Homeless Young Adults – Animals In Need – Sustainable Earth Stewardship

Executive Summary

Click Here to Download our 2015 Business Plan

Click Here to Download our 2015 Business Plan

Needs Assessment

Homeless Young Adults (18-24)

Animal Homelessness

Sustainable Futures


Human Wellness – Mental, Physical and Emotional

Animal Therapy

Plant Therapy

Special Skills




Board of Advisors

Board of Directors

Interagency Cooperation

Marketing & Development Plan

$3M/3 Phase Plan to Services

Phase I – Organizational Development

Phase II – Property and Program Development

Phase III – Operations Commence

Financial Plan

Fundraising Plan

Branded Income Producing Activities

Request to Share


Executive Summary

As a private nonprofit focusing on three major issues, Earth Tribe Ranch is a unique organization. Throughout the country, the number of homeless young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 is increasing at an alarming rate while the available facilities for this demographic are minimal. And while there are many animal rescue organizations, there is often a lack of, and an extreme need for, short term fostering facilities to place the rescued animals while they heal and/or while arrangements are made to re-home them. The third benefit we offer is to our Earth. By embracing a sense of responsibility for our food supply, our Residents will have daily interaction with the land. It’s the interrelationships between people, plants and animals, the essence of our human existence, we are sharing.

Earth Tribe Ranch will offer transitional housing (1-2 years) and vital community to homeless young adults in need of stability, of healing, a sense of home and family. At the same time, we will be sheltering animals that have been rescued, injured, abandoned, and neglected or simply in need of love, kindness and healing. Working together daily, both groups will be valuable Ranch Resident community members. In our effort to have conscious consideration of how to minimize our carbon footprint, we will offer education on sustainable living practices and environmental stewardship, by using alternative building methods and energy sources.

Earth Tribe Ranch will offer Residents plant and animal therapy, mental wellness programs and life skills training in these three major skills education areas:

  1. Animal Health Care, training and successful placement
  2. Sustainable Living, and Earth restoration practices such as organic gardening, natural medicine, alternative energies and green collar careers
  3. Community Life such as team participation and conscious communication

“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
Victor Hugo


We believe that it is time for organizations that will help to heal our Earth and her beautiful Tribe of people, plants and animals. Our vision for Earth Tribe Ranch is one that we believe in and we are committed to making happen.  We have given consideration to all aspects of running a large organization such as this and we are confident that we can have a positive effect in the lives of many. As more people come together to work in harmony with each other and this planet, and as we start to realize how much good we can do as a unified force, we believe that’s when we will really be able to change this world.

Needs Assessment

Homeless Young Adults (18-24)

The research about this growing demographic of homelessness is clear. More and more young people are finding themselves alone, homeless and in situations that will not benefit them or their future. At the same time, there is a recognized lack of sustainable strategies to provide specialized services and shelters for youth of this age group throughout the country. Most of the organizations that serve the homeless population cater to families, veterans and single adults with even less support for those re-entering society after having been incarcerated, or emancipated.

Research shows that we are a society where people are expected to achieve financial stability and take care of themselves at an early age. If they fail or have a slow start, and do not have family to support or shelter them, they end up on the streets. Many turn to drugs and alcohol, often ending up in the judicial system for petty crimes committed out of the necessity to survive. We hope to guide the youth who are ill equipped to deal with emancipation, or transitions from institutions and systems such as foster care, military service and prisons toward a sustainable path out of homelessness.

National data shows that in a single night in January 2012, more than 633,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. The estimated 200,000 chronically homeless have health and behavioral health problems; at least 40 percent have substance abuse issues, with 25 percent having a physical disability and 20 percent having serious mental illnesses. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides detailed information from Tuesday, October 7, 2014; when there were 10,028 homeless people accounted for in the State of Colorado (HUD’s 2014 Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Programs Homeless Populations and Subpopulations). 10% of those (1004) are in the critical developmental ages of 18-24. Local agencies report that the number of homeless women is actually a much higher number, but because many women – in particular – are not utilizing services, they are largely unaccounted for. ETR will focus our efforts on the ~350,000 (Office of the Administration for Children & Families, September 29, 2014) kids nationally who exit the Foster Care System at varying levels of life preparedness. We chose this age group in order to further prepare promising young adults with transferable life skills – they may not have garnered before “aging out” of their foster homes – for creating productive, independent lives that will help them avoid becoming sad sums in our nation’s chronic homelessness statistics.

The need for programs and facilities to assist this growing population of homeless young people is well evidenced and recognized in Colorado.  Earth Tribe Ranch is prepared to provide immediate placement of 20-24 young adults (dependent upon property and staff capcity) as a 12 to 24 month transitional housing facility.  We will offer specialized programs to assist in their personal transformation and healing while supporting them for reintegration into living a positive and meaningful, independent life. By creatively addressing the recognized need of Boulder County’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness for transitional housing – which we hope to provide for these pivotal younger homeless populations – we could reduce the need for (the also acknowledged shortage of) permanent, supported housing later. A study conducted in 2008 of the Housing First program serving Boulder County found significant community-wide benefits, including more visits to detox, with reduced police contacts and ER or clinic visits. The University of New Mexico Institute for Social Research conducted a study for the City of Albuquerque on the cost and benefits of housing the homeless echoing these findings. The results of the study demonstrate that one-year after being housed, study group member costs were $615,920.49 or 31.6 percent less than costs incurred the previous year the 48 subjects were not in the Heading Home Initiative program. This amounted to an average savings of $12,831.68 per homeless individual in the study (or a potential annual savings of $307,960.25 to Boulder County for 24 full beds on the Ranch).

