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Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity Provide $26,5000 Research Grant for Independent Researchers to Study Impacts of 2021 Tornadoes in Bowling Green, KY on People of Color and their Pets
(Baltimore, MD. May 2, 2022) —Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE), a Baltimore-based nonprofit that addresses organizational and personal biases in animal welfare, is granting $26,500 to two independent researchers, Nefta Fonseca and Kendall Gilliam, to assess the experience, barriers, and issues of importance of pet owners in the Bowling Green, KY area who were forced to deal with the aftereffects of Mother Nature’s wrath. The December 2021 tornadoes devastated numerous cities throughout Kentucky, particularly the city of Bowling Green.
The grant money is being funded by CARE, as well as Maddie’s Fund, a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals.
Both researchers have expertise in sociology and animal welfare in BIPOC communities. Fonseca, based in Austin, Tex. has a veterinary background and has expertise in race and evaluative methods. He is passionate about community engagement when it comes to animal welfare advocacy. Fonseca is currently a student at Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black university.
Gilliam is also based in Austin and a graduate of Huston-Tillotson University. He is currently a research associate at the school. He received his Master of Science degree from Texas State University in Applied Sociology. Gilliam has been published in journal articles such as Teaching Sociology and International Social Science Review and has presented research at numerous conferences including Harvard University’s Engaged Scholarship and Social Justice Conference.
Companion animals are important to the lives of millions of racially diverse individuals, but there is very little research regarding the bonds between people and their pets. Few studies have examined communities of color and the social-historical emergence and development of research on disaster impact. Natural disasters should be studied in a multi or interdisciplinary manner to better understand the experience and vulnerabilities of racially diverse communities. This research aims to help identify how to prevent and combat unwanted effects of natural disaster scenarios.
The research will be completed by late fall of 2022 and will shed light on special challenges that BIPOC pet owners face as a result of natural disasters. The study also hopes to give insight into decision-makers charged with mitigation and response. If you would like more information or interviews, researchers and CARE staff are available.
Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity is a 501©3 nonprofit that addresses organizational and personal biases within animal welfare. The mission is to bring diverse voices to the industry while also advocating for a more inclusive path to pet adoption. CARE believes in using evidence-based tools, narratives, and insights to inspire organizations to be more inclusive and less biased. It is all an effort to save more companion animal lives.
Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to their inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them with much joy from 1987 – 1997 and continues to inspire them today. The Foundation has awarded over $255 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education, and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S. Maddie’s Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important 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 of care for animals in need, and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility. #ThanksToMaddie.