Best Friends Animal Society
December 2, 2010
As both a volunteer and a donor I have worked in the field for rescue operations as well as visitng/interviewing at the Kabab site. Best Friends is an AMAZING place. The canyon is the most peaceful setting I have ever been in. The volunteers and mid-level staff are exceptionally dedicated and talented. And of course, the animals, magnificent and take your heart away. I have volunteer on the Pup My Ride projects. Also amazing and made me feel as though I was truly helping the dogs. The staff was tireless in their efforts as was the transport organization.
I have worked as an executive in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years and I know the challenges faced by management. However, I will say that there is certainly a deification of the Founders, and they suck up every bit of it as egos and personalities expand expotentiallly.
They need to diversity their leadership as to dispel both the myth and reality of a cult like atmosphere among the 19 Founders. The CEO that they brought in from the outside several years ago fought a gallant battle to bring new energy and effort to the cause. However, he is gone because, among other things, he questioned the founding fathers and mothers.
BFAS does amazing work and lets many people find a place for their passion and compassion to be realized. However, it is time for the Founders to pass the torch. Otherwise, the effort begins to seem more like self-angrandizement than selfless work.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
When you drive in to Angel Canyon your breath is taken away by its utter beauty. When you pass "angel's rest" you can not help but weep at the sheer numbers of beloved buried there. Listening to John Garcia talk about the Vicktory dogs, makes one have hope for true compassion in the world. As a professional, I feel the underlying, gut level experience as it relates to the drive of the leaders is very disconcerting. The work is magnificent however.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
diversify the leadership and begin to let the Founders step into more mentor roles as opposed to those of controlling all actions of the organization
Donor & consulting and volunteering.
Review from Guidestar