Animal Homelessness

The information we have gathered regarding the need for animal shelters in Colorado is the same among the rescue organizations in each city around the country: With an estimated six to eight million domestic animals (Humane Society Us Shelter & Adoption Estimates 2012-3) entering shelters each year, there are not enough facilities, shelters or foster homes available to house all the animals that are rescued or relinquished each year, causing nearly three million to be euthanized annually.  With nearly a third of all shelter dogs being reclaimed by their original owners, Earth Tribe Ranch will be able to handle short term pet displacements as well as the overflow of animals from the many rescue organizations throughout the state (when there is space available on our allocated acreage). We will also be able to assist in the sheltering of farm and large game animals.

Sustainable Futures

There are many issues concerning the environment that need humanity’s attention.  We feel there is need for teaching more conscious consumption; where preservation, reducing, reusing and recycling are ways of life.

Most of the world has banned Genetically Modified Organisms in their food supply. Currently there is a growing movement to label our food in this country so that we, as consumers, are aware of genetically modified ingredients.  As more people become aware of the dangers of GMO foods combined with a processed, nutrient deficient diet, the demand for organic foods and locally sourced products increases.

Earth Tribe Ranch seeks to educate on sustainability but also to model a sustainable life. At least 3.2 acres will be planted to increase organic production 1% towards the overall goal of 20% Organic by 2020 (3200 acres) outlined in Boulder County’s Envision 2020 Strategic Plan. Widespread community support for this local organic production acreage is evidenced by groups like GMO Free Boulder and Organic 2020.


The programs at ETR will be tailored to each Resident, however there will be programs continuously offering constant opportunity for learning, growth and change. We will offer education and vocational skills training in many areas that can be expanded upon once a Resident completes their live-in experience at the Ranch.

By applying an innovative mind/body/spirit wellness program for a specific at-risk young adult population we can circumvent future need for permanent supported housing in a key (and very capable) population. To ground into a holistic routine, every human Resident “digs dirt and pets fur” daily on their path to personal sustainability with peer, plant and animal therapies.

Human Wellness – Mental, Physical and Emotional

Each incoming Resident will be assessed and cocreate a Wellness Program specifically structured for them. During their time at ETR, they will participate in all aspects of the Ranch and community life while receiving education paired with one-on-one support and guidance tailored to their needs and monitored by a licensed professional. Programs geared specifically for mental and emotional wellness are intrinsic to life on the Ranch where Residents are exposed to personal growth techniques from every conceivable angle.

Our Wellness Director is a qualified Herbalist and fitness instructor who will offer education on plant medicine and natural, earth friendly products. Growing medicinal herbs, such as Lavender, Feverfew and Echinacea, Residents will learn how to make natural, plant-based products such as healing balms, soaps, salves, toothpaste and more. They will also have opportunities to participate in fitness activities taking place on the Ranch regularly such as yoga, tai chi, taekwondo, dance and movement as well as seated meditation.

Earth Tribe Media will publish a newsletter and inform local papers to let the surrounding areas know about the animals we have available for adoption as well as all other programs taking place at the Ranch. We also intend to video document our journey, the progress of our Residents and the general happenings on the Ranch for our YouTube channel. The Residents will participate in and manage the newsletter and social media channels as well as help to produce special programs, workshops and events with art design and publicity. The special programs will be developed to engage the community in the activities at the Ranch and will include sustainability workshops, garden growing events, pet training and wellness education programs.

  • Using Hero’s Journey workshops to re-script personal narratives
  • Fred Hanna’s Precursor Model method to invoke desires for change
  • Writing workshops, creative art projects, music and dance
  • Personal growth speakers and teachers
  • Daily and weekly fitness and meditation programs
  • Education on nutrition, healthy eating and making positive choices

Animal Assisted Therapy

Our research has found many documented cases heralding Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and its positive effect on rehabilitation and healing trauma, so working with animals is an important part of each Resident’s participation on the Ranch. Loyola University noted improved mood and sociability suggesting pets can decrease the need for prescription medications addressing common ails of the homeless; anxiety, stress and depression. In one study on the effect of dogs with patients, psychologists noted an 82% reduction in symptoms. One particular case noted that interacting with the dog for as little as one week, enabled a patient to decrease the amount of anxiety and sleep medications by half (Elements Behavioral Health). Each Resident will spend time with the animal residents under the guidance of a qualified animal care staff member. They will be educated on how to feed, groom, nurture and care for the animals and their living space while also preparing them for adoption. Their interactions with each other can offer time for mutual healing. Our Residents will be front line in the adoptions administration and marketing process.

  • Hands on animal-assisted therapy
  • Facilitating animal care and wellness
  • Producing earth friendly pet care products
  • Assisting in the adoption process

Horticulture Therapy

The next important aspect of the Ranch is the organic garden/greenhouse and sustainable curriculum. Residents will learn about – and participate in their own – food security as well as sustainable living practices. Food grown on the Ranch will be prepared by the Residents under the daily direction of a Nutrition Director who also educates on food preparation and preservation with the Sustainability Director. Excess food from the Ranch will be collected by the Residents and taken to the local agencies that offer and prepare meals. A percentage will also be allocated to local markets and restaurants as a tool to promote the Ranch (while creating a distribution and income stream to learn from, as well as benefit the ETR operating budget.

  • Education on sustainability, growing, preparing and preserving organic foods
  • Education on medicinal plants and herbs, their uses and how to grow them
  • Making plant-based natural products for use on the Ranch and eventual revenue
  • Participation in “sales & marketing” of our branded natural products
  • Distributing produce to local restaurants providing locally sourced, organic meals

Special Skills

In addition to the interpersonal life skills that naturally come from living in a cooperative community, we’ve identified several areas for transferable knowledge that could provide less obvious career inspiration.

