Nancy McKenney of Novato-based Marin Humane Society has won one of North Bay Business Journal’s Nonprofit Leadership Awards.
Describe your organization
Marin Humane is not your typical animal shelter — because we’re about people too! We bring animals and humans together, forging a bond that impacts not just our homes but makes neighborhoods happier and healthier.
For more than 100 years, we’ve been here to place animals in loving homes, advocate for their welfare, and educate the next generation. Our groundbreaking programs help kids learn to read, build confidence for people with autism, rehabilitate inmates and San Quentin, help low-income seniors care for their animals, and train people to be good pet parents.
We’re also responsible for 24/7 animal protection and rescue for the whole of Marin County. Our officers stop abuse, bring animals to safety, and reunite lost pets with their worried families. We never have to turn away an animal in need. Our devoted staff and volunteers transform the lives of more than 10,000 animals a year — and countless humans too.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I lived most of my life in the greater Seattle area, and now enjoy not having to use all the variety of rain coats or wool socks I used to have before moving to northern California.
My background in nonprofits, political organizing, and fundraising is based on my passion for causes that make our communities better — those that make us happier, healthier and yes, more humane to all living beings. I strive every day to live a more cruelty-free life (and admit. I’m not perfect) and am impressed by the options consumers now have when buying cosmetics, handbags or in simply ordering a meal.
My husband, who is allergic to animals, and I have been married since 1986. We share our home with two cats and one dog, all of whom were adopted from humane societies.
I started my career in animal welfare 34 years ago when I was hired as the public relations coordinator for the Humane Society for Seattle/King County. After I left for a position in development at a private school, I was elected to the Humane Society’s board in 1986. I didn’t expect a few months later to be asked to be the next executive director, a position I ended up holding for 19 years.
After that time, I had the opportunity to work for an international grant making organization when I was appointed the first executive director for the Petfinder.com Foundation in 2006. From there I went on to experience working in the public sector as I attempted to turn around an embattled animal care and control agency, the King County Animal Care and Control in Washington state.
I was recruited to Marin Humane and joined the organization in March 2011. Marin Humane serves a human population of over 263,000 residents and thousands of animals (including wildlife and livestock). For over 50 years, Marin Humane has contracted to provide animal services — 24/7 animal protection and rescue for the whole of Marin County.
I serve on the board of the State Humane Association of California and am Vice Chair for the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership. My past community service includes serving on the following boards or committees: Washington State Federation of Animal Care & Control Agencies, Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, Elder and Adult Day Care Services in Washington state, Seattle University’s College of the Arts & Sciences Leadership Council, and the CAWA Test Exam Committee.
Marin Humane Society
171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd., Novato 94949
Education: Master’s degree in not-for-profit leadership (MNPL), Seattle University; bachelor’s degree, Brown University; certification in animal welfare administration (CAWA).