Episode 26: Dr. Gretchen Foskett on Starting and Growing a Nonprofit

October 10, 2019

by: Sheela Nimishakavi

What do you do when your patients can’t afford the diagnostic tests they need and insurance won’t pay? You start a nonprofit, of course!

Dr. Gretchen Foskett is part of the physician duo behind the Little Zebra Fund, a nonprofit that “provides funding for universal access to clinical genetic testing by eliminating financial obstacles.”

Gretchen and co-founder, Dr. Maura Ruzhnikov, met during their medical genetics fellowship but their bond really strengthened as they struggled to obtain insurance approval for genetic testing that would truly help their patients. Seeing a huge gap in the service system, the two joined forces to do something about it.

Together they formed the Little Zebra Fund, which has provided thousands of dollars of funding so patients could receive genetic testing, and a diagnosis that could be life changing.

Physician by day and nonprofit boss lady by night (and every other spare moment she can piece together), Gretchen shares invaluable insight into how to start a nonprofit, how to grow an organization, and how to successfully run a nonprofit as a side hustle.

Highlights from this episode include:

  • [3:40] Gretchen shares how she and her co-founder, Maura, bonded over battles with insurance companies
  • [6:22] Why receiving a diagnosis through genetic testing is critical for both healthcare and forming community
  • [12:15] What has been the hardest part about your pivot into the nonprofit world?
  • [19:40] Where do you see Little Zebra Fund heading in the future?
  • [28:38] What tools or resources have been helpful for you in your nonprofit journey?
  • [39:27] How fiscal sponsorship helped Little Zebra Fund get off the ground and focus on their mission

To learn more about Gretchen Foskett and the Little Zebra Fund, please click HERE.


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