  • Education in media arts through ETR’s newsletter, social media promotion and video production
  • Teamwork, resilience, cooperation, service and conscious communication
  • Education in organic gardening, sustainable daily living, building and renewable energy


In addition to the ongoing programs at the Ranch, the Residents will participate in the creation and implementation of outreach programs that will benefit the local homeless community. We will work with other like minded local organizations toward mutual support and benefit (such as ALLY Youth Services, Attention Homes, Inn Between, OUR Center and Peg Rider Foundation).

  • Working with like minded organizations, helping others in need through Service Advocacy
  • Sharing personal stories and becoming a mentor
  • Sponsored events, both on and off Ranch

All Residents will have the opportunity to participate in countless experiences that will enhance their knowledge, confidence and personal well being. Every day, just talking with those who support and encourage will provide myriad opportunities for reflection, connection and change. We are continually inspired with new ideas for programs that can be implemented, and in time become part of the ETR vision. Please share yours!

We believe that we are all teachers and students alike, so it’s important to us that all Residents are given the opportunity and context to express themselves, their thoughts and ideas. As a community that works together for the benefit of all, we encourage suggestions that may bring us all closer to that goal.



Earth Tribe Ranch is a Colorado Non Profit organized according to IRS Code 501(c)(3). As a private nonprofit organization with a focus on three major issues, Earth Tribe Ranch is a unique organization. Throughout the country, the number of homeless young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 is increasing at an alarming rate while appropriate available facilities for this demographic are minimal. And while there are many animal rescue organizations, there is often a lack of, and an extreme need for, short term fostering facilities to place the rescued animals while they heal and/or while arrangements are made to re-home them. The third benefit we offer is to our Earth. By embracing a sense of responsibility for their own food supply, our Residents will have daily interaction with the land. It’s the interrelationships between people, plants and animals, the essence of our human existence, we are intent on sharing.


Board of Advisors

Our Advisory Board is comprised of valuable community members who will guide us in implementing specialized programs and systems in place for each area of Earth Tribe Ranch. Our current members include:

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is made up of three to nine Director level members of our Operations Team. For further information, please see our Team Bios.

  • Danielle Smit – Executive Director (President)
  • Simone Gerhard – Operations Director (Treasurer)
  • James Gerhard, BSIT – Facilities Director

Operations Team

Executive Director – Responsible for working with all other Directors to fulfill the vision and mission statement of the organization as well as maintaining interagency relationships with like minded organizations.

Development Director – Responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan for fundraising.

Sustainability Director – Responsible for development of sustainable agricultural programs.

Facilities Director – Responsible for the overall ETR facility.  Will assist in the building of the Ranch, the facilities communication system and daily running of the community grounds.

Programs Director – Responsible for developing special programs and tools for assessment and application.

Finance Director – Responsible for maintaining financial records, payroll, and agency reporting.

Operations Director – Responsible for maintaining the schedules for the Residents and for the facilities. Generally makes sure that all areas of the Ranch are stocked with what’s needed for running properly.

Administrative Assistant – Will assist the Operations Director in the daily activities.

Nutrition Director – Mentors Residents on nutrition, food preparation and preservation. Kitchen chef.

Clinical Director – This licensed therapist is responsible for Resident case management in accordance with Boulder County Continuum of Care agency guidelines.  They will help in the assessment and development of individual wellness programs and will oversee onsite clinicians to ensure that all wellness programs are being implemented and monitored for success.

Therapists – Will work directly with the Residents and assist them throughout their time on the Ranch.  They will help our Residents to reach their personal goals and assist in the implementation and monitoring of individual wellness programs.

Wellness Director – Responsible for maintaining daily and weekly physical wellness programs.  Will coordinate with other fitness providers to offer classes and workshops in health and wellness to our Residents.  Our Wellness Director is also a certified herbalist and will offer instruction and guidance in the creation of our line of plant-based natural care products.

Marketing & Media Director – Traffic control for all the media projects and event production.

Animal Adoptions Administrator – Management of the animal wellness facility and adoption process.

Interagency Cooperation

Utilizing multi-agency networks – like those modeled by Boulder County Impact – and Resident vetting processes, openings and nominations to become a Ranch Resident will surface for eligible clients through interagency communication (with partners like Attention Homes, ALLY Youth Services, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, Bridge House and Inn Between, to name a few). ETR intends to directly extend interagency cooperation and support by supplying satellite offices with administrative assistance for both PRF and ALLY non-profit agencies within the Ranch administration structure to directly relate with recent placements.

Tracy Halward’s pioneering efforts with Foodshed Productions, Second Start Community Garden and Front Range Foodshed Initiative virtually ensures ETR’s organic garden surplus will help feed Boulder County through established channels like Community Food Share and OUR Center.

Peg Rider Foundation (PRF) is contracted to provide program services for the Ranch. PRF Director, Tim Stoakes – also a Director on ETR’s Board – is leading the criteria protocols development. This precursor model method and evidence based implementation includes providing the Resident with the support of other agencies and the benefits they can offer upon entry and exit of the Ranch. Part of each Resident’s journey will involve distributive leadership for community investment, such as volunteering and mentoring, opportunity for greener, entrepreneurial roles in our community to build social support and morale.

Existing and Intended Community Partners

Affordable Boulder AllianceAfrican Research & Exchange AcademyALLY Youth ServicesAttention HomesBlueprints for Healthy Youth DevelopmentBoulder County Re-entry CouncilBoulder County IMPACT

Boulder County Open Space

Boulder County Worthy Cause

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless

Bridge House

Center for Consciousness EducationColorado Implementation CollaborativeCommunity Food ShareEverybody EatsFoodshed ProductionsFront Range Food Shed InitiativeGMO Free Boulder

Growing Gardens

Happy Tails

Inn Between

Local Food Shift

Longmont Community Foundation

OUR CenterPeg Rider FoundationProject ReachRekindle ConsultingSanta Fe Animal Shelter/HSSecond Start Community GardenSister Carmen

Startup Longmont Entrepreneurial Fund

Sustainable Revolution Longmont


Transition Colorado

Trees Water People

Marketing & Development Plan

$3,000,000/3 Phase Plan to Services

Phase I – Organizational Development

Earth Tribe Ranch began in early 2014 with a preliminary website built at EarthTribeRanch.Org in March, followed by Articles of Incorporation being filed in June. Funds required for filing Form 1023 were successfully crowd sourced by the ED on Go Fund Me.

