Pleasanton, Calif., May 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sixteen national animal welfare organizations have come together for the Open Arms Challenge to encourage animal shelters and rescue organizations to pilot new approaches that increase the inclusion of new adopters and volunteers, and offer a warm welcome. environment for all members of the community.
From Nov. 22, 2021 through Jan. 3, 2022, nearly 200 participating organizations in 42 states (plus DC!) adopted inclusive policies, including, but not limited to, translating materials into multiple languages; reduce lengthy adoption applications; creating new partnerships with organizations outside of animal welfare; and removing barriers to adoption, fostering and volunteering. These incredible efforts resulted in the adoption of 47,341 dogs and cats and the support of 33,565 volunteers and 25,296 foster families during the Challenge period!
“Loving a pet shouldn’t be a privilege. As an industry, we need to stop looking for reasons to say ‘no’ and start saying ‘YES!'” said Mary Ippoliti- Smith, a member of Maddie’s Fund management team.®. “By opening our arms and breaking down barriers, animal lovers no longer need to go anywhere else to acquire a pet. It’s amazing what can happen when you believe people when they say their home is ready for a dog or a cat instead of scouring for danger. We celebrate every participating organization that did just that!”
Changes to programs and processes varied from organization to organization. For some, it was as simple as providing documentation in multiple languages or returning voicemail messages in a timely manner. Others have started having open and honest conversations with adopters instead of requiring lengthy written adoption applications, have undergone bias training, or focused on neighborhoods where adoption events don’t happen. had not taken place before.
“Our networks of foster families and volunteers are slowly beginning to be more representative of the diversity of our community and we are excited about the opportunities that arise,” said Tamara Lackey, Executive Director of Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary and Robust winner. Programs. “We have also expanded our adoption event venues and marketing to reach a larger and more diverse audience, which has increased our adoption base to include more people of color, which is one of our main objectives.”
“The Michelson Found Animals Foundation is proud to support the 194 participating organizations that have implemented inclusive and equitable programs and processes for all,” said Brett Yates, CEO of the Michelson Found Animals Foundation and Challenge Funding Partner. “We think this program is very unique, and we are confident that it will result in substantial changes that will help many people and their pets lead fulfilling lives together. Congratulations to our winners!”
Below are some of the winners, check out the full list to see if your local organization made it!
Best Overall Effort: $10,000
- Adoption and Animal Services Center of Montgomery County, MD
- Pinellas County Animal Services, Florida
Robust programs: $5,000
- Animal Friends of the Valleys, California
- Animal Port, TN
- Beautiful Together, North Carolina
- Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, Inc, NY
- Broward County Animal Care, Florida
- Animal Care and Control of Saint Louis County, MO
- Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Hancock County, ME
- Souris Valley Animal Shelter, ND
- Brevard, FL SPCA
- Humane Society of Washington County, WI
Most effective use of open and welcoming menu items: $3,000
- Davis County, UT Animal Care
- Baywater, MD Animal Rescue
- Pet Hand and Foot Defenders, TN
- Hope Animal Rescue, North Carolina
- Lifeline Animal Project, GA
- Feline Friends of Salem, OR
- Shelter from the Storm, WI
- Stray Paws Animal Haven, California
The Open Arms Challenge was funded by Maddie’s Fund®, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, and in conjunction with Adopt-A-Pet.com, Adoptimize, American Pets Alive!, ASPCA, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, BISSELL Pet Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE), HeARTS Speak, Humane Society of the United States, National Animal Care and Control Association, Petco Love, Petfinder Foundation and PetSmart Charities.
About the Challenge Funding Partners:
About Michelson Found Animals Foundation
Michelson Found Animals Foundation, a division of Michelson Philanthropies, is a leading nonprofit animal welfare organization that believes people and pets are better together. Generously funded by Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson, Found Animals manages a range of catalytic grants, impact investments, operating programs, and education and advocacy initiatives that share a common goal: defending animals. company at every point where they intersect with our company. Found Animals has helped over 7 million pets since its inception in 2005. Learn more at foundanimals.org and michelsonphilanthropies.org.
About Maddie’s Fund
Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise made to their inspirational dog, Maddie. She brought them great joy from 1987 to 1997 and continues to inspire them today.
The Foundation has awarded more than $255 million in grants to increase community rescue, pioneer education in shelter medicine, and establish foster care as the norm in the United States.
Maddie’s Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, significant funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources, and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net for the care of animals in need and operating in a culture of inclusion and humility. #ThanksToMaddie.