The Coalition leadership team has more than 50 years’ experience in animal welfare.

Our team has decades of hands-on experience as shelter employees, rescue volunteers and kitten foster parents, and we bring this expertise with us when we educate and train others on up-to-date, proven information on how to save kitten lives – a labor of love we have committed to for more than 10 years.

We believe:

  • Neonatal, sick and other at-risk kittens should be given a chance to grow and thrive.
  • Our strong and well-researched educational programs save kitten lives and reduce euthanasia.
  • Those on the front lines at animal shelters, rescues organizations and in the veterinary community work tirelessly to save lives, and we stand with them in their efforts.
  • Together, we can save more lives!

Visit our Programs page for more information.

Rebecca Jewell: Executive Director

Rebecca began her journey in animal welfare as a volunteer at a private shelter in Ohio. In 2006, she moved to the Washington D.C. area and took a position at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, an open access facility. As a volunteer coordinator, she created a successful foster program, recruited and trained over 300 in-shelter volunteers who contributed more than 10,000 hours annually, and co-led a rescue partner transfer program. Over four years, she sent more than 1,500 animals to foster care, including many neonatal and sick kittens, who thrived thanks to the education provided to foster volunteers by Susan Spaulding and Rosemarie Crawford. Rebecca briefly joined a reduced cost, high volume spay/neuter clinic as an operations coordinator but missed working in animal sheltering and joined another D.C. area shelter as a customer service and outreach manager. In this role, she started a pet food pantry via a public/private partnership, facilitated the creation of a ‘Friends Of’ the organization nonprofit group, and established a foster program, which had a cadre of highly trained neonatal kitten care foster volunteers. Rebecca joined the National Kitten Coalition as a volunteer in 2015. She currently lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two rescued felines, one of whom is a former foster.

Rosemarie Crawford: Director of Educational Programs, Instructor and Co-founder

Rosemarie Crawford is a licensed veterinary technician who has worked in animal welfare for more than 15 years. She has experience in public and private shelters and in veterinary practices. As a medical staff member in a high-volume, open-access shelter in Illinois, Rosemarie worked closely with the shelter veterinarian to provide for the animals’ medical and surgical needs. She assisted in developing and implementing progressive, proactive protocols for the care and treatment of kittens in the shelter’s kitten nursery room as well as for those in foster care. Additionally, Rosemarie served in two shelters as the foster coordinator and understands the challenges of creating, expanding and maintaining a foster program as well as the rewards such a program can reap via the involvement of volunteers. During times of disaster, she serves as an emergency responder with several national organizations to provide rescue, shelter, veterinary care and transport for affected animals. For many years, she also served as a volunteer instructor for Humane Society University, teaching extended workshops in the United States and Canada on Emergency Animal Sheltering, Disaster Animal Response and Animal First Aid. Prior to focusing her efforts on animal welfare, Rosemarie taught high school and college English for 10 years, and her passion for teaching comes through in the workshop presentations. Currently, she also works at a large, six-doctor veterinary practice in the greater Washington D.C. area and fosters neonatal, injured or debilitated kittens for several local shelters and rescue groups.

Susan Spaulding:  Director of Neonatal Programs, Instructor and Co-founder

Growing up on a small farm, Susan has been surrounded by animals her entire life. Though she began fostering dogs in Northern California, her passion for kittens began in South Texas in 1994 when a box of 13 underage kittens was brought to the thrift shop where she volunteered for Hill Country Animal League. Upon learning that they would immediately be euthanized at the shelter, she took them home to foster and never looked back. After moving to Northern Virginia she was fostering 200-300 kittens annually; her frustration grew as she realized that even many veterinarians did not have the training or hands-on experience with these tiny babies, and most of the information available was incomplete at best. She began doing research and contacting veterinarians nationally. Today, she is known as the “kitten mom” and is widely celebrated for her expertise in caring for neonatal orphans and special needs kittens that others have given up on. Working with veterinarians, Susan has developed cutting edge protocols for successfully treating upper respiratory infections and Panleukopenia. She has advised national organizations as well as dozens of local shelters and rescue organizations on neonatal issues and received numerous awards for her work from the shelter, rescue and veterinary communities. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, six special needs cats, two dogs and a feral colony. When not caring for kittens, she loves spending time with her grandchildren and enjoys gardening, cooking, reading science fiction, playing in her crafts studio and any type of needlework.

Marnie Russ:  Director of Communications, Instructor and Co-founder

Marnie has been fostering neonatal kittens for over a decade, specializing in critical-care neonates and high-risk nursing/expectant queens. She is the Volunteer Neonatal Care Coordinator at the Washington Humane Society (in Washington, D.C.), helping to advance the neonatal foster program and teaching monthly classes on neonatal care. Recent awards received by Marnie include the Outstanding Volunteer Award from The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies in 2016 and Volunteer of the Year from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in 2015 (Arlington, VA). Marnie is a seasoned animal advocate who has previously worked for the ASPCA traveling across the country working with shelters as well as state and local governments to advance animal-welfare policy. She has also worked closely with the Humane Society of the United States and Fox Hollow Animal Project, one of the nation’s premiere spay/neuter programs. Marnie is a recognized expert on caring for at-risk kittens. She is also a Social Media Consultant at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (Arlington, VA). Her advice and expertise is sought from shelters and rescues across the country. Aside from her work in animal advocacy, Marnie is the President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Capitol Consulting. She travels annually to developing countries assisting in international spay/neuter projects to help impact the lives of street animals in underserved areas. Marnie splits her time between Arlington, VA and Missoula, MT.

Laura Baughman

Laura Baughman:  Director of Operations

After many years as a donor to various animal rescue groups, Laura decided in 2007 to become more active and volunteer at local Washington, D.C. animal shelters. Focusing on cats, she got ever more involved in helping the Washington Humane Society care for and adopt out the hundreds of cats and kittens that found their way to them. Today, she volunteers in the medical center of the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL), and fosters back-to-back litters of kittens (the total has grown to more than 125 kittens so far). She started and raises money for a WARL fund that pays for the medical care of sick kittens. Laura and her husband also organize an annual “battle of the bands” fundraiser for WARL. Laura joined the National Kitten Coalition in 2015 because, as a foster, she appreciated how little she knew about how to care for sick kittens, and respected – and craved – the expertise of the National Kitten Coalition founders after taking one of their all-day workshops. Laura contributes her organizational, data analysis and writing skills to the organization under the watchful eyes of her two rescue cats.

Jamie Nicholas

Jamie Nicholas: Director of Outreach, Instructor

Jamie has been fostering kittens for over a decade and specializes in the care of neonatal kittens (bottle babies). She began to foster after the loss of her feline friend, volunteering for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, the Washington Humane Society and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue – all organizations in the greater Washington D.C. area. Jamie has also worked as a veterinary assistant at NOVA Cat Clinic in Arlington, Virginia. She has been known to jump at the chance to help animals in need, including driving 250 miles to help four parrots and then finding them new homes (all except one who decided to stay with Jamie). Her bottle feeding expertise has even helped to save puppies without a mother. She owns Jamie Nicholas Printing & Graphics, is a longtime member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and sits on the board for Arlington Independent Media – all located in Northern Virginia. Jamie shares her home with her spouse, two dogs, three cats, an African Grey parrot, two large koi fish, a variety of goldfish and a revolving door of foster kittens and puppies.