Our IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter arrived in January 2015. This milestone allowed for San Diego based CrowdForce to donate a tax deductible $1800 and our DD to write our first successful grant request of the Doris Goodwin Walbridge Foundation (Santa Fe, NM), igniting our recent quantum breakthroughs connecting the various stakeholders.

This grant of $5,000 was received in April followed by another grant of $500 from Verdes Foundation (Albuquerque, NM) in May. Also in May, ETR joined the Colorado Nonprofit Association.

Organizational Development (2014) $50,000 Completed?
File 501(c)(3) Articles of Incorporation (6/27/14) $1000 Yes
IRS Exempt Status (Effective 6/27/14) EIN: 47-1207364 $1000 Yes
Banking: Wells Fargo RT: 107002192 ACCOUNT: 5155365082 Yes
Organization Development Team: Smit, Pence, Browning $30,000 Yes
Needs Assessment/SWOT Analysis/Business Plan $3,000 Yes
Board of Directors and Advisory Board Development $2,000 In-Process
Branding $3,000 In-Process
Marketing (Initial IndieGoGo Campaign) $10,000 In-Process

Phase II – Property and Program Development

With the assistance of a successful request for funds from Boulder County’s Worthy Cause Tax pool and matching private donations, we anticipate ranch property purchase and initial facility development to begin by February 2016. Already in development are the Resident entry assessment criteria and other identified program or design preliminaries.

Property and Services Development (2015) $1,450,000 Funded?
Acquire Property (Down and Closing Costs) $320,000 No
Sustainable Architect $60,000 No
Facility Plan $40,000 No
Construction $700,000 No
Program Development $40,000 No
Equipment & Vehicle Purchases $60,000 No
Marketing $30,000 No
Salaries $200,000 No


Phase III – Operations Commence

With all matters moving in flow, we hope to begin accepting every kind of Resident – to begin these special peer, plant and animal therapies – within a year, near late spring or summer 2016.

Annual Operations (beginning in Summer 2016) $1,500,000 Funded?
Salaries $830,000 No
Property Insurance, Taxes & Maintenance $15,000 No
Equipment $25,000 No
Mortgages $80,000 No
Facility Supplies $430,000 No
Special Projects $40,000 No
Special Programs $40,000 No
Marketing $40,000 No

Fundraising Plan

ETR will employ a strategically staged plan that includes:

  • Individual Requests
  • Grant writing
  • Charitable networking
  • United Way
  • Fundraising events
  • Crowdfunding
  • Youth, homeless and animal foundations
  • Direct Mail
  • Working with Tax and Estate Planners

Our intention is to first solicit individuals and known contacts within like-minded organizations and foundations. Simultaneously, we began our second crowdsource initiative on May 1st on IndieGoGo. In conjunction with Peg Rider Foundation and ALLY Youth Services, we are making a capital funding request of Boulder County Worthy Cause pool of funds in an effort to secure adequate property for a 30+ acre development to directly address the stated goals. From their 2015 Mid Year Allocation information;

“In the 2014 and 2015 WC pool funding application cycles, the Boulder County Commissioners specifically identified the need for permanently affordable supported housing to address homelessness as a high priority. Few new projects were proposed that directly addressed this need. Through this WC funding [2015 Mid-Year]the BOCC would like to encourage innovative, creative approaches to address the unmet need for permanently supported housing. Model programs and demonstration projects that are potentially replicable are preferred.

This autumn we begin our local foundation campaign in Colorado with the following identified Foundations:

Animal Assistance Foundation – LakewoodAnschutz Family Foundation – DenverThe Anschutz Foundation – DenverArmstrong – DenverAvenir – LakewoodBall – BroomfieldBoedecker – Boulder

Boettcher – Denver

Bohemian – Ft. Collins

Bonfils-Stanton – Denver

Bowana – Boulder

Brown – Boulder

Buell, Temple Hoyne – Denver

Chambers Family – Denver

Colorado Trust – Denver

Considine Family – Denver

Crowell Trust – Colorado Springs

Daniels Fund – Denver

Lucy Davis – Denver

Dornick – Woody Creek

El Pomar – Colorado Springs

Fox – DenverFries – EnglewoodFullerton – AspenGalena – DenverGates – DenverGeneral Service – AspenGill – Denver

Harvey – Denver

Hewitt – Denver

Higbie – Denver

Hunter – Glendale

JFM – Denver

Kane – Colorado Springs

Lane – Colorado Springs

Leptas – Littleton

Low Income Family Enrichment – Aspen

Maffei – Denver

Malone – Englewood

Marquez – Denver

Mol – Highlands Ranch

Monfort – Eaton

Nagel – DenverNorwood – Manitou SpringsOttens – RidgewayPeierls – GoldenPioneer – DenverPiton – DenverPonzio – Evergreen

Precourt – Edwards

Price – Louisville

Ricketts – Denver

Sachs – Colorado Springs

Seay – Colorado Springs

Shaw – Colorado Springs

Sprout – Denver

Staley – Avon

Stuart – Longmont

Sturm – Denver

TYL – Littleton

Willett – Denver

Winslow – Louisville

Woods – Denver

Each Colorado charitable foundation listed has promoted a mission in alignment with ours. By way of introduction, each of these foundations will receive our autumn 2015 local appeal campaign introducing ETR’s organization, mission and partners by way of our Letter Of Introduction.

