Where heart meets mind


Humane Smarts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2012 by Susan Madden Lankford, a San Diego-area author, photographer, and activist.


The mission of Humane Smarts is to open hearts and enrich minds by providing opportunities for creativity and self-sufficiency in San Diego. Our primary focus is underserved young people aged five to 15; our goal is to promote life skills and self-esteem by offering programs in photography and other arts, gardening, and academic enrichment.


Through Humane Smarts, young people are exposed to:


  • Collaborative community gardening
  • Photography and other visual arts
  • Animals and the natural world
  • Opportunities for leadership and self-sufficiency

Our board of directors includes artists, educators, farmers, curators, and experts in the fields of child development, addiction, homelessness, and criminal justice. We believe community interaction can set lives in new directions. We’re excited about the work we’ve begun and look forward to future projects.


Inaugural projects


Our two inaugural projects have launched in San Diego’s East Village:


  • MoOPA’s ArtWall. The Museum of Outdoor Photographic Art has unveiled its first exhibit, a 386-foot wall of images evoking the interconnection of communities. Learn more.
  • SMARTS Farm. Hands-on gardening provides tremendous opportunities for growth, motivation, and respect for the natural world. Our collaborative garden site is thriving. Learn more.

A new, energetic, and forward-thinking organization, Humane Smarts is just getting started. Here are two projects we envision for the future:


  • As a gathering place near City College and four blocks away from SMARTS Farm, Smarts Café recently opened in May, 2015.

Future project

  • Humane Smarts Scholarships will provide financial aid for college—and a solid foundation for the future—to young people with the will to succeed.

We’ll need help in this work—please consider donating to Humane Smarts, or contact us to volunteer.


Come Join and Grow with us!