Morris Animal Foundation
Location: Denver, CO
Industry: Animal Health Non-Profit
Tiffany Grunert’s passion for wildlife and pets was spurred at a young age when she joined the Zoo Crew at Scovill Children’s Zoo in fifth grade. Little did she know it would spur a lifelong passion for helping animals and form her career trajectory.
Grunert has spent the last 20 years improving the lives of pets and wildlife alike as an executive at Denver Zoo and now as President and CEO of the Morris Animal Foundation, that was founded in 1949. Grunert is responsible for the 70-year-old nonprofit with an $86 million endowment, $16 million annual budget and 50 staff members, while leading the strategy to advance animal health through scientific discovery.
Since leading the helm in 2018, Grunert has driven culture change and increased employee morale, according to her staff. “With a focus on staff well-being and recognition, Grunert helped pivot the Foundation that was struggling from a difficult work environment to a high achieving team recognized as Denver Business Journal’s Best Places to Work in 2020.”
Under Grunert’s leadership, Morris Animal Foundation has increased earned revenue by 10% annually, enabling the Foundation to improve animal health through partnerships and new programs.
“She is a constant team builder and has created an environment where everyone feels valued and where we have a voice,” said Trustee John Kuenzi. “She has a deep passion for the cause of animal health and welfare and has positioned the Morris Animal Foundation in the critical objective science-based role for research and funding into future generations.”
During her time as the President and CEO, Grunert began leading the development of a citizen science platform that will grow scientific discovery utilizing pet owner volunteers throughout the world, She also led the development of new strategic alliances to shift focus on specific outcomes to build wildlife disease resistance among the world’s most endangered species and has revitalized the $30 million Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
“Tiffany Grunert is a Titan because she always steps up where there is a need and fills it,” said her staff. “She enables her team to reach goals they never thought were possible and she has lifted the Foundation to a new level.”
Grunert has continued to develop successful donor-inspired initiatives, led crisis response, and served as the primary spokesperson of the Denver Zoo. She also partnered with government officials and stakeholders in two successful campaigns for the reauthorization of a voter-approved tax that provided more than 24% of Denver Zoo’s operating budget.
Her primary focus, though, is to be action oriented. “Trust your team. Help them understand their runway and empower them to lift others up to create meaningful change,” said Grunert.
For her commitment to the Foundation and her staff, Grunert has been named a Titan of industry
Tiffany once gave up her car as a method of commuting to work, typically biking the 24-mile round trip effort from Wheat Ridge to Denver Zoo.