This is followed with a phone call of introduction, confirming proper receipt of LOI and completing the Foundation’s basic information: preferred operating policies, grant making calendar, point of contact, etc.

IF this goes well with Director level conversations indicating advancement, THEN,

Our Letter Of Inquiry – in summary or including desired detail – will be sent to introduce the project and show where their specific help is ready to be applied. Once further talks are warranted, ETR will make appointments for individual Foundation site visits to further augment these relationships.

Branded Income Producing Activities

  • Animal Adoptions
  • Curriculum and Program Development
  • Kennel and Boarding Services
  • Ongoing Grant Writing and Private Fundraising
  • Producing Plant Based Natural Wellness Products
  • Wellness Education Workshops and Events

Aside from the regular and ongoing fundraising, including grant writing, Earth Tribe Ranch will first offer immediate adoptions of placeable animals that arrive as well as workshops documenting the sustainable construction of our facilities. Every planting season we intend to plant excess crops to add produce to the surrounding locavore community markets and restaurants for both revenue and awareness. From our greenhouses, we will grow organic herbs, creating a division developing products for ETR’s wellness brand, Earth Tribe Herbals. Each of these activities will require design work, marketing and production – another area where the Residents will participate, gaining real-world experience and fees for Earth Tribe Media productions. As we expand there will opportunities for employment positions throughout ETR subsidiaries.

All of ETR’s for-profit enterprises will provide the dual function of income for the Ranch and paying jobs for Residents. Expansion plans for the wellness brand sprung from the garden include; summer youth camps, a cafe, an herbal apothecary, a full salve and tincture line. The Ranch also aims to be a stage for sustainable lifestyle demonstrations, even during construction, so it is our intention to offer regular educational workshops and event programming to the public at reasonable ticket prices.

Request to Share

We believe that it is time for organizations that will help to heal our Earth and her beautiful Tribe of people, plants and animals. After having given careful consideration to all aspects of running a large organization such as this, our vision for Earth Tribe Ranch is one that we believe in and we are committed to making happen.  We are confident that we can have a positive effective in the lives of many as people come together to work in harmony with each other and this planet. Once we start to realize how much good we can do as a unified force, we believe that’s when we will really be able to change this world. Please share with your tribe!

We have been fortunate to organically assemble a core Operations team with a vast array of personal and professional talent in the required disciplines. Our Advisory Board is absolutely stellar, please click through the links for further information.


Fred J. Hanna, PhD
Education Advisor

Fred J. Hanna, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Applied Psychology and Counselor Education at the University of Northern Colorado. He also serves as a Faculty Associate at Johns Hopkins University where he was a Professor for 11 years. In addition to many years of therapy practice, he has delivered hundreds of training seminars and consultations to mental health professionals, community agencies, school systems, and various organizations across America, and his teaching and training methods and delivery are highly praised.

His research interests have focused on developing the Precursors Model of Change, which is a powerful model of positive growth. Fred has also developed and published many innovative techniques aimed at positive change for addicted clients, suicidal clients, difficult adolescents, victims of oppression, anger, and criminal personalities. An accomplished world traveler, Fred has developed additional therapeutic techniques in the areas of culture and spirituality, and has studied, taught, and incorporated Asian techniques such as Yoga and Buddhist mindfulness for over 40 years. He is the author of the book, Therapy with Difficult Clients: Using the Precursors Model to Awaken Change, published by the American Psychological Association. Fred’s Precursors Model is also the subject of a recently released DVD, also published by the APA.

Matthew Rooney, MVS, DVM DACV
Veterinary Care Advisor

Born in a small town in upstate New York, Dr. Rooney remained in the east and graduated in 1990 from Boston College with degrees in English Literature and Sociology. He moved to Colorado soon thereafter to attend veterinary school at Colorado State University (CSU).

Prior to becoming a surgeon, he worked extensively in wildlife conservation medicine where he researched Mountain Gorillas in Africa and parrots in Central America. He also worked at numerous zoos across the country. He completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. He was then selected to return to CSU for a three-year residency and Master’s degree in small animal surgery where he was awarded “Resident of the Year” for two of his three years there. After becoming board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Dr. Rooney completed further advanced training in the fellowship of small animal orthopedic surgery at CSU. He then was asked to stay on as a faculty member at the CSU veterinary school where he enjoyed his role as an associate professor to veterinary students, interns, and surgical residents. He continued his instructional endeavors by traveling across the United States and abroad to teach arthroscopy to other veterinarians. Dr. Rooney has been the proud owner of Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists since 2004.

Dr. Rooney has published numerous book chapters and research articles and has continued to lecture locally and nationally. His past research has been on thoracic surgical procedures, cranial cruciate ligament rupture, and Achilles mechanism repair techniques. His current research is in arthroscopic treatment of shoulder, elbow, and stifle, as well as total hip replacements and Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV). He enjoys all aspects of surgery with special interests in non-invasive surgery (laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, and arthroscopy), orthopedics (both trauma and joint surgery), neurological surgery, and abdominal/chest surgery. He is very experienced in arthroscopy, stifle disease treatments, total hip replacements, chest surgery, and abdominal surgeries.

Dr. Rooney was selected to be on the board for the international organization, Veterinary Orthopedic Society. He is a founding member of the Canine Shoulder Society and Canine Arthroscopy Society. In 2006, he was recognized as one of the “Outstanding Veterinarians in the Greater Denver area.” He was selected as the 2007 recipient of “The Humane Society of Boulder Valley Friendship Award” and is on the board of the Longmont Humane Society.

Renee de Alba, MA, CACIII
Clinical Advisor

Renee was raised in Westport, Connecticut but left there in her early 20’s. She moved with her new husband to Denver but fell in love with the mountains behind Boulder where she lived for most of the rest of her life. She obtained a job as an Account Executive shortly after arriving with a 4A agency and enjoyed trading barbs with Clive Cussler of Raise The Titanic fame, who was her copy writer before he became famous. She then went to college and graduate school at the University of Colorado majoring in psychology. She and her husband opened Insight Consultants, a marketing research company which successfully answered questions for 20 years about new product development and customer satisfaction for some of Colorado’s Fortune 500 companies.

