NTEE code info

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

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Veterinary Services (D40)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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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?

Pet Care Assistance and Pet Safety Net

For more than three decades Marin Humane has been committed to supporting low-income senior pet guardians in Marin. We know that vulnerable seniors are well-served by the sustained comfort of animal companionship. Pet Care Assistance, an expression of compassion in our community, averts a triple tragedy: a pet need not lose its home or be euthanized prematurely because care is unaffordable, a pet owner isn't forced into surrendering a loved family member and our shelter isn't required to expend limited resources to rehome a pet who already has a home.

A similar program, Pet Safety Net, was established in 2018 and provides support to animal guardians of any age. Participants may be unemployed, experiencing illness, or are facing other difficulties in meeting the needs of their beloved pet. Help with the cost of veterinary care – often for single-incident urgent care – continues to be the most frequent request.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

When shelter space is available, staff and volunteers rescue and transport animals from under-resourced partnering shelters where they face euthanasia due to lack of space or funding. Animals are transported to our Novato open admissions shelter where they are housed and cared for in preparation for adoption into new forever homes. More than 950 animals were transferred in 2021.

Population(s) Served

Established in 2005, Pen Pals of San Quentin has served 345 dogs and 66 inmates. Pen Pals offers conscientious minimum security inmates an opportunity to demonstrate responsibility and be influenced by the unconditional love of dogs, and gives special needs shelter dogs a chance to heal from the devoted attention of trained, around-the-clock caregivers.

Some dogs require attention as they recover from illness or surgery, some have counter-productive habits that need modification, and others need to learn new behaviors to overcome fear or unruliness. All receive support, encouragement, and affection from inmates to which they respond with predictable canine enthusiasm.

Population(s) Served

The purpose of Marin Humane’s Humane Education Program is to provide children in our community with a variety of programs designed to guide them to become compassionate adults. We seek to instill the values of compassion, responsibility, respect for all living things and the value of the human-animal bond. We believe humane education is critical for establishing greater respect for both people and animals in our community and in the world.

Similarly, our Behavior and Training Department strives to promote the human-animal bond by creating the best possible relationships between animals and humans, delivering nearly 2,500 dog and cat consultations and private training sessions in FY 21-22.

Population(s) Served

Marin Humane is proud to be a Marin County leader and essential responder in disaster preparedness and response. Our constituents include pet guardians needing disaster-related pet food and veterinary care, guardians seeking lost pet recovery services, and pets in need of evacuation or pet emergency boarding. We also rescue, and in some cases house, injured domestic animals and engage in wildlife rescue or transport to rehab during and after a disaster. Additionally, we provide technical large animal rescue for trapped horses and livestock in partnership with other response agencies.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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 animal adoptions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Average number of days of shelter stay for animals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success


Context Notes

2021 was during the COVID pandemic - adoptions were high at the beginning and then animal availability was low which led to shorter lengths of stay in the shelter.

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.

A broad-based strategic planning initiative gives the organization five primary goal areas. We will be working on these goals through 2016.

1. Lead the way in animal welfare and advocacy.
2. Play a vital role in our community.
3.Embrace our collaborative culture.
4. Expand our financial resources.
5. Create our campuses of the future

For each of these broad goals, more specific, measurable milestones have been identified.

In order to enlist the entire organization in pursuit of our strategic goals, each department and program area is involved in implementation strategies and action plans that show measurable progress toward each goal.
Each goal also has a senior staff-level steward responsible for advancement toward the goals.
A quarterly progress report is made to all staff members and volunteers, and monthly progress is reviewed by the Board of Directors. The strategic plan is also used as the context for our twice-a-year all-hands meetings.
Everyone is working toward weaving the strategic goals into our every-day responsibilities so commitment to them is well integrated into our ongoing efforts.
We know that strategic goals must be seen as germane to our mission. We must be able to grow and develop in ways that are aligned with the community commitments we pursue on a long-term basis.

Our organizational capabilities are strong.
We are guided by experienced, respected, nationally-recognized senior leaders.
Our small staff is composed of some of the most talented and committed people in the animal welfare field.
We are enabled by an amazing corps of nearly 700 volunteers whose dedicated help makes our work possible.
And we are proud to carry on a legacy of community involvement that is more than 100 years old.
We believe we can accomplish almost anything. Our challenge is to find the necessary resources to propel the organization forward without missing a beat in the demanding, lifesaving work we undertake each day.

For Guide Star's purposes, we are answering this question in terms of the areas of growth and development in the organization's strategic plan. Our ongoing accomplishments include responding to every animal in need, 24 hours a day, every day; increasing adoption rates year-over-year; supporting our low-income neighbors to care for the animals in their lives; creating a community of compassion and respect through humane education; reaching out to special-needs populations including those in hospitals and care facilities, struggling young readers, troubled teens, and bereaved children; and recruiting and retaining the most talented, enthusiastic corps of volunteers ever assembled.

There are dozens of goals included in our 3-5-year strategic plan; too many to list here. Following are some of the things accomplished in year one, followed by a list of goals we intend to pursue more vigorously.

Accomplishments in Year One
- Added a new Advocacy Action Center to the MHS website
- Hosted and coordinated the Advanced Animal Law Enforcement training academy
- Increased the hours of the Humane Eduction Coordinator to full-time
- Convened a committee with veterinarians and the Marin Count Veterinary Medicine Association to increase the disaster preparedness of all veterinary offices and hospitals in the county
- Scheduled a tri-county meeting among the animal services and humane society directors in Sonoma, Napa and Marin

Priority areas in Year Two
- translating more public outreach materials from English to Spanish
- strengthening ties with agencies that support under-served people
- garner increased grant-maker support
- create stronger partnerships with other local animal welfare and wildlife groups

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 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

  • 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 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, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection



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


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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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Board of directors
as of 03/01/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sandra Monticelli

Marin Humane

Term: 2023 - 2024

Nancy M McKenney

Marin Humane Society

Lisa Doran

CPA and Principle of Doran& Associates, a local audit practice specializing in nonprofits

Bruce A Wagman

Animal Law Attorney, Riley Safer Holmes and Cancila. Animal Law Professor at Berkeley Law/Boalt Hall, UC Hastings and Stanford Law.

Blake Davis

Retired Vice President, Williams-Sonoma

Nancy Baird

Owner, Creature Comforts

Jackie Broad

Community Volunteer

Maribeth Doran

Integrated Media Specialist, iHeart Radio

Shonalie Guinney

Controller/CFO, 3rd Stone Design, Inc.

Michael Levine

CEO/Founder Tastes on the Fly, Inc.

Sandy Monticelli

CPA & Financial Consultant

Popp Cheryl

Bookstore Owner and Marketing and Communications Consultant

Robin Rodi

DVM, former Hospital Director and Corporate Vice President

Kimberley Schafer

Corporate Attorney, Vice President and Corporate Secretary, MUFG Union Bank

Roxanne Sheridan Purcell

Director of Medical Lien Resolution and Mangement, Brayton Purcell, LLP

Amy Farrow

Chief Information Officer, Infoblox

Marcella Harb-Hauser

DVM, Pet Emergency & Specialty Center of Marin

Deborah Holley

Land Use & Environmental Planner

Tom Ladt


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 ? 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 3/1/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data