Episode 31 – Jeanine Foucher, Pet Net Washington

31 Jeanine Foucher_FB

31 Jeanine Foucher_FB

Jeanine Foucher is the Executive Director of Pet Net Washington, a family foundation in Seattle. In her role as ED, she provides leadership, vision, and strategic direction to fulfill the foundation’s mission of ending the euthanasia of adoptable animals and reducing animal overpopulation in Washington State. For the past twenty years, Jeanine has been involved in philanthropy as a fundraiser, project manager, event producer, and most recently, a grantmaker, she is committed to achieving philanthropic and programmatic goals. Jeanine has been committed to seeing all animals treated with compassion and promoting pet adoption as a wonderful way to add to your family. Recently, Jeanine undertook a statewide data collection project to help inform and prioritize the foundation’s funding priorities. Utilizing data to drive funding and programs is of critical importance in animal welfare and she hopes all shelters and rescues embrace this strategy. Jeanine tells us how she got started in animal rescue, data collection efforts and what she has found, programs Pet Net has put in place and so much more! To learn more you can find Pet Net Washington here, https://www.facebook.com/petnetwa/

Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where goal is to introduce you to amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This’ll Podcast is proudly sponsored by Joubert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relate Transport. Now on with our show today, we’re speaking with Janine Foucher. Janine is the executive director of Pet Net Washington, a family foundation in Seattle. In her role is executive director. She provides leadership, vision and strategic direction to fulfill the foundation’s mission of ending the euthanasia of adaptable animals and reducing animal overpopulation in Washington state. For the past 20 years, Janine has been involved in philanthropy. Whether it’s a fundraiser, project manager, event producer and, most recently, a grant maker, she is committed to achieving philanthropic and programmatic goals. Never assessment war to her than while working an animal welfare were achieving Programmatic goals means saving Lives. Jr has been committed to seeing all animals treated with compassion, and promoting pet adoption is a wonderful way to add to your family. Recently, Janine undertook a statewide data collection project to help inform and prioritize the foundations. Funding priorities, utilising data to dry funding and programs is of critical importance in animal welfare. And she hopes all shelters and rescues embraced this strategy. Hey, Janine, welcome to the program. Hi, Chris. Thank you so much for having me. So why don’t you start out by telling us a little bit about you and pet Net Washington? Okay, so I’m currently the executive director of a family foundation in Seattle called Pet Net Washington. We were created to help deal with the animal overpopulation in Washington state and also to ensure that all healthy and treatable animals were, in fact, adopted. So we’ve been operating as a grant making organization for about the last four years. And I think the thing that’s made us very different than a lot of other founding chins is that the trustees of this foundation, Cindy and Hans Kash have really invested in research. So not only are they making grants to organizations, but they wanted to understand what was happening in the state so that they could best, you know, utilize their funds to make a difference. And so one of the most interesting things we did was in 2014 and 15. We traveled toe over 50 different shelters in Washington, which really no one had done before shelters and rescues so that we could understand. Okay, what’s happening in your community? And what are the animal populations most at risk firmly and where to find? Well, we found that in the Puget Sound area, you know, we’re very fortunate. We had a very high life release rate, tremendous amount of collaboration among shelters and rescues. But when we got out to the eastern part of the state, if you’re unfamiliar with Washington, we have a range of mountains called the Cascades that sort of divide the state in half. And so when you got to the eastern side, there was much less. Resource is a lot more geographic isolation and a lot more poverty. And so, therefore, on animals really were receiving kind of the same level of service, even though people were very well intentioned and the same was true for the cold still part of Washington. And I should also add that we have several Native American reservations in the state and in those communities as well, they’re kind of like veterinary deserts and terms of low cost services. So we were seeing much different things than we were in, say, Seattle and Tacoma. Wow. Yeah. I mean, it’s such disparity. And one stated, What do you think causes all that? Um, well, again, I mean, Seattle and Tacoma are much more their metropolitan areas. You know, often when you’re in rural settings, you may not have access to low cost veterinary services, specifically spay neuter services. And again, in our northeast part of the state, it really is sort of the landscape. You’ve got these tremendous land areas with a lot, not too much in terms of population, mountain ranges, mountain passes. So if it just makes moving around and access to things more challenging And then, of course, that impacts people in pets. Yeah, absolutely