A fluke volunteer request lead her to spend ten years working at the Boulder County Jail as a therapist and in program development. She next worked at a psychiatric hospital in their Intensive Outpatient Program as a therapist dealing with professional people with addictions. A serious wanderlust lead her to the position of Clinical Supervisor of a residential treatment center in Samara, Costa Rica. Bliss ended with a case of serious sciatica and she returned to the U.S.

Today she is again Clinical Supervisor to an addiction recovery program located in the foothills of Monument, CO. The approach focuses on body, mind, spirit and her work is involved with resolving serious issues around trauma. Her clients describe her as “earth mother” which captures her love of nature, animals and people (in no particular order).

Michael Johnson, CEM, CDSM
Restorative Justice and Energy Advisor

Michael Johnson, the founder and Nature-Connected Coach of Balanced Earth Creative, empowers people to discover their strength, joy, and productivity in life. Along the way, people will increase their self-acceptance and find balance by including fun as a component of their regular schedule. He is certified in Wilderness Therapy and Transformational Guiding and has a lifetime of experience to draw upon, including his own path. His personal experience allows him to relate to the challenges people face and guide them through their own healing process.

Michael has over 25 years’ experience in the energy industry with broad experiences gained through roles within a utility environment, as an independent consultant, and a third-party evaluator of energy efficiency programs. He is a Certified Energy Manager and has a good understanding of a variety of end-use technologies. His relevant experience includes: strategic planning experience resulting in the development of new, innovative product development and program offerings for Demand Side Management strategies, extensive program design/management experience for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, and overseeing operations of large commercial and industrial programs as well as niche efforts targeting non-traditional end uses.

Tiffany Bisconer, CPA
Financial Advisor

Tiffany is a bursting-hearted lover of all things passionate and is quite intent on squeezing the most out of her life’s potential. Tiffany has held a lifetime passion and involvement in the arts while simultaneously feeding her exceptionally hungry brain by becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Tiffany has over 15 years of experience in the field of accounting and is the Founder and President of Bisconer Accounting. She has served as the active CFO and Controller for a nationwide property management corporation, was the Controller for a nationwide construction management company, the Controller and Operational Manager of an entertainment production company, the Treasurer for a non-profit organization, the Advisor and Head Accountant for numerous arts based organizations and has run the start-up of businesses both on-site and remotely. Currently, Tiffany is working with one of the top 10 CPA and Consulting Firms in the nation. She is focusing her efforts within the nonprofit sector that provides assurance and consulting services to more than 5,900 governmental and nonprofit organizations nationwide including foundations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.

Tiffany holds a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Financial Management, a Master’s Degree in Psychology, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts and Anthropology. Her desire to give back to the community, and humanity as a whole, has manifested in many ways, but has always been a driving force in her path of life. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area offered her many opportunities to work closely with nonprofit organizations in all stages of development to help bring success and growth to the unique mission of each organization she was able to be a part of.  She has worked with individuals, corporations, LLC’s, partnerships, and nonprofit entities to create a strong foundation of financial planning, organization and reporting to maintain the highest level of integrity. Tiffany believes that turning a dream into a reality simply takes an organized infrastructure to build upon and the passion to drive it forward!

Andre Khoury, MD, PA-C
Wellness Advisor

Andre was raised in a medical family in Los Angeles, CA. Finishing his pre-medical studies at the prestigious Loma Linda University, he graduated with his Medical Degree from Ross University, School of Medicine. Dr. Khoury now assists medical clinics in organizing their business structures by creating protocols. In addition to helping them promote and market their medical businesses, Andre also practices as a Physician Assistant and holds PA-C licenses in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Florida. He is the President of Salud Care Management Services, a clinic that offers medical services to low-income families in the greater Los Angeles area. Andre has had a passion for helping people for as long as he can remember and has used this passion to build many successful business ventures.

As the owner and CEO of a start-up entertainment/fitness company, he focused in on a niche market and grew the company to a position of international notoriety through audio and video production, clothing design, website management, international touring and affiliated services. Dr. Khoury’s uncompromising integrity, perseverance, customer-focused business approach, and innate desire to establish a base of quality, drove his company to being number one. Through his dedication and efforts he set a standard that was then emulated within the industry.

Before joining ETR, Andre Khoury was an active board member of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on Autism. He also owned and operated a Martial Arts/Self-Defense studio in Northern California and dedicated his time to instilling the values of discipline, respect and honor in his dedicated student base. Andre’s hobbies are extensive. Some of his personal accomplishments include being a three-time Ironman Triathlon competitor and obtaining a 2nd degree black belt in Okinawa-Te.

Brianna Lisignoli
Wellness Advisor

Briana Lisignoli is an herbalist and a yoga teacher. Healing and plant medicine have always been a part of her life. Her parents taught her to embrace nature and a love of plants started at a very young age. She grew up in Santa Fe, NM near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where hiking was a regular ritual for her family. Her love of crystals and gems started early leading her to a whole new world of healing, opening her young eyes to a world of plant medicine, Reiki, massage, iridology, acupressure, herbal tincture and ritual healing ceremonies.

In 2003 Briana volunteered to go to Mozambique Africa with a nonprofit organization called Humana People to People. After, Briana started a personal quest of healing which brought her to a yoga studio in Albuquerque where she studied and also started working and dedicated her time to teaching classes, canvassing by handing out flyers, doing intake evaluations to name a few of the day to day responsibility. This style of yoga was from the classical period, originating in Korea. Holding postures for longer periods of time than usual styles of yoga was part of her training and taught her personal discipline. She learned so much about cellular trauma and learned about healing the layers of the mind, body and spirit.

