They say that life is all about timing, and that’s a concept that most pet owners and nonprofit organizations can agree on! HeARTs Speak was born out of great timing in 2010, when our fearless leader and Executive Director, Lisa Prince Fishler, adopted her best friend, Iggy. Lisa was head over heels in love and was inspired by Iggy’s adoption to get involved in saving lives by creating more adoption moments for animals all over the world.
As a professional photographer, the natural connection between her passion for Iggy and her passion for art was to cultivate “a community that, once united, could move people at a deep level to shift our relationship with animals.”
For the first 5 years of HeARTs Speak’s existence, Lisa and a core team of dedicated volunteers and board members worked tirelessly, and mostly without pay, to build a collective creative force that would work on a global scale to provide resources and opportunities to artists and animal welfare organizations alike. Even with limited resources, HeARTs Speak was able to amass more than 500 artist members between 2010 and 2015, while also implementing an educational program called the Perfect Exposure Project, which provides two-day workshops on photography and marketing to animal welfare organizations throughout the US.
And then timing handed HeARTs Speak another gift! In 2015 we were able to hire our first full-time, paid staff, thanks to a generous grant from the Petco Foundation. Since that moment, we’ve worked hard to ensure that this investment has gone to strengthening and growing the programs that seek to unite artists, advocates, and animals!
This year, we expect that our artist membership will grow by at least 30%, a change that gives an additional 10,000 animals per month the opportunity to shine in professional quality photos that could get them adopted. We will also deliver Perfect Exposure Project workshops to over 250 animal shelter staff and volunteers, with the goal of opening hearts and changing minds about pet adoption throughout the U.S.
In the fall of 2016 we’ll celebrate one year of having paid staff and some other critical milestones in HeARTs Speak history, all because of Petco Foundation’s support!
Since 1999 Petco Foundation has been a shining light in the field of animal welfare and adoption, investing more than $157 million in lifesaving work. They’ve collaborated with over 4,000 animal welfare partners to help more than 4.9 million animals find homes. We’re so proud to be among the many organizations Petco Foundation provides support to and excited to share their passion for extending education and empowerment to the animal welfare community!