some curious. How did you get involved with petting it? And then, you know, So why you did you have a background and an animal welfare and data analytics. What kind of drew your path towards them? Okay, so my career had pretty much been in fundraising, primarily in arts and culture, and I was working at a museum and my boss had asked me. She’s like, you know, we’d really like you to stay. And I was very, very committed to finding a job in animal welfare. And she happened to know Ah, Cindy and Hans cost. You were the trustees of Pet Net and she introduced me to them. And so at that point, and that was about four years ago, they were thinking that maybe they wanted to start their own shelter. And through our conversation, it became very clear very quickly. No, you don’t need to start your shelter. But why not support organizations that are already doing the work? And so initially they brought me on is their philanthropic advisor so I could help them evaluate grant applications, evaluate organizations, figure out, you know, work perspective programs, actually meeting their philanthropic needs. And then from there, we decided to formalize it, and then weak pet net Washington was created. And then I moved from kind of a philanthropic advisor roll into an executive director role. Wow, It sounds like quite a transformation from the time that you started talking with them. I mean, going from having their own animal shelter and and certainly I agree with the idea of working with what’s there and collaborating and helping. So how did you then define the plan? Right, So the mission is pretty simple least sounding, right? But how did you define the plan as to what you guys were gonna tackle so that, you know, again, that’s where the visiting of the shelters in 2014 kind of laid back ground work. Okay, we understood conceptually and by, you know, by word of mouth. Okay, what’s happening in each communities. But we really wanted to take it to the next level. So then in the spring and summer of 2016 I said, Okay, let’s start collecting data on this will help us identify and prioritize our funding strategies based on fax. And then we could cross reference it with our research trips to kind of flesh out the picture in a community. And that has been, and I encourage anyone who is thinking about really starting to collect under looked at data. It’s been an invaluable tool. Tow us. And it’s also been an invaluable tool to the shelters that we’re working with to help them understand. Are there programs actually addressing the animals most at risk in their shelters or rescues. Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting point, because data analytics is not something that you see a lot of an animal for, is it? You know, it wasn’t, um it hasn’t been, but I do think that people are really starting to understand the importance and the magnitude of what you can learn from collecting data and especially with, um, the use of shelter animals count, which it is a basic data collection tool. And so, for some shelters, let’s say, really big shelters That might be, in some ways too simplistic, but for smaller shelters or rescues that haven’t even started collecting data, it’s the perfect entry point. And it really can give you a baseline of Okay, so I’ll give you an example. So in Washington, um, through my data collection efforts, we’ve found out that really the most at risk population or community cats. You know, when when the cautious started this venture, they really came to rescue through dogs. And so we thought, OK, a lot of our efforts would be focused around, you know, funding programs related to dogs, but then by collecting the data, we said, Wow, dogs, airfare. Ing’s very well in Washington state. It’s really the cats that need the help. And so we were able to make informed and educated decisions about what we wanted. A fund. Now I know you mentioned shelters, shelter animals count, maybe for our listeners that haven’t heard of that. Can you give just a brief background of what that is? Sure. I mean, I I, um I don’t want to speak on behalf of shelter animals, count, but what I will say from my perspective, it is a tool so that you can track your intake and outcomes. So, you know, there’s a section for live and take and other intake and then a section for live outcomes and other outcomes. And so we were able to and it’s broken down by species. So, you know, dogs and cats. And it also had the category for adults. And what do you call the young ones? I guess Pediatrics, if you will s o that you could truly understand. Okay. Who is coming into my shelter? How are they coming in? Are they strays? Are they being relinquished by their owner where they transferred in from another agency, and then you can also see how they’re leaving. So, um, for example, one shelter we saw, they had a great life released rate. But we also noticed that the majority or significant over many 48% of their animals were being transferred out to other agencies. So when you think about that, that isn’t necessarily a sustainable model. Because what happens if your transfer partners go away? You know, then you’re not able to transfer those animals out. And then what does that mean for you? So being able to identify that and then start talking about maybe some other strategies that might keep their live relates where they live, released right where they want it to be. But also think about, you know, maybe not relying so much on transfer partnerships that would help them