Neda DeMayo, president and founder of Return to Freedom, has worked for over twenty years on wild horse and burro issues with a focus on solutions, and is a recognized authority on wild horse behavior. Neda works nationally to elevate the status of America’s wild horse and burros through advocacy, education, media, programs, and events.
With a vision to create a sanctuary model to explore minimally invasive wild horse management that could be viable on the range, she founded Return to Freedom in 1997. She speaks at national press conferences, educational venues, rotary clubs, public and private venues, and she has held government contracts to remove horses on horseback to sanctuary so they would not be dispersed or slaughtered…
Neda DeMayo, Founder and President
Jack joins us with a broad background in animal rights and protection. He was Co-Director of Last Chance for Animals and now serves on its Board of Directors.
A 20-year veteran of the music industry as a singer, songwriter, record producer, and music director, Jack was first moved to action in the early 1980s when he received a mailing about animal experimentation. His love for his own dog companion inspired him to become involved in helping other animals.
Jack worked for eight years as Volunteer Coordinator and Park Manager for Tree People, for decades with a seminal Los Angeles animal rights organization in a leadership capacity, was on staff of the award-winning Animals Voice Magazine, co-directed a large domestic horse sanctuary, and currently sits on Return to Freedom’s Board of Directors.
Jack believes that because our versatility as humans has permitted us to acquire enormous power over the lives of other species, we have a solemn duty to use this power to the benefit of those with whom we share the planet.
Dr. J. Kevin Beckmen serves as Chief of Staff for the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Health System and is a prominent and active member of the local community. Kevin has four horses including two Choctaw Tribal strain horses adopted from Return to Freedom.
Respected conservationist and actor Robert Redford joined Return to Freedom in 2014. He is dedicated to Return to Freedom’s vision for a Wild Horse and Burro Conservancy and Wilderness Preserve, as well as wild horse preservation on the range.
Dr. Angela Kelly
Dr. Kelly joins us with a strong background in social justice, animal advocacy, and volunteer commitments for equine non-profits since 1989. Dr. Kelly holds a Ph.D in Human Development, a Master of Arts in organizational and non-profit management, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, among her other accolades.
A celebrated published equine photographer, Tony joins RTF’s Board of Directors with not only a deep understanding of our mission and wild horses, but expertise in ranch and business management, managing a private horse ranch with a full staff and a multi-million dollar-a-year budget for eight years in New Mexico.
Liz Hines is a certified Shorthand reporter, freelance deposition reporter and court reporter. But aside from that, Liz is an avid photographer and a dedicated volunteer for Return to Freedom!
Honorary Board Members
Co-Founder Emeritus, Honorary Board Member
Diana received her B.F.A. degree in Drama from the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts.
She has faciltated various special youth programs at the Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary since its inception.
Currently, Diana teaches acting and is head of production for the Academy of Dramatic Arts, Hollywood, California.
In Memoriam (1921-2014)
Bill began his career as a field examiner for the IRS, retiring as partner of Ernst & Young. He then became a professor at the University of New Haven, CT, where he also served as Treasurer and a Planned Giving Officer. He was honored by numerous professional associations devoted to taxation, financial management, and estate planning.
- Michele Cardela
- Pat Hines
- Signa McCormick (Events)
- Andrea Eastman
- Wendie Malick — Advocacy
- Diana DeMayo-Brown
- Carolyn Resnick, Dances With Horses
- Angelique Midthunder, Media
- David Midthunder, Native American Cultural Advisor
- Jay Kirkpatrick, Director, Science & Conservation Center
- John Fusco, Choctaw & Tribal Strains
- Casey Jones, Equine Dentist, Holistic Dentistry
- Dr. Gus Cothran, Genetics
- John Bechtold
- Natasha Lohmus, Fish & Game, Santa Barbara, CA
- Youth Ambassadors: Aly & AJ Michalka
- Elissa Kline
- Charlie Eckberg