Development Strategist, National Shelter Outreach
Patricia (Trish) Tolbert was “that kid who brought home all the stray and injured animals,” so it’s not surprising that her professional and personal life has been focused on furry and feathered friends. Trish is currently the Development Strategist for National Shelter Outreach for Best Friends. She serves on the national shelter outreach team, which provides training, embedded staff, assessments and mentoring to municipal shelters and their 501c3 partners. Trish has served as the Executive Director of the Memphis Zoological Society, Associate Director of the Nature Conservancy’s Philanthropy Learning Center, and coach, consultant or trainer to client organizations as varied as the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, World Wildlife, Catholic Charities, Special Olympics International, the University of Massachusetts and (Australian) Trust for Nature. While most of her career has been spent in raising funds (or helping others learn fundraising skills), Trish has also served on the grant-making side of the desk, conducting site visits and grantee evaluations that enabled a private foundation client to make meaningful decisions and award over $10 million to small local nonprofits in Washington, D.C. She earned her M.A. from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and her B.A. at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. She lives near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her zoo vet tech husband and four community cats.