Dancing Star Foundation

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The Dancing Star Foundation is a U.S.-based non-profit organization[1][2][3] engaged in environmental, cultural and animal welfare activities, including environmental education, global biodiversity conservation, and animal rights.[4] It was founded in 1993.[5]

Areas of focus[edit]


Via print and film, Dancing Star Foundation seeks to increase awareness of environmental issues ranging from biodiversity and extinction to non-violence and over-population.[5] Examples are No Vacancy, a book and documentary film combination which addresses the volatile issue of population stabilization in the U.S., China, and eight other countries; the book Sanctuary, "a 338-page compendium of full color photography showcasing twenty-four animal sanctuaries located throughout twenty different countries";[6] and the documentary film Mad Cowboy, the story of cattle rancher-turned-vegan and animal rights activist Howard Lyman.[7]

Animal protection[edit]

The foundation operates an animal sanctuary in Central California for rescued animals.[8] The mission of the facilities is to provide sanctuary "for the benefit, solace, peace and quiet of the resident species".[8]

Biodiversity conservation[edit]

The foundation is involved in efforts to promote biodiversity conservation—mostly through "documentation in book and film form of research being carried out by governments, other NGOs and individual ecologists"—in various countries.[9]

UCLA medical school[edit]

Dancing Star Foundation created and funded an alternative oncology program, the Sue Stiles Program in Integrative Oncology at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2001.[10] The program is under the direction of oncologist Richard J. Pietras.[10]

Current leadership[edit]


Michael Tobias is president of the foundation.[11] His academic resume includes a Ph.D. in History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz, an Assistant Professorship in Environmental Studies, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of English and the Humanities, Visiting Garrey Carruthers Chair of Honors at the University of New Mexico, Distinguished Visiting Professor and Regents Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an Associate Professorship at Cal State Northridge.[11] He is "the author of 37 books and writer/director/producer of over 100 films pertaining to environmental, cultural, social or scientific issues".[12]

Executive vice president[edit]

Jane Gray Morrison is executive vice president of the foundation.[11] An ecologist/filmmaker, Morrison produced the ten-hour Turner Broadcasting series "Voice of the Planet", which chronicled the history of life on Earth; the project "involved filming for nearly two years in 25 countries".[12] Morrison is also responsible for the production of a trilogy of documentary films titled "Mad Cowboy", "No Vacancy", and "Hotspots", and has co-authored books on environmental issues.[11]

Vice president, finance and operations[edit]

Don Cannon is vice president of finance and operations of the foundation.[11] Cannon's background includes tenures with both A&M Records and Elektra Records, as well as Hanna Barbera and other television production companies.[11] Prior to joining Dancing Star Foundation, he was a senior vice president at ICM Partners, a large talent management agency.[11]

Euthanasia controversy[edit]

In early 2009, a small number of former employees alleged that the Cayucos animal sanctuary was euthanizing animals for economic reasons.[13][14] A maintenance supervisor who made similar allegations claims he was dismissed due to speaking out, although the sanctuary says he was terminated for other reasons.[15] Dancing Star denied the animal-care allegations, saying that they are "contrary to our most deeply held beliefs" and that the Foundation is "unwavering in our commitment to compassion".[14] San Luis Obispo County Animal Services determined that the euthanized animals were "either beyond treatment or had conditions for which euthanasia would be at least one of the considerations that could be responsibly made".[13] The general counsel of the Farm Sanctuary in New York State, who examined the Cayucos sanctuary following the allegations, said he was unable to confirm the process for selecting those who had been euthanized.[13] But he noted, "It's the best-funded place in the country for animals, and the staff appears to be caring."[13]


  1. ^ "Exempt Organizations Select Check: Dancing Star Foundation". irs.gov. U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Dancing Star Foundation – GuideStar Profile". guidestar.org. GuideStar. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Charity Navigator – Unrated Profile for Dancing Star Foundation". charitynavigator.org. Charity Navigator. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  4. ^ Chumakov, Alexander Nikolaevich; Ilyin, Ilya Vyacheslavovich; Mazour, Ivan Ivanovich, eds. (2018). "Organizations: Dancing Star Foundation (DSF)". Global studies directory: people, organizations, publications. Value inquiry book series. 302. Leiden; Boston: Brill Rodopi. pp. 398–399. doi:10.1163/9789004353855. ISBN 9789004348479. OCLC 994296658.
  5. ^ a b "About the Foundation – Mission". dancingstarfoundation.org. Dancing Star Foundation. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Book review: Sanctuary: Global Oases Of Innocence". Midwest Book Review. 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  7. ^ Richards, Jennie (1 March 2016). "Documentary film Mad Cowboy, the story of Howard Lyman". humanedecisions.com. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Animal Protection – U.S. Sanctuaries". dancingstarfoundation.org. Dancing Star Foundation. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Biodiversity Conservation". dancingstarfoundation.org. Dancing Star Foundation. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Stiles Program in Integrative Oncology". ccim.med.ucla.edu. UCLA School of Medicine. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "About the Foundation – Biographies". dancingstarfoundation.org. Dancing Star Foundation. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  12. ^ a b Oosthuizen, François (2008). "The race against extinction" (PDF). 2Magazine. Bangkok, Thailand. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d Chawkins, Steve (26 February 2009). "Animal sanctuaries criticized over surge in euthanizations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Ex-employees claim CA sanctuary killing animals". CBS 5 News. 20 February 2009. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  15. ^ Tanner, Kathe (19 February 2009). "Sanctuary is euthanizing animals to save money, ex-workers say; officials at Dancing Star shelter on north coast say actions are justified for health reasons". The Tribune (San Luis Obispo).[dead link]

External links[edit]