Hannah Murray

Hannah Murray

“I think I’ve always had a strong sense of right and wrong and felt like I wanted to dedicate my time on this planet to making things better. Whatever that looks like, and wherever I can contribute my skills.” ~ Hannah Murray

Grantwriter Hannah Murray enjoys a little cuddle time with rescue cat Tomasito in her home office. Photo by Victoria de Martigny / #unboundproject / We Animals Media
When Hannah Murray was about to turn 30, she packed a backpack and booked a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires to pursue a dream she’d spent years aching to fulfill: to travel, and maybe even live, in South America. While in Argentina in May 2003, she received an email from a former colleague at the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the California-based organization working to protect the environment and human rights.

RAN wanted to give funding to grassroots activists and organizations based in Patagonia working to combat deforestation. Would she be interested in traveling there and helping them identify candidates? Murray immediately said yes. But before she started this project, she traveled back to the U.S. to pick up her 12-year-old companion cat, Peanut. Then the two of them set off for Argentina in the austral spring, traveling by plane, bus, and car across Patagonia.

“I was sent down there with a handful of names,” Murray, 48, told the Unbound Project.

“I traveled from the northern part of Patagonia and worked my way down to the southern tip of South America. I met with all the groups and then worked with them to help them present what their funding needs were to the foundations. And they all got funding!”

Two days before she was scheduled to leave South America, Murray landed in a town called Punta Arenas in the southern part of Patagonia, Chile. She was there to meet with the last contact on her list — an occupational safety manager-cum-environmental activist named Nelson Sanchez Oyarzo. He’d later become her husband.

Besides helping her find her life partner, Murray’s time in Patagonia led her to the work she does now as grant specialist. Her most recent appointment was with the Humane League, a U.S.-based NGO, where she managed a multimillion dollar grant program for the Open Wing Alliance (OWA), a coalition of groups working to end the abuse of chickens in factory farms. During her three years and three months at OWA, Murray helped about 50 animal welfare organizations receive funding that would allow them to flourish.

“I love being able to connect people with resources to people who are in need of those resources. I focus on really listening to the grantees and trying to hear what they’re communicating — what their hopes and dreams are, what they need, what would make their lives easier.”

Grantwriter Hannah Murray sits at her desk and shares some insight on the need for trust-based philanthropy as a way to increase equity for groups who have traditionally had less access to funding. Photo by Victoria de Martigny / #unboundproject / We Animals Media

A key component of Murray’s work has also been the implementation of trust-based funding principles that incorporate multiyear funding. This type of funding has helped groups receive the resources they need without jumping through unnecessary hoops or needing to undergo tedious administrative processes that can reduce time with their charitable work.

“I feel like all my experience being a grant seeker has made me more sensitive to just the power dynamic issues. Because there are power dynamics — you’ve got someone who’s sitting on the money and someone who needs money.”

Murray says she developed an interest for animal welfare back when she was about eight years old and had gone fishing with her family.

“I just remember the fish flopping around in the bucket afterwards, and I thought, ‘That suffering is not necessary,’” she said. “It was very upsetting to me and I stopped eating fish immediately. It just made me feel sick.”

Once, when she was outside of a circus, she also encountered a group of protesters who helped her “see animals in a different way, instead of just as entertainment.”

“I’ve had a decades-long career in activism and people are always like, ‘Do you really think you can change people just standing around with signs outside? And I’m like, ‘Yes, you can!’” Murray said with a laugh. “I have been changed by several signs at different points in my life.”

Being a grant specialist isn’t the only hat Murray has worn. She’s also a forestry expert with a master’s degree in forestry from Yale. She’s a skilled cook who once ran a food business in Punta Arenas, Chile, selling vegan burgers, falafel and mayo to non-vegan sheep ranchers. She’s also fluent in several languages, including Spanish and Portuguese.

“I don’t have a very linear career trajectory, but I’m OK with that,” Murray said. “I’ve just followed what I’ve been interested in.”

But whatever she’s done, Murray has made sure her work is helping nonhuman animals, the environment, or underrepresented peoples.

“I think I’ve always had a strong sense of right and wrong and felt like I wanted to dedicate my time on this planet to making things better. Whatever that looks like, and wherever I can contribute my skills.”

After spending many years in Patagonia as well as California, Murray and her husband moved to Rockland, Maine, in 2018, with their two rescue cats, Tomasito and Emily Noelia.

“It felt like Patagonia in a way,” Murray said. “Obviously, the landscapes are different but you have this rocky coast [in Maine], you have lots of forests, and you’ve got lots of areas to go hiking.”

