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Board Members

Janelle Dixon, Chair, Animal Humane Society

Lisa LaFontaine, Vice Chair, Washington Humane Society

Anne Reed, Secretary, Wisconsin Humane Society

Jodi Lytle Buckman, Treasurer, ASPCA

Sharon Harmon, Past Chair, Oregon Humane Society

Madeline Bernstein, SPCA-Los Angeles

Sharon Harvey, Cleveland Animal Protective League

Mary Jarvis, Washington Animal Rescue League

Betsy McFarland, Humane Society of the United States

Shelly Moore, Humane Society of Charlotte

Gary Tiscornia, SPCA for Monterey County

Dr. Gary Weitzman, San Diego Humane Society & SPCA

Leslie Yoder, CO Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies


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Frequently Asked Questions

What was the National Federation of Humane Societies (NFHS) chartered to do?

The National Federation of Humane Societies (NFHS) was created to promote animal welfare ideas and policies to the general public; to encourage best practices and policies within our industry; to advance legislation; and to prompt corporations to adopt policies that reflect humane sensibilities. NFHS is a national federation, led by its members, to represent the collective interests of humane organizations across the country and provides a vechicle for collective action.

Is NFHS affiliated with any other national group?

The founders of NFHS were people from local and national humane organizations with a vision for a powerful industry federation to represent the broader interests of the humane movement. The Initial Board Members of NFHS were Victoria Wellens, President, Nicholas Gilman, Secretary, Dori Villalon, Treasurer and Wayne Pacelle.NFHS is not an affiliate of nor related in any way to any other organization, national or otherwise.The Federation is a sponsor of the Alliance for Contraceptives in Cats and Dogs and a member of the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families as a means of expanding the Federation’s impact on key issues relating to reducing pet over-population.

How is the NFHS governed?

The NFHS is governed, according to its by-laws, by a board of 15 individuals. Board members are representatives of member organizations. The first full Board of Directors was elected by the membership at the organization's first annual meeting, in March 2007.

What types of activities does NFHS engage in?

The Board, through direction from membership, will determine the actions and priorities of NFHS.Representing the animal welfare and control community, it has develop an agenda appropriate to the needs of member organizations related to public and corporate policies and industry best practices. Since NFHS values the efforts of other national organizations in the humane movement.It strives to avoid duplication of services, such as training, certification, group buying and professional development.The National Federation Board adopted a strategic plan in April of 2008 which focuses on issues of specific interest of our members, companion animals and the broader industry.

What types of organizations can become members of NFHS?

Any bona fide, incorporated 501(c)(3) non-profit animal welfare organization (but not its divisions, controlled affiliates, or subsidiaries) OR any animal control agency that is part of a municipal government is eligible to become a member.


How do organizations become members?

Organizations interested in membership must complete a membership application, provide the required documentation, and submit the annual membership fee.An application can be downloaded here.

If you have additional questions, please contact Steve Putnam, 703-242-3675 or sputnam@humanefederation.org

What are the benefits of membership in the Federation?

  • Be part of a true federation, run for and by its members. Every member has a voice and a vote.
  • Enhanced ability to drive local, state, and national public policy initiatives.
  • Stronger relationships and increased influence with the corporate community, including coalitions with other trade associations.
  • Greater communication throughout the industry among state, regional, and national member organizations.
  • Improved operational effectiveness through the sharing of best practices.
  • Opportunity for leadership in national organization.
  • Access to assistance in implementing new programs to increase efficiency and end pet overpopulation.

Here's what our members have to say:

Being in the Federation allows my small organization to be part of a bigger movement, to see what is happening on the national level and to stay active in the movement.

Coalition building and communications between peer agencies. Direct communications with others is a faster way to improve our own operations.

Membership in the Federation affords a certain credibility and identity for local organizations and provides a national voice on shelter issues for our small agency.

The Federation can have an impact on local issues and be the national voice of the sheltering community. Animal Welfare has a hard time translating our passions into messages the public understands. The Federation can be our national voice for the animal care and control community.

"The 2020 Vision is what prompted me to join.""This is everyone's goal, but I share the Federation's belief that we will have to work together to solve pet overpopulation."

It has introduced me to new people I would never have met otherwise and provides interaction with people around the country and promotes sharing thoughts and concerns.

For me, the real value is influence through collective action. We can truly move the needle on significant issues for animals by working together and speaking from a unified platform.

