Mission & Projects
RESCUE & CARE
We rescue, care and advocate for abused animals who are victims of the animal agriculture industries. We began this mission rescuing chickens. With only one yard for housing, we focus on the smallest, most invisible victims who are in fact among the world's most prolifically abused: 68 billion a year (in 2018)… an unfathomable number suffer and are killed at the hands of this country's meat & egg industry alone. Chickens are the most mocked, the most denigrated... abused relentlessly at unthinkable speeds and volumes, and they are the beings about whom the public is least educated. We also came to see that they were the beings least assisted by mainstream "pet-focused" rescues who still often treated them as too much trouble and expendable. We hope to give haven to many different species in the future as we grow, but chickens will always be our primary focus. By tending to those labeled as worthless and considered by society to be the least deserving of even the barest consideration, we hope to make our mission very clear: compassion, kindness and justice must be for ALL.
We seek to educate about vegan alternatives and share information and resources that inspire more people to action and change. Large scale events like Hudson Valley Vegfest, Kingston Animalia - and educational presentations at venues such as local libraries and the Culinary Institute of America, as well as our efforts via film screenings, meetups and more - are all about providing joyous opportunities to learn, share, grow, promote veganism, animal rights, and support the growth of vegan businesses and a compassionate economy. It’s about bringing people together to inspire change.
RESPECT FOR ALL
We respect all who come here, no matter your species, race, sexual orientation, gender identification, faith, age, ability. Whether as a visitor, or someone coming to be of service to the animals and mission (be it as volunteer now, or staff in the future) or a new resident needing our assistance, our goal is to create healing and happy space for all. We will interact with the utmost kindness, respect and appreciation for the contributions of a community we seek to support and elevate. We will continue to develop with board, peers and community an ever-improving code of conduct and transparency of operation that does not in any way allow for abusive treatment, unethical behavior or exploitation of humans or animals. This is necessary, to truly be an organization fully devoted to a mission of equality, justice and compassion.
As volunteers with creative energy we have completed many projects including the following:
Used our writing skills and ski hats as incentives in a fundraiser for a sanctuary and raised over $11,000 for their work!
Recorded a song (see MUSIC) whose proceeds go to animal rescue and care.
Co-created a Meetup Group (with animal advocate/singer/songwriter Kirsti Gholson) that is now on FB and have hosted numerous creative and educational events
Created an online arts advocacy hub for vegan/animal rights artists
Co-created and produce a new huge vegan festival for the Hudson Valley! 2000-2500 people attended in our first two years, as well as a dozens of speakers, presenters and entertainers - and 80-100 vendors. HUDSON VALLEY VEGFEST helped bring incredible new educational offerings to the region and greater vegan awareness, and will also help us support and grow this sanctuary. We are hard at work on year three!
Began building a Vegan/Intersectional Cultural Festival - KINGSTON ANIMALIA (to debut in 2019 as part of HV Vegfest) - that will focus on compassion-based social justice art that inspires, uplifts and engages!
We conducted presentations for Phoenicia Library and did the first ethical vegan presentation in history at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY as part of the Hudson Valley Food & Beverage Summit (and also brought in local vegan talent to represent as vegan businesses.)
Most joyously, we have built three beautiful, handmade, heated and insulated coops in two years and picked up a few more rescued, non-human family members along the way. Two were profiled on The Dodo website!
We worked for nearly a decade at other sanctuaries and rescues - doing animal care, administration, educational programs, fundraising, and more - all while supporting a growing rescue family of our own. In time via all these experiences we developed to a fairly complete and well-rounded understanding of the workings, management demands and operational needs of an animal rescue organization. It was time to go out on our own. We became an official 501c3 Non-Profit Charity in January 2019. We (the founders) are still keeping our day jobs and we run the sanctuary as volunteers while continuing forward in the most mindful way possible. It has been our intention from the beginning to be as independently sustainable as possible, in any growth we pursued. The humble but proud proceeds from our merch and music sales, and proceeds from Hudson Valley Vegfest, have helped us to uphold the residents’ care and haven operations thus far.
But there is a constant need of more good homes and care for rescued birds (roosters in particular) and our "rescue family" is really growing. We are hard at work to continue the incredible (but thoughtful and careful) growth from the seeds that were planted in 2009. A full template of a running organization is in place and daily in action, and we are overjoyed continue this journey forward.
Thank you for your interest in The Institute, and we look forward to doing and sharing much more!
Note: If you'd like to support the work being done by the Institute but don't need a hat or a song, we are deeply grateful for your support and generosity. Every bit helps us continue to expand these efforts. You can donate HERE, and we also have a WISH LIST of supplies. Thank you!