While she and her husband feel very settled in Maine, Murray keeps a photograph of a car cruising down an unpaved road towards the Cerro Fitz Roy mountains in Argentine Patagonia — the very mountains that became the logo for outdoor clothing company Patagonia.

“I just like remembering that there’s always an open road ahead, even if you get bogged down by your work. It just reminds me that life can be anything.”


Written by Elizabeth Claire Alberts
Photographs by Victoria de Martigny

Carolina Galvani

Carolina Galvani

“…I realized I’m here for a reason, and I’m seeing these horrible things, but something will come out of it. I’m pretty sure that this will create positive change.” ~ Carolina Galvani

During her twelve years as an investigative journalist, Carolina Galvani has found herself in some disturbing situations. One challenging assignment took her into a dozen abattoirs across Belgium, where she covertly filmed cows, sheep, and goats being slaughtered while fully conscious—and often right in front of each other.

“I remember one cow really looking at me while she was waiting to be killed, and it hurt me so much before I was forced to watch her dying very slowly,” Galvani, 42, told the Unbound Project. “But this experience also brought an insight to light. I realized I’m here for a reason, and I’m seeing these horrible things, but something will come out of it. I’m pretty sure that this will create positive change.”

The footage and other evidence Galvani gathered did make a substantial impact. When the media published her reports, Belgium politicians sparked a national debate about whether animals should be slaughtered without stunning, which, as it was believed at the time, could reduce suffering and pain if done correctly. Then in 2017, the Flanders and Wallonia regions of Belgium outlawed the slaughter without stunning—a ban that continues to be upheld today.

For Galvani, being a journalist was a lifelong dream. After first studying economics in college to help her better understand the world, in 2005, Galvani received her master’s in international journalism from City University in London. Shortly after she graduated, Galvani learned about an investigative journalism agency in London seeking a Portuguese interpreter to help with an assignment. Galvani volunteered. The project, it turned out, was to go undercover in factory farms and slaughterhouses in Portugal.

“I was already vegetarian for health reasons, but it was really a shock for me because I didn’t know much about factory farming and industrial slaughter,” she said.

The experience changed her life and clarified the kind of work she wanted to do. Galvani realized that she didn’t want to work for a mainstream media outlet, but to continue using her journalism skills to help foster change in animal welfare, human rights and environmental issues.

In addition to exposing the livestock industry, Galvani has helped to investigate the controversial sale of seal fur in Greece, deforestation in Australia for the Chinese timber market, hunting endangered pink dolphins in South America, and the commercial sale of whale meat in Greenland.

“I would feel a lot of anger when I see these horrible things, but anger usually gives you a lot of energy, and you can do a lot of things when you feel anger if you know how to manage it,” she said.

The investigations Galvani helped conduct have been published by leading media outlets such as the New York Times, the BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4 and Le Monde. Yet Galvani says that she doesn’t measure her success by the amount of media attention her work receives —she measures it by the policy change it can galvanize. Besides the changes enforced in Belgian slaughterhouses, Galvani says that her reporting helped prevent the raising of a whaling quota in Greenland and contributed to a ban on the sale of piracatinga, an omnivorous species of catfish in Brazil, which is often caught with illegally procured meat from endangered pink dolphins.

Then in 2017, Galvani took her love for animals a step further by founding Sinergia Animal, an NGO dedicated to reducing animal suffering in countries in the Global South, such as Argentina, Colombia, Thailand, and Indonesia. One of the organization’s main programs is convincing large corporations to phase out caged egg farming and other cruel agricultural practices. She said that about sixty businesses have already made cage-free commitments in these regions, including McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, and Unilever. Sinergia also conducts investigations, works to defund the livestock sector, and runs vegan challenges.

The success of Sinergia’s campaigns led the NGO Animal Charity Evaluators to nominate Singeria as a standout charity for four years in a row. The NGO also estimated that Sinergia was positively impacting 1.7 million animals each year through its work.

“You can potentially affect millions of animals, so I always felt very rewarded to do this type of work,” she said. “Because for me, like I said before, what matters is to create effective change.”

Galvani works tirelessly for animals, but she also understands the importance of taking care of her mental and physical health. She enjoys hiking, meditating, spending time with her four rescue dogs, and visiting her three rescued pigs who live on her family’s farm.

“I have seen so much destruction,” she said, “so I try to have beautiful things in my life. I think beauty is very important.”

Written by Elizabeth Claire Alberts
Photographs by Francesco Pistilli