As the Major Gifts Officer for the Western Region, Katja Cross partners with Animal Legal Defense Fund supporters in California and twelve other western states to help protect and advance the interests of animals. Prior to joining the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Katja served as the manager of major gifts at The Unity Council, a community-based nonprofit in Oakland, CA. She has also held fundraising positions at KQED and United Way Bay Area in San Francisco.
Katja is passionate about improving the lives of nonhuman animals. She worked for the Seattle Humane Society and the East Bay SPCA and has been involved with dog rescue in the Bay Area for many years.
She holds a B.A. in History and Journalism from Mills College and an M.S. in Anthrozoology from Canisius College where she focused on the study of human-animal interactions and animal welfare/rights issues including cetacean captivity, the legal status of animals, companion animal protection, and wildlife conservation.
Katja lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and their son, plus three amazing rescue dogs: a pit bull named Finn, a terrier mix named Clover, and Nutmeg, a senior Chihuahua. Katja also has several one-eyed goldfish and an aviary for finches and doves who have been adopted from animal shelters and bird rescues. Outside of work, Katja enjoys learning about the incredible biodiversity of Northern California by exploring the East Bay regional parks with her human and canine family members and documenting her observations on iNaturalist.