in the long run. Yes, After you collected all this data and I know you said that the cats actually ended up being the the population that needed more support. What was next? What are the programs then that you guys were putting into place? So one of the very first things we did was we funded a community cat program in Yakima County, Washington. It’s the Yakima Humane Society. So, what we saw in 2015 there were over 11,000 animals euthanized in Washington, and about almost 78% of those were cats. And of that, you know, 8500 cats. A good portion of those were community slash feral cats that were being euthanized at municipal shelters. And so we thought, OK, you know, community cat programs return to field and and also TNR, and so we were able to fund, um, Yakima Humane Society, which is a has contracts with other cities and, you know, animal control officers and and also relies on donations on to implement this community cat program. And that’s just started in June of 2000 and 17. So I haven’t actually seen the data, you know, to know. Okay, what has been the impact in terms of the shelters live release rate. But that’s just one example of the type of program that we would be funding. Teoh address that issue. Yeah, that was interesting, because I was gonna ask the question. I mean, are you able to track now the data analytics? Are you getting that started from the beginning of the program to be able to track the impact. Yes. So, you know, when we make donations re specifically state to the grantee that we will need data and reports as to how the money is being you utilized. And how is the program being implemented? I should also add that that doesn’t mean that everything has to happen perfectly. I think I said this at the beginning. I started as a fundraiser, and I know what it’s like sometimes when you know you receive a grant and the expectation is you have to provide a report. And what if things didn’t go exactly right? You live in fear of Oh, my goodness. You know, I hope this doesn’t jeopardize funding in the future, and that is not at all our perspective. Obviously, we want the grantees to realize their goals as they set forth in their grand. But we also understand that sometimes you learn as you go. So with this grant, part of the grant requirement is, that is, data would be submitted, and so will a report. But we haven’t, You know, the C June I’ll probably get something this month for the 1st 6 months, so I haven’t actually seen it yet, but it is required. And I know that you’ve also used the data that you’ve collected to make infographics and charts and really help help the data to jump out, talk a little bit about how that has been impactful to achieving your mission. Well, so one thing I want to mention and this is that the very preliminary stages. So when we collected this data, we were really able to see that Washington State is very achieving in 90% statewide. Live release rate is a very achievable goal. And so what’s happened? And this is at the preliminary stages. There is a coalition of animal sheltering agencies that have gotten together so that we could actually achieve a 90% live really straight statewide. And so I’ve been utilizing the data that I collected and then subsequently visualized to share with this coalition so that they can understand what’s happening. So that’s been super interesting because for the most part, shelters they’re usually working to fulfill their own mission, which is which is really the goal of any nonprofit right. But I think what’s happening in animal welfare is that people are starting to see the importance of collaboration. And so when I started sharing the data, you know, whether it’s heat maps or pie charts, or would it? Whatever it ISS, then all of a sudden, this collection of animal welfare agencies was able to see not only what’s happening in their own community, but in adjacent communities, regions and and statewide, and that will help. To inform has how we, as a group, kind of put together our strategies to achieve that 90% live released rate goal. Yeah, I think it’s really important that collaboration that you manage because when you start showing people that data and that their partner shelters down the street have a similar problem and a shelter across the status has the opposite problem and how they can help one another towards that common goal, I think it makes a little bit easier for people to in a work together to actually achieve that. Yeah, I agree with you and I You know what I also think that’s been really invaluable is the communication. So one of the things I started to see is that there are these kind of anecdotes about maybe a potential a certain organization or shelter that people talk about without really knowing why. So, for example, we had a shelter that was having some issues with their live release rate on, and it was really thought that it was because their veterinarian back vaccination protocol might not have been up to snuff and so that animals that were entering the shelter were getting sick and therefore were being used in ized but actually through visiting the shelter and then subsequently collecting data, we realized, No, they really are following, you know, a vaccination protocol. It’s just that the building is so old and the H vac system doesn’t work so that these animals are getting sick. And that was a real opportunity for colleagues and other shelters to say Okay, wait a minute. You know, how can we then help? Based on fact and data versus what