What became of the International Network for Religion & Animals?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2006:
WASHINGTON D.C.–What ever became of the International
Network for Religion & Animals? Realtor Joanna Harkin of Washington
D.C. recently wondered.
The late Virginia Bourquardez, “Ginny Bee” to fellow
activists, founded INRA circa 1981, winning charitable status in
1986. The INRA board included scholars and clerics from a variety of
religions, but the organization disappeared after Bourquardez died
in May 2000, at age 88.
“I was a friend of Ginny’s,” Harkin told ANIMAL PEOPLE.
“She used to say, ‘I’ll be a lot more good to the animals when I’m
dead,'” referring to her estate, which she often said was left to
Harkin began her search for INRA by checking the deed to
Bourquardez’s former home in Forest Glen, Maryland. Harkin found
that the house had passed to Peter Gerard, an attorney whose name
before marriage to the former Kathy Sanborn was Peter Linck. At
marriage, both changed their surnames to Gerard. In June 2005 the
Gerards apparently sold the house for $443,000.
Bourquardez’s will showed that, “She gave the house to Peter
Gerard,” Harkin found, “but made INRA the residual beneficiary of
her estate. That translated into a bequest of about $232,000.” “It
is my express desire,” Bourquardez wrote, “that this bequest be
used to advance the cause of animal rights within the world’s great
Bourquardez named attorney Roger Galvin as her executor.
Galvin, when the will was written, was senior partner in a law firm
including Doris Day Animal League president Holly Hazard and longtime
Animal Legal Defense Fund staff attorney Valerie Stanley.
Bourquardez named Peter Gerard as alternate executor. As Galvin had
retired, moved, and dissolved the law firm before Bourquardez died,
Gerard succeeded to the duty.
By then Bourquardez had spent several years in nursing homes.
INRA was long inactive–and Gerard also headed it. Soon after INRA
received Bourquardez’s residuals, Gerard dissolved INRA. The assets
were given to a new entity the Gerards formed, called the National
Organization for Animals & their Habitats, NOAH for short. A
private foundation, NOAH had $107,031 in remaining assets at the
end of 2004, the most recent year for which IRS Form 990 is
NOAH claimed program expenses of $36,174 in 2002, $50,173 in
2003, and $62,184 in 2004, incurred to “Rescue wild and domestic
animals,” and to “acquire rescue equipment” plus “developmental
materials for animal protection education.” Itemized expenditures
included $1,740 for “wildlife supplies” and $624 for “animal rescue
supplies” in 2002; $2,021 for “animal rescue supplies” and $3,290
for “animal rescue vehicle expenses” in 2003; and $87 for “animal
care” plus $1,672 for “animal supplies” in 2004.
Kathy Gerard was paid $19,000 in 2002, the only salary
listed. Peter Gerard was paid $24,667 in 2003, and Kathy Gerard was
paid $20,000. Peter Gerard was paid $52,000 in 2004, as the only
listed paid staff member.
The Gerards did not respond to inquiries from ANIMAL PEOPLE,
sent to them at a variety of addresses associated with their names in
the vicinities of Washington D.C. and Reno, Nevada.
This was not the first time ANIMAL PEOPLE had occasion to ask
them where money went. Both Gerards worked in the early 1990s for
the now defunct National Alliance for Animal Legislation. After
taking control of the National Alliance from founder Syndee Brinkman,
Peter Gerard directed the 1990 “March for the Animals” in Washington
D.C., which attracted less than a quarter of the projected crowd of
100,000. Gerard then staged a 1996 encore that also projected
attendance of 100,000, but drew just 3,000. Both marches were
endorsed and supported by most major U.S. animal advocacy groups.
The 1996 march program thanked donors for contributions
totaling more than $750,000. Asked by ANIMAL PEOPLE, Friends of
Animals, In Defense of Animals, and the Elephant Alliance to
account for the funds, Gerard provided financial statements
indicating receipts of upward of $950,000 in cash and donated goods
and services, claiming cash expenses of $674,339. This was more
than triple the pre-march estimate given to donors, and included
about $207,000 in apparently still unexplained expenditures.