In 2008 Briana started working for the Herb Store in Nob Hill, and quickly became the manager. In 2009 she started the Foundations in Herbal Medicine, studying with Bert Norgorden and Bernadette Torrez and attending video lectures from Terona Lowdog. Learning plant identification and medicine making was foundational in her training.

Two years ago Briana’s life took a beautiful, more personal turn as she gave birth to a delightful baby girl. Being a mom has become her priority, so she currently works fewer hours at the Herb Store (as an herbalist). Her daughter has been known to line her dolls along the wall and teach them how to do downward dog. Most importantly, through devotion and practice she is instilling a life of health and personal perspective for herself and beautiful child to grow into a strong happy adult.



Board of Directors

Danielle Smit
Executive Director

Danielle Smit is a passionate visionary.  Her desire and ability to connect with young people blended with her love for animals and the planet are what inspired her to take action on a dream.  With over ten years experience as a professional legal secretary and judicial assistant to a Superior Court judge, Danielle became well versed in legal processes that involved at risk children and youth.  This early training created an acute awareness of a wide variety of problems these young people face such as unstable home life, nutritional deficiencies, mental and behavioral issues, and foster care challenges.

As a lifelong animal advocate, Danielle has personally fostered, rescued, and re-homed over a dozen dogs.  Prospective new owners were carefully selected and interviewed to determine compatibility. Each situation was followed closely to ensure a successful placement.  Danielle continues to support rescue and adoption programs by collecting blankets and pillows every year for local shelters.  Her love for the environment was clearly evident when she initiated and managed Reduce – Reuse – Recycle programs in several workplaces and construction settings.

For the past eight years, Danielle has worked as an Assistant Project Manager for a commercial contractor. She has over seven years experience in small business operations management and  accounting.

Danielle’s biggest joy and inspiration is her seventeen-year-old daughter, Olivia, upon whom she impresses the importance of compassion, generosity and kindness daily.


James Gerhard, BSIT
Facilities Director

James holds a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology with a minor in Electronic Circuit Design.  In 2013, with 24 years experience operating science instruments aboard planetary spacecraft, James received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his outstanding work on the Cassini spacecraft during Prime and Proximal Missions. He currently manages a team of science instrument specialists working on robotic instruments orbiting Saturn as well as the Instrument Operations clean room laboratory.  At work James is considered the computer expert for PC, Mac and UNIX systems including networks and wireless technology.  He was also chosen by professional peers to mentor early career people (fresh outs), helping them find their personal niche.

James has a passion for solar and battery technology with extensive knowledge in anything automotive or mechanical, having virtually built his own home. He spent 2 years as an automotive mechanic, 4 years as an electronic technician, 5 years as a electronic circuit designer, and 3 years as a project engineer for police and fire dispatch communication console systems (also a licensed Ham radio operator, call sign KK6QJG).  He is proficient in all construction trades with considerable experience in the inner workings of city codes and permitting. Having helped raise a foster child, James knows the foster care system well, loves animals and spent his entire life with dogs and/or cats.


Simone Gerhard
Operations Director

Simone is a licensed Property & Casualty insurance broker for over 13 years and caters to clients in a very small aspect of the insurance industry called Surety. Surety is a high-paced, demanding industry with daily deadlines. She has great communication skills and computer skills, is efficient with time management and is extremely organized.  She has managed many projects and streamlined new accounts so that her clients can get what they need quickly and easily. A notary public, Simone is also a list maker, proficient in QuickBooks, Excel, and Word. She lives in a small town with her husband of 21 years as the proud mother of a 20 year old daughter.

Simone has had a great desire to be of service and to somehow make a difference in any small way for humanity and the planet.  She has always felt connected to young people feeling that she particularly has a way with growing teens. Simone has firsthand experience with the Foster Care System after she became a foster parent to one of her daughter’s friends who was showing signs of abuse.  She felt the need to help the young girl and did!  When it was discovered that the girl was indeed being neglected and abused, the girl was taken from her home and put into a foster home.  Simone immediately began the process of becoming a foster parent and within a week the young girl was placed in her care. She has a great love for animals and has always dreamed of someday living in an environment where she could merge the best of both worlds – kids and animals.


Full Facilities

The following is a list of the intended structures and facilities, as well as their use. All structures will be sustainably designed, built and showcased as community models both during and after construction.

Main Offices – This will be a building that houses offices for key members as well as a conference room.  This building will have single occupancy restrooms with a toilet and sink only.

Men’s Resident Housing – Open concept men’s housing for 10 men comfortably with potential to expand.

Women’s Resident Housing – Open concept women’s housing for 10 women comfortably with potential to expand.

Shower Facilities – The Ranch’s main bathroom is a split building with men on one side and women on the other.  There will be 6-10 toilets/urinals, sinks, showers, bathtub a changing area with lockers and benches.  Accessible from both locker rooms, a central unisex area will encase hot mud, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room with three showers.

Community Room – Big enough for staff and all on-site Residents.  This room will be used for our Resident programs and workshops, community gatherings, education, music, exercise, art projects and more.  This room will have writeable walls.

Great Hall – A larger space to allow for surrounding community participation in Ranch events and activities.

Outdoor Gathering Arena – For outdoor workshops, activities, education, music and community.

Kitchen – This building that will have commercial kitchen appliances, large sinks, lots of counter space and some tables.  This space is for food preparation, preservation and education.

Dining Room – Large space with room for all staff and Residents to have a sit down meal.

Outdoor Kitchen – An outdoor extension of the main kitchen.  This area will allow for a large built in grill and burners and a sink.  There will be outdoor tables, chairs and a large fire pit surrounded by comfortable weather protected chairs.