had been, you know, at anecdotal information? Yeah, absolutely. I’m curious. The coalition that you guys have built Have you seen other states or other parts of the country trying to follow a similar model? Oh, yes. I’m Do you ever read out the front door? Gaza? Okay, so she? Yeah, she has done some really great articles, and she even included pet Net. I’m several months ago on focusing on states that are really looking. And I’m using the term no kill here as a shorthand. Okay, um, but trying to achieve no kill status. And so you have things happening in South Carolina? Certainly in Utah, I believe in Virginia. You know, now we’re going to start seeing something really kick off in Washington. And, uh, I think it’s going to be the wave of the future, as people kind of get a handle on. What are the problems in their community? Because once you really know, then you can act right? No, that’s absolutely the absolutely true. So what’s next now for you and for pet net. So right now, as I said, our coalition is just getting started. And so one of the things I’m working on right now is re looking at the data and putting together a list of communities that are in need and would be receptive to help. Because we really, really want to get started on achieving you know, our goal, um, head net is continuing toe look at programs that fulfill their mission. So for an example, we’ve really, really focused on access to low cost spay neuter services. Um, and pet Net has funded, you know, clinics, transport programs to clinics, mobile units. And, as I said earlier, you know, ah robust Community Cat program in Yakima, and then they’re also very, very focused on transport. Over the course of the last three years, Pet Net has purchased three transport vehicles for shelters or rescues in our state so that we can continue helping communities that don’t have a high population. Move those animals over here to the west side of the mountains, where there are a lot more people to adopt animals. So I think they’ll continue focusing on both of those to programmatic areas to achieve the goal of reducing animal overpopulation and also making sure that all healthy and treatable animals are adopted. Yeah, no, and I think that’s a great way to describe it. And I like yourself. I am always very careful with the terms no kill because I think it’s a misnomer and focusing on things such as live release, raid and adoption of treatable, healthy animals, or is certainly the way to go right. And, you know, there was one thing and I’m kind of skipping around here. But when we were preparing for this conversation, you know, I was thinking a lot about you know, what made me get involved, right? And so I’m going to share this because I’m hoping anybody who’s listening can learn from my mistake. And that was, you know, I had always been interested in animals, you know, ever since I was a kid wanting to help them and that kind of thing. And, um, for some reason, I pursued a career and fundraising. And then about 15 years ago, I was really thinking about going to vet school, and at that time I started volunteering at a shelter and then also working part time at a vet clinic. And what I came to realize was that the animals at the shelter were craving human contact and affection and exercise and mental stimulation. And then the animals at the Met office were afraid of me. You know, we they were they had their person. We were doing scary things. And what I realize now that I didn’t then is that shelter medicine wasn’t so much part of the mainstream, and it really, really is now. And so I just think there’s such tremendous opportunity for people who are interested in in that field of work to also be able to be exposed to what’s happening in the shelter, the shelter setting, in the shelter system on def. I had to do it all over again. You know, that’s something I probably would pursue because now it is Shelter. Medicine is mainstream. Yeah, it’s really amazing to look at how things have evolved and changed even in the last five years, let alone the last 10 or 20 years. I mean, the things that were not coming placed are now commonplace and more mainstream. As you said, I agree with you, and I think that also just goes back to the data collection and the collaboration and the transparency. I mean, I think people in officials and, you know, leadership teams of organizations really are starting to see on the more we work together, the more animals we can save. And so I think it’s a matter of empowering organizations to get their footing to feel like they’re achieving their mission so that they can. You know kind of lift up their head and say, OK, who else can we connect with so we can make a greater impact? Yeah, absolutely agree. So, Jeannine, we’ve covered a lot of stuff today. Is there anything else you wanted to bring up before we close things out? No, I just want to say thank you so very much for the opportunity. And I so appreciate the work that you are doing. And I’m glad I got to talk to you today. Well, thank you, Janine. We appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on the program. Thank you. That’s it For another edition of the Animal Rescue Professionals Podcast. If you’re not already a member to join us today and you’ll get instant access to a wealth of downloadable articles, templates and even more interviews all specific to the animal rescue, professional trader dedication, animal rescue and join us today


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