@Michelson Found Animals Foundation
With over a decade of groundbreaking work creating solutions for companion animals and their owners, Aimee Gilbreath is a global leader and authority on pets at the intersection of policy, innovation, and research.
Rediscovering her lifelong passion for animals, Gilbreath left her consulting career to help launch Michelson Found Animals where she delivered $15 million in research funding, founded a prize and grants program and developed proprietary pet technologies that boast millions of customers.
In her time at MFA, she has created over 30 strategic partnerships and launched the first-of-its-kind Leap Venture Studio in conjunction with Mars Petcare.
Today, Gilbreath is a leader in the national policy discussion around pets in society and is spearheading research on the vital impacts pets have on human health and social issues.
Aimee is also the Impact Officer at the local Young Presidents' Organization Chapter of Santa Monica Bay.
MICHELSON FOUND ANIMALS
Saving Pets. Enriching Lives.
At Michelson Found Animals, we love pets ... but we recognize they aren't the best arbiters for their own cause. Don’t worry. We are, and we’re here to help.
Pets give us endless love, compassion, and cuddles. They make homes happier, people healthier, and bring communities closer together. Our end of the bargain is to provide them with food, shelter, protection, and endless tummy rubs.
MFA is animal welfare non-profit that believes people and pets are better together. We operate a range of social enterprises, impact investments, strategic partnerships and thought leadership initiatives that share a common goal: to champion pets at every point they intersect with our society.
AIMEE IN CHAT WITH MINIANCA
On February 25th, Annabelle met Aimee and her rescue Ricky at the Michelson Foundation HQ in Culver City, CA.
THE PATH THAT LED AIMEE TO THE MICHELSON FOUND ANIMALS FOUNDATION.
MiNiAnCa: "Thank you so much, Aimee, for sitting with us today and sharing about what it means to be the Executive Director of the Michelson Found Animals Foundation. Can you share your journey that led you to where you are at today?"
Aimee: "I have always been into pets and animals. I was the little kid who wanted to bring everything home and when I was growing up, we had dogs and cats and rabbits and snakes and we had horses in the backyard. When I was turning 13, what I wanted for my birthday was a goat. Maybe other girls that age wished for music or makeup but I wanted a goat and I got one.
I love animals and I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. I wanted to be a large animal veterinarian but I realize how much physical labor that was and how this was going to be challenging for me. So I went to college to get a degree in biology and thought that pets were going to end up being a hobby and not a career.
After college, I was working at the Boston Consulting Group and volunteering on weekends for animal rescue groups. And so it happened that I saw the executive search listing for this job with Dr. Michelson, searching for somebody who was passionate about animals but who also had a business background to run the foundation like a business.
I hurried to update my resume and submitted it, interviewed for the job and that was 12 years ago, in March and it has been an adventure ever since.
I have loved it. It has been an opportunity to build programs that fulfill our mission which is saving pets and enriching lives. And really importantly to us, when we say “enriching lives”, we mean the lives of people and the pets. It's really important for that human-animal bond to work and to benefit both parties.
When I joined in 2008, the foundation already existed - Dr. Michelson was literally running it from his kitchen table - so I was the first employee, the founding executive director so he had launched a couple of things and had a very good sense of what areas he was interested in. And then I've had the honor of implementing his vision and growing it."
FOUND ANIMALS IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF PETS AND HUMANS ALIKE.
MiNiAnCa: "Aimee, please share with us how Found Animals is making a difference in pets and owners lives."
Aimee: "The Michelson Foundation is making a difference in so many beautiful ways:
Back when we started we characterized it all around animals and train shelters and not making it out alive. Because 12 years ago that was a much bigger issue than it is today. So we built our programs around two important goals which is to reduce shelter intake and to increase live release. So that includes spay/neuter programs and owner support programs which are microchip programs as well as adoption and foster programs. And of course, our Adopt & Shop to get more animals out alive.
Today, we do still have programs around reducing shelter intake and increasing live release, but us and everyone else in the movement has been incredibly successful over the last decade so there are far fewer animals coming into shelters and nationally 80+ percent of the animals coming into shelters leave alive so we’ve done a really good job here!
In addition to our cat focus programs, which is where we need the most hands-on help from volunteers and fosters since kitty season is upon us!, we are now turning our attention to what I will call more quality-of-life and human-animal bond initiative
We're starting launch programs such as our pets and housing initiative because we know that rental housing can be tough when you have a pet. We did a big survey last year and discovered that a large percentage of renters have had to move because of their pet - either because they felt unwelcome or because they were going to get evicted. And sometimes when people have to move, they cannot find a new place that also allows pets.
So our latest initiative is designed around the goal to make housing more pet-friendly. This is not only to benefit the renter/pet owner but also to someone who owns and operates rental housing - this is actually in their financial best interest! Sadly, some owner-operators do not realize that or they have fears that are more myth-based so we're trying to work with the big housing agencies to solve that."
THE FUTURE OF MICHELSON FOUND ANIMALS AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR WORLD.
MiNiAnCa: "If the sky is the limit, what is your vision for the change and impact the foundation will be creating in the future?"
Aimee: "We're now turning our focus to more human-animal bond and quality of life as a shelter issue gets resolved. Our vision is that every human has the opportunity to experience the joy of pets. We see that happening in a lot of settings in the home, and of course in the workplace and then even if you're in a situation where you don't own a pet yourself.
We'd like to see dog reading programs in schools everywhere because they make a difference. And have dog training programs in prisons everywhere because they make a difference. So we want to have all humans experience the joy of pets and of course, that means we want all pets to be in a safe and happy home!"
We asked Aimee for some words of wisdom to share with the MiNiAnCa community:
"Lead with Love."
MiNiAnCa X Found Animals
You're a rock star! Here is how you can support:
become a foster
become a volunteer
make an adoption
make a donation or a purchase at Adopt & Shop
spread the love (and word)
Get in touch with Aimee and her team by reaching out directly!
As a Thank You for your support, Aimee and the Michelson Found Animals are extending a variety of special offers to the MiNiAnCa community!
For more information, view the links and pages below and reference "MiNiAnCa" in all contact forms / communication.
EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR MINIANCA
10% OFF RETAIL PURCHASE!
Shop for your fur baby while supporting other pets.
100% of Adopt & Shop proceeds go directly back into the foundation!
YES! You scored a 10% off your next pet supply shopping spree with this sweet coupon!
ADOPT & SHOP EVENTS
Adopt & Shop is offering a variety of events for animal lovers to come together to exchange and do good for their furry loved ones.
For an overview of meaningful and hands-on Adopt & Shop events, click the button below.