Storage Buildings – There will be at least two large buildings to store all the supplies for running the Ranch (not including the animal storage building).  These spaces will be designed specifically for housing our supplies and consumables. We will also need well-designed storage for tables, chairs, holiday items, and other items used regularly, etc., preferring that storage areas built into each facility for gear specifically used there.

Laundry Facilities – A small building for our on-site Laundromat. Industrial washers and dryers with outside clothes lines. Tables and chairs.

Staff Housing – A secluded neighborhood where all of the onsite staff will live.  These cottage spaces will be efficient yet big enough for living comfortably.   These will each have an efficiency kitchen and full bathroom.

Animal Welcoming Office – This office is where new animal residents will be admitted and processed for residency.  This is also where adoption paperwork will be processed for animal Residents leaving the Ranch with new family. This office will also house short term cat kennels.

Indoor Dog Housing and Kennel – A large barn type indoor dog facility designed with loft space for dogs to get cozy in when it’s cold out.  The dogs will have easy indoor/outdoor access. There will also be dog boarding kennels in this building.

Indoor Cat House and Kennel – The cat facility will be designed with lots of cat walks and cubby holes.  There will be a large sand pit outside for the cats to use as their litter box. The cats will be in a fenced area where they can freely go outside but remain protected from other animals.

Barn Animals Facility – A barn – for those that come to the Ranch who are not domesticated – opening to an outdoor area for stables, feed troughs, frequently used gear and small equipment and supplies.

Outdoor Animal Facilities – Wooded meadows, corrals, pastures to play and enjoy life in.

Animal Storage – A building large enough to stock animal foods and needs (i.e. bedding, towels, blankets, dog beds, leashes, etc.),

Greenhouse – A large greenhouse with a section devoted to growing apothecary herbs used in the Earth Tribe Herbals product line.

Garden Storage – Contains anything and everything having to do with the garden and greenhouse.

Ranch  Equipment – Houses all Ranch equipment and tools.  See our In Kind Donations Wish List.

Chicken Coop – Where the chickens hang out at night.

In Kind Wish List

Aside from monetary donations, there are many things that we will need on the Ranch. The following is a general list of items that ETR will be grateful to receive by donation.

Please note that as an environmentally conscious organization, it is important to us that the products and goods that we use on the Ranch are natural, organic when possible, and as gentle on the environment as can be.  

GENERAL – Phase 2

  • Land or leasing opportunity
  • 15-person Van (2)
  • Truck or other transportation (Hybrid preferable, important to our mission)
  • Brand wrapped Subaru Outback or Forrester
  • Laptops and software
  • Printing services
  • Legal services
  • Environmental Architect

SPECIFIC – Phase 3

Housing Construction

  • Housing (sustainable, yurts and manufactured housing)
  • Building materials
  • Building equipment
  • Solar panels
  • Fencing material
  • Lockers
  • Manpower

Main Offices

  • Office furniture
  • Phone system
  • Computers, network hardware and software
  • Security system

Kitchen – Indoor and Outdoor

  • Appliances
  • Kitchen furniture
  • Outdoor kitchen equipment
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Cookware
  • Dishware
  • Utensils
  • Storage
  • Cleaning Supplies

Housing – Cottages

  • Building supplies, appliances
  • Furniture (beds, night stands, mirrors, artwork)
  • Household supplies

Housing – Dorms

  • Building supplies
  • Bedroom furniture (beds, night stands, mirrors, artwork)
  • Bedding
  • Linens
  • Pillows
  • Rugs
  • Lighting
  • Window coverings

Community Room

  • Tables
  • Living room furniture
  • Patio furniture
  • Rugs
  • Media systems (televisions, DVD or Blueray player)
  • Sound system


  • Building supplies
  • Tables and chairs
  • Dry erase boards and supplies
  • Laptops and/or tablets
  • School supplies (paper, pens, paper,  notebooks)
  • Projector and screen
  • Art supplies
  • Musical instruments
  • P.A. and sound equipment
  • Ceramics
  • Woodworking tools

Restroom Facilities

  • Building supplies
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Partitions
  • Restroom supplies (tooth brushes, toilet paper and other toiletries)

Showering Facilities

  • Showers
  • Sauna
  • Plumbing fixtures (steam room)
  • Jacuzzi hot tubs, pool supplies

Restroom supplies (tooth Laundry Facility

  • Commercial washers and dryers (3 each minimum)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Clothes line and pins

Garden / Greenhouse

  • Gardening equipment/tools
  • Rototiller, wheelbarrows
  • Shovels, rakes, hoses
  • Knee pads and gardening gear
  • Greenhouse building materials
  • Greenhouse designer
  • Greenhouse supplies
  • Compost
  • Organic seeds and soil

Animal Housing and Intake

  • Animal transport vehicle
  • Animal cages
  • Dog kennels
  • Dog bedding
  • Veterinary intake equipment (tables, bathtub and grooming supplies)
  • Veterinary general medical supplies
  • Leashes and collars

Dogs, Cats and Farm Animals

  • Food
  • Bowls
  • Toys
  • Grooming supplies
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Cat litter boxes and litter
  • Cat trees
  • Dog houses
  • Farm animal equipment (to be determined as animals are taken in)

Media Production

  • Cameras
  • Light Kits
  • Audio Equipment
  • Editing stations
  • Laptops
  • Printers
  • Digital storage


  • Bicycles and gear (helmets, shoes, shorts, etc.)
  • Bicycle maintenance and repair equipment
  • Cross country ski equipment
  • Snow shoes
  • Exercise equipment
  • Hiking shoes and gear
  • Climbing wall
  • Climbing gear
  • Camping gear
  • Snow sports gear
  • Fishing gear
  • Archery gear


We believe that it is time for organizations that will help to heal our Earth and her beautiful Tribe of people and animals. Earth Tribe Ranch is ready to materialize on the planet.

How can you help?

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