I really believe in the mission and the power of speaking with one voice for the sheltering community. The real benefit for us is being a part of change on a national level. Working on positive change nationally benefits us locally.

The diversity of members we already have is amazing and we've just begun. We have large organizations and small rescue groups, limited admission shelters and large animal control operations. This diversity and ability to speak from your own perspective has tremendous potential for coalition building in our industry.

It helps us bring new thinking and ideas into our community.

Collaboration within the field. The industry is rife with politics and the Federation offers a spirit of collaboration and working together to achieve gains for companion animals that we think is much needed.

The networking and camaraderie that comes from working on committees and the board with my peers. We can always learn new ideas and benefit from a new perspective.

Most definitely our greatest benefit is a unified voice representing the sheltering and animal control community. Focusing advocacy on issues directly related to companion animals and our industry directly benefits us all.

What are the responsibilities of membership?

Each member must appoint an organizational representative who will actively participate in meetings and on committees of NFHS on behalf of the member agency.The designated representative must be a senior level administrator engaged in the day-to-day operation of the organization.

Participation by members in any specific program, service, initiative, campaign, or action of NFHS will be on a strictly voluntary basis. Individual member organizations will be allowed to support only those actions that, in their sole discretion, best reflect on or benefit their organization.

Each member of NFHS will be granted rights to utilize the name and marks of NFHS while they remain a member in good standing, and will be expected to publicly promote their affiliation with NFHS.

NFHS will hold an annual meeting, as required by its by-laws, at which members will elect Board members and conduct other business as needed.Members are encouraged to attend and participate in all Federation meetings.

What is the membership fee structure?

Annual membership fees are based on your agencies Total Operations Budget (government agency) or your Total Expenses (non-profits) from the organization's most recent 990.This is line 17 for 2007 and line 18 for 2008.There isa minimum annual fee of $100.For organizations willing to make a three year commitment the annual fee is discounted by twenty percent (20%) and remains fixed for each of the three years. 

 Your Organization's

Total Operations Budget


Total Expenses (990 Line 17)

Annual Fee or Fee Calculation  

 Total Expenses less than $ 200,000


One Year Commitment

1/2 of one percent (0.0005)

times Total Expenses

Three Year Commitment

4/10 of one percent (0.0004)

times Total Expenses

Total Expenses greater than $50 MM


State or Regional  Federations


  • Membership fees are assessed on a rolling 12-month basis from the date of acceptance.  
  • Membership fees may be paid on an annual, bi-annual, or quarterly basis at the discretion of the member organization.  
  • The Federation will, on request, invoice for annual membership fees.
  • Fees for multi-year commitments will be due annually at each anniversary date.

Membership fees cover all costs of operation. The Federation does not solicit public contributions nor corporate sponsorships. The costs of operation include staffing, administration, advocacy, meetings and marketing. The Board is responsible for approving the organization's annual budget which will be directly reflective of the goals and objectives established for the year and the number of members participating in the Federation.

What is the difference between NFHS and other national humane organizations?

NFHS' structure (a federation operating independently with organizations as its members and governed by leaders of those organizations) is unique for organizations that have a similar mission (e.g., HSUS, AHA, and ASPCA).

NFHS' mission (advocacy of welfare issues through the unified voice of humane organizations to the general public, public policy bodies and corporate entities) is unique for organizations that have a similar structure (e.g., SAWA and PSAA).

The Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) is a community of professionals committed to excellence in the management and operation of local animal welfare and control organizations.Through the active involvement and contributions of our members, SAWA provides the practical knowledge, resources and solutions members need to grow as professionals, achieve the goals of their organizations, and, collectively, advance the animal welfare profession.For more information about SAWA, contact the SAWA Executive Director, Maurine Dyer Stevens, (623) 810-4268 or visit www.sawanetwork.org.

Pets Shelters Across America (PSAA) was created to raise funds for large, local humane organizations from non-traditional national sponsors through cause-related marketing. The group's purpose is to organize local humane societies from major metropolitan markets and foster corporate relationships to drive product sales for these companies. The funds will be used by the local organization members for adoptions, spay/neuter, education, behavior work, and the like. PAA does not have a focus on public policy or corporate advocacy. (For more information about Pets Shelters Across America, contact Jay Moore at (314)951-1535 or visit www.petsheltersacrossamerica.org.


"There is a strong voice for animals when we all speak as one"(c)

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