Since October 2010, Robin Ganzert, Ph.D. has served as the president and CEO of the American Humane Association. She utilizes her background in philanthropy and the social sector to advocate for rigorous humane research, evidence-based solutions and innovative programming that benefits children and animals. Pets outnumber people in her household as she is the proud owner of three dogs, two cats, four horses and goldfish. She is also the mother of three children.
At The Humane Association – the first national humane organization in this country founded in 1877 – Ganzert leads the organization in championing for the welfare, wellness and well-being of America’s children and animals. She advocates for the humane treatment of pets, animals on our country’s farms and ranches, animals working in our nation’s military, and animals in the entertainment industry. She also advocates for the prevention of abuse and neglect of children, and has created a new national partnership to assist military families with therapy dogs. She believes that America needs a social contract of compassion and is working to create a more empathetic and kinder country – one community at a time.
Robin Ganzert currently leads four primary humane initiatives at American Humane Association.
The Humane Heartland initiative seeks to promote the humane treatment of all farm animals, and is actually the largest farm animal welfare certification program in the world. The Humane Heartland’s American Humane Certified® program certifies that over one billion farm animals are ensured humane treatment and welfare. The Humane Hollywood initiative seeks to protect animal actors as they work in the entertainment industry, and is known as the legendary No Animals Were Harmed® program. Over 100,000 animal actors are afforded humane treatment while on sets in entertainment productions around the globe. Humane Intervention programs include the nation’s first disaster response initiative for animals in crisis. Founded on the battlefields of World War I for wounded war horses, Red Star™ Animal Emergency Services has rescued over 70,000 animals over the past five years in earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters. Humane Intervention also provides for Red Star™ Animal Assisted Therapy in times of community crisis, such as after the Boston Marathon, as well as for animal therapy in retirement homes, military children camps, and children’s hospitals. The Humane Research initiative identifies issues that directly serve children and animals and conducts research on the bond between people and animals.
Robin Ganzert is a trusted advisor in philanthropy who has enjoyed a lifetime of service in one or more capacities. As a student Robin regularly served her classmates by thoughtful participation in the classroom and diligent effort in her studies. When she entered the working world, Ganzert regularly served each employer by working tirelessly and committing herself to high achievement.
Robin is a girl from the South. She lives in North Carolina with her family and attended colleges in the state. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. After completing her undergraduate studies, she stayed at Wake Forest and earned a master of business administration.
Wake Forest University is a private college located in central North Carolina. The university combines a liberal arts education with research experiences. Over the years, Wake Forest has grown in size and reputation and during its most recent academic year the university enrolled 4,800 undergraduate and 2,600 graduate-level students.
Robin Ganzert earned a doctorate degree in philosophy, curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She completed her dissertation on Institutional Financial Management and has used the lessons learned there frequently throughout her career. She holds multiple investment, accounting and financial management professional certifications.
In 1998, Ganzert took a job as an assistant controller, chief accountant and internal auditor with her alma mater. She was responsible for preparing the financial statements for the Reynolda Campus for Wake Forest University. This role required her to manage the endowment accounting procedures, accounts receivable, payroll, budgets and grants accounting staff.
In 1996, Robin was promoted to assistant dean for Finance and Administration and served as an adjunct faculty member at the MBA School. She worked in this position for six years and during that time she had many responsibilities. As an assistant dean, she provided leadership for the financial operations of the MBA program including budgeting, capital planning and financial reporting.
As an adjunct lecturer, she taught accounting courses for MBA students and entrepreneurs. She also developed assessment programs for four MBA programs on teaching, learning and outcomes.
In 2002, Robin Ganzert left academia and took a position as a senior vice president with Wachovia Bank, N.A. She started as a senior vice president and managing director for the Center for Planned Giving and was eventually promoted to National Director. In this capacity she managed and provided leadership for the National Center for Planned Giving which aided national and regional nonprofit organizations. Assets under her management doubled in three years and she increased sales 30 percent in 2004 and 55 percent in 2005.
During her time with Wachovia, Ganzert also served as the National Director of Philanthropic Strategies. In her work, Robin consulted with national and regional nonprofits regarding their endowments, spending, fund accounting, investment policies and governance. Wachovia Securities brokers also learned philanthropic financial planning principals through education initiatives she led.
Immediately preceding her employment with the American Humane Association, Robin Ganzert worked as the deputy director of philanthropic services for The Pew Charitable Trusts. She created the global philanthropic services unit and business development effort that increased new donors by 115 percent. Her work also allowed her to provide philanthropic consultation to some of the world’s wealthiest families.
The Pew Charitable Trusts is a $5 billion global nonprofit organization, and Ganzert helped lead its philanthropic services division. She built infrastructure and created a business model focused on high-impact philanthropic advisory services and the use of significant capital. Her duties included cultivating relationships with high net worth philanthropists and building a client pipeline by assisting affluent families and individuals.
Funds raised in 2010 increased by 24 percent over the prior year. Ganzert brought in more than $170 million in new philanthropic assets during the most challenging economic times for the nonprofit sector. To reach out to affluent families, she developed the first-ever Pew Philanthropy Forum targeting ultra high net worth families and their advisors.
Early Humane Association Work
When taking over as president and CEO of the Humane Association, Robin Ganzert quickly set out to revamp the financial situation of the organization and raise its public status. She reversed $12 million in annual operating deficits with operating surpluses for two consecutive years. Fundraising increased more 35 percent annually and new donors increased 45 percent.
Ganzert’s goal was to make the American Humane Association relevant to younger donors, while ensuring measurable social impact with defined outcomes in each programmatic area. She transformed existing humane programs, revitalized the mission and vision, and launched new platforms including the Hero Dog Awards, Canines and Childhood Cancer Research Study, and the Wags4Pagtriots initiative.
One of her earliest accomplishments was the creation of a celebrity cabinet including Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Miranda Lambert, Joey Lawrence and others. These celebrities help to promote the work of the American Humane Association through culture and entertainment channels.
The organization championed state and federal legislation on the treatment of animals in shelters and on farms. In an effort to reach new groups of people, American Humane Association also produced a successful primetime television show on the Hallmark Channel.
Robin Ganzert works to lead the Humane Association in creating innovative programming and informative research on advocacy issues surrounding children and animals.
Robin Ganzert understands the difficulties facing non-profit organizations. As the country still emerges from the Great Recession, many families and businesses are still timid in their donations to charitable organizations. Now, more than ever, it is important for an organization to present itself as relevant and engaging.
Ganzert works to create thoughtful programs and initiatives that engage the community with the organization’s mission. She directs studies to determine where children and animals are most at-risk and helps create humane solutions firmly rooted in science. On the legislative front, the organization collaborates with lawmakers to pass resolutions and legislation that makes the humane treatment of animals and the protection of children a priority.
Honoring the service of military families, the Association plans to continue bringing therapy dogs to summer camps for the children of servicemen and women. The Association also honors dogs that serve in the military and uses the bond between dogs and people to help wounded warriors.
When parts of the country suffer from natural disaster or tragedy in cases like the Newtown, Connecticut shooting or Hurricane Sandy, Robin will emphasize the ways that animals can help communities grieve, cope and heal. She also will work to ensure that animals are not forgotten about during times of crisis.
Under her leadership, the American Humane Association will continue to produce thoughtful research on the benefits of the humane treatment of animals. Robin Ganzert will continue to champion humane research and evidence-based solutions for the most pressing issues facing our most precious and our most vulnerable.