Maddie's Fund Expands DEI Initiatives, Partners With Baltimore Non-Profit to Create Community-Run Workforce Development Programs in Georgia

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Maddie's Fund is supporting Baltimore-based non-profit Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity, (CARE), as they design and implement a workforce development pilot program, in Atlanta, Georgia. The "CARE Center" model is emblematic of what Stanford Social Innovation Review, (October 2020) refers to as a "Proximate Leaders" model. Maddie's Fund financial support will provide Proximate Leaders of Color from underserved communities with grants, technical support, and skills augmentation, in view to expanding their voice and expertise within the animal welfare industry.

Proximate Leaders. Precise Goals.

Last December, CARE received a $750,000 grant from Maddie's Fund—the largest donation to date for the emerging non-profit. That investment will go toward a variety of initiatives, including a longitudinal research study with the University of Tennessee, integrated DEI training, investment, and recruitment of new advocates in the animal welfare field. The opportunity to invest in leaders in underserved communities was at the heart of the partnership.

"Currently, the Animal Welfare field is not diverse--African Americans represent less than 2% of the field. Proximate Leaders of Color are subject matter experts when it comes to the challenges facing their community pets," said CARE President, James Evans. "When given the opportunity, they're uniquely equipped to find sustainable solutions—through insights and lived experiences—that exceed most community outreach efforts by third party organizations."

In their seminal article for SSIR, authors Jackson, Kania, and Montgomery found that "…leaders who arise from the communities and issues they serve have the experience, relationships, data, and knowledge that are essential for developing solutions with measurable and sustainable impact."

This Proximate Leadership model will be central to the creation of CARE Centers in Georgia, Leech Lake's Ojibwe tribal community, and beyond. "The opportunity to create a workforce development program that's both community-run and led is at the heart of CARE's mission," said Evans. 

"The CARE CENTER model won't always include a building," said Evans. "Some CARE CENTER organizations will focus on Access to Care via Transport Services. Others will focus on community awareness of issues related to Animal Care and Control, Spay & Neuter, Puppy Mills and Adoption. CARE CENTERS will be designed around solving and preventing problems, so their shape and size will vary in order to meet their community's unique challenges," said Evans.

"We're grateful to have the support of Maddie's Fund at such a pivotal moment in our country's history," said Evans. "This is a chance to engage and invest in advocates and experts on a local level, where solutions to challenges matter most. We've seen first-hand what the people of Georgia can do! This program won't just change lives, it will save lives!"

About CARE: Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE) is a Baltimore-based, 501(c)(3), focused on expanding and evolving the education, training, and storytelling surrounding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the animal welfare industry.

Contact: Doug Eldridge | | 202 680 9375

Source: Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE)