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About the Foundation

The Foundation for Animals (FFA) is dedicated to addressing the critical needs of animals, both domestic and wild. As a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, FFA provides financial assistance to well-managed projects that promote animal welfare, prevent animal suffering, and provide needed improvements for animals. Assistance for domestic animals is primarily dedicated to, but not limited to, the Helena area and surrounding communities. Wildlife programs partnered with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the U.S. Forest Service benefit Montana's citizens and visitors to the state. Established in 1989 as the Mikal Kellner Foundation for Animals, the nonprofit became the Foundation for Animals in 2006.




In the early nineties, the Foundation established two ongoing programs that help meet veterinary service expenses that pet owners could not otherwise afford.


Spay/Neuter assistance. FFA's commitment to reducing pet overpopulation continues through spay/neuter certificates that provide assistance to pet owners who are unable to pay the full cost of surgery to alter their pets. In addition, FFA has sponsored free and/or low-cost public clinics in the Helena and Browning communities.


Emergency funds. Life is unpredictable for pets and the people who love them, and veterinary bills for an accident or illness can be expensive. In some cases, the cost is beyond the owner's ability to pay, especially for low or fixed-income pet owners. FFA's emergency funds program is designed to help responsible pet owners who are suddenly faced with that situation. Since the program's inception in 1992, FFA has dedicated over $86,000 to helping animals in critical need.



Along with domestic animal programs, wildlife conservation has been an integral part of the Foundation's mission. The Foundation, in partnership with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the US Forest Service, sponsors the popular elementary school program "Adopt-A-Species." This program is designed to inspire young students to become stewards of wildlife and habitat. Each participating school chooses a Montana wildlife species to study throughout the year. Student artwork and essays about protecting their "adopted" wildlife and wildlife habitat appear every year in a supplement to the Helena Independent Record during Earth Week.



This interest in wildlife conservation also led the Foundation to assist Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks in the development of the Montana Wildlife Center in Helena. FFA raised funds in the private-sector to purchase a five-acre site adjacent to Spring Meadow Lake State Park and build a rehabilitation intake facility and three wildlife enclosures. In 2002, the land and buildings were gifted to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and was later named Montana WILD.


The wildlife rehabilitation facility continues to receive injured and orphaned wildlife that are candidates for return to the wild or are candidates for placement in protected environments. The orphaned bear cub program, in particular, has been a great success. The Foundation's most recent support involved raising funds to build a raptor flight barn to enhance the rehabilitation of injured raptors.


Montana WILD is not a zoo as minimal contact with humans is vital for return to the wild. However, an education and visitor center adjacent to the wildlife rehabilitation facility is now open to the public and offers conservation exhibits and programs for all ages. The Foundation continues to be a fund-raising partner for both wildlife rehabilitation and conservation education programs at the center.



The Foundation for Animals is proud of its 30-year history as a conduit for action. The interconnection between humans, animals and our shared environment is vital and, for that reason, FFA continues to dedicate its resources to making a better place for animals, both domestic and wild.

Our Mission is to benefit Domestic and Wild Animals

Meet the Board


Cindy Utterback, CPA


Helena, Montana

Shareholder, Anderson ZurMuehlen, Co.

Rex Walsh


Helena, Montana

VP/Operations Manager, Stockman Bank

Dianne Nickman


Helena, Montana

Former President, L&C Humane Society

Vickie Caldwell, CPA


Helena, Montana

Senior Accountant, St. Peter's Health

Lisa Woolsey

Assistant Treasurer

Helena, Montana

Accountant, Anderson ZurMuehlen Co.

Cathy Ingram   

Helena, Montana

Operations Mgr. Anderson ZurMuehlen Co.

Lorretta Lynde

Helena, Montana

Retired Newspaper Publisher

Media Consultant

Judy Palmquist

Helena, Montana

Physical Fitness Instructor

Shawna VanHuysen  

Helena, Montana

Business owner, Social Media Marketing

Have questions?  Want to learn more?

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