Who We Are
Patty Finch, CEO
Until 2014 Patty Finch served as the first Executive Director of Global Federation of Animals Sanctuaries (GFAS), an organization created by globally recognized leaders in animal protection to strengthen and support the work of true animal sanctuaries via the first international accreditation program for sanctuaries. She oversaw the development of 25 sets of standards for animal groups (such as equine), covering all aspects of animal care, and created processes for analysis of applications. 151 facilities in 19 countries were certified by GFAS under her leadership. 75 of the facilities house equine. In the first four years Finch oversaw the placement of more than 6,800 animals into sanctuaries, with GFAS awarding over $310K in grants to sanctuaries, and directly helping sanctuaries obtain another $684K. Finch was awarded a 64th Annual Honor Award presented by US Secretary Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, in 2012 for her prominent role in the multi-organizational effort to place the animals from the failed Wild Animal Orphanage that year.
Ms. Finch has a history of working for improvements in areas of chronic poverty. Her experience includes a summer in Indian as a scholarship exchange student, in the Experiment in International Living, eight years as a public school teacher on the Navajo Nation (where Finch launched the Kayenta Animal Defense League), the creator of an award-winning humane education program and teacher training program for Costs Rica, and seven years of working with Phoenix innercity superintendents and college/university presidents in a Think Tank consortium, and subsequently training their principals and teachers, with a focus on student success in science and math. In 2013 Finch traveled to Uganda, assisting the first African great ape sanctuary run entirely by African nationals to adopt new fundraising avenues. That facility is on track to become the first GFAS Accredited Sanctuary in all of Africa.
From 2003 to 2008, she was Manager of Grants and Research at PetSmart Charities, representing activities of Charitable Giving to the Board, and overseeing the distribution of $3.2 – $10 million in grants annually. She conceived of and launched the first ongoing free webcasts for the animal welfare field, creating a new educational tool for this field.
Ms. Finch developed and chaired first “Companion Animal” day-long conference for Animal Grantmakers and chaired a panel presentation on Feral Cats and Wildlife.
Ms. Finch was the Alliance Plus Grant Writer and Core Trainer from Oct. 1998 to March 2003. This project trained science teachers to become district instructors on innovative educational uses of the Internet, including as replacements for dissection.
Patty Finch was Co-Director of Phoenix Think Tank (1996-1998), overseeing initiatives and data collection to document effectiveness. Accomplishments included writing, directing and videotaping on semiconductor technicians and production of microchips. She received Telly and ITVA Special Achievement Award for scriptwriting, sales and marketing. She conceptualized and created two teacher grant programs for Phoenix Think Tank: Promising Places and Teacher as Researcher, with grant awards of $50,000.
Patty Finch served as the Executive Director of the Arizona Humane Society for a one year period to provide crisis management of six departments, successfully overseeing the raising of $2.1 million for 1995 budget year.
Ms Finch coordinated Intel’s premiere event for the television series: BreakThrough, the Changing Face of Science in America.
Recruited as the Executive Director for the youth education division of the Humane Society of the United States from 1985 through 1994, Patty Finch was promoted to Vice President in 1990 where her innovative leadership and marketing plan for KIND News, a monthly children’s newspaper, increased paid circulation from 30,000 to more than 650,000 in 1994, ultimately creating a budget in excess of $1 million.
Patty was asked to share keys to success of humane/environmental programs with chief environmental aide to Vice President Gore, the international Executive Director of UNESCO, Jane Goodall’s staff in Tucson as they developed Roots and Shoots, Larry Rockefeller of the Children’s Defense Fund, and others.
Patty Finch authored “Breaking the Cycle of Abuse,” with half a million copies sold in first releases.
Ms Finch served as Adjunct Professor from 1978-1980 at Northern Arizona University. She has a Master’s Degree, summa cum laude, from Arizona State University.
Ruth Steinberger, Co-CEO and Founder
Ruth Steinberger, Founder and co-CEO of Spay First!, is an animal advocate with over two decades in the field. She has devoted her career to expanding the network of professional and grass roots organizations that partner to assist at-risk animals through spay/neuter, education, and legal protection.
Ms. Steinberger has coordinated rural pet sterilization programs since 1993 when she launched her first program in the Appalachian region of southwestern Virginia. She moved to Oklahoma in 1999 to make her home in an area with no existing low-income spay/neuter programs. Since her move, she has expanded her network by working daily with non-profit organizations, veterinarians and dedicated volunteers to start new spay/neuter programs in low-income regions.
Ms. Steinberger creates programs unique to challenged communities, typically ones with no veterinary services nearby. A spay/neuter program she developed in association with the tribal health office of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota) is recognized as a model for serving impoverished areas; between 2003 and 2010 over 6000 animals were spayed or neutered there.
Understanding that education is vital to helping at-risk animals, Ms. Steinberger has assisted in coordinating accredited seminars on early age spay/neuter for veterinarians and she has worked with Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners investigator Dale Fullerton and Carey Floyd, D.V.M. to develop continuing education anti-cruelty classes for Oklahoma peace officers. This class focuses on investigative veterinary forensic techniques and the link between violence toward animals and the progression to violence against humans.
Ms. Steinberger presented at the First International Symposium on Dog Population Management (sponsored by World Health Organization) in the UK in 2012 and at the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine she presented a paper on pet overpopulation as a public health issue and the role of the private veterinary practitioner in the resolution of this crisis. She has been featured at many national conferences including all Spay U.S.A. Southern Regional Leadership conferences from 2003 through 2009, the 2011 Best Friends Animal Society’s No More Homeless Pets Conference, the 2007 Humane Society of the United States’ Expo and the 2011 Spay/Neuter Leadership Retreat.
An esteemed animal advocate, spay/neuter expert, and activist/journalist, Ms. Steinberger has received recognition throughout her career. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her outstanding work. Board member Dr Charles Helwig, advisory board member Billy Clay, DVM, and Ruth received the 2013 OVMA Presidents Choice Award for their outstanding research on nonsurgical techniques of animal contraception. She was awarded the 2006 ASPCA’s prestigious Henry Bergh Award for animal activism. The noted publication, Veterinary Practice News, featured the low-income service model Ms. Steinberger developed, called “In-Clinic Clinics,” in its March, 2007 issue. Ms. Steinberger’s journalistic talents earned her being honored as Journalist of the Year by the Lakota Journal.
Always an active volunteer, Ms. Steinberger is an Advisory Board Member and Legislative Chair with the Oklahoma Humane Federation. She was awarded an honorary lifetime membership in the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association in 2012.
Ms. Steinberger is proud to work with new communities everyday to help create effective programs to prevent animal suffering.