Eller College Student Project Helps Local Animal Welfare Groups Garner $2M in Grants
Sept. 26, 2014
Pima County animal welfare organizations secured $2 million in grant funding, thanks in part to data gathered by UA Eller College of Management students.
TUCSON, Ariz. – September 26, 2014 – Pima County animal welfare organizations secured $2 million in grant funding, thanks in part to data gathered by UA Eller College of Management students as part of a project by their fall 2013 nonprofit consulting class.
The project initiated through the Pima Alliance for Animal Welfare (PAAW), a coalition of large and small animal rescue and welfare groups. The coalition tasked the students with determining relative rates of animal relinquishment across ZIP codes in Pima County. Supervised by professor of practice Cindi Gilliland, the student team gathered, standardized, and analyzed data from many animal rescue and welfare groups, including Pima Animal Control Center (PACC) and Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), and presented their results to PAAW in December.
For the first time, PAAW member organizations could determine rates of unwanted animal birth and relinquishment rates for individual ZIP codes within the county. Armed with the students’ data, PACC and HSSA applied for and received two grants totaling more than $2 million.
“I have had the privilege of working with Eller students in the past, and every time the end product has been exceptional,” said Barbara Brown, PAAW Chair and VP for program services and community initiatives at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. “Who could imagine that bringing groups together, synthesizing data and analyzing it would make such a difference? Lives are being changed — and saved — as a result of the team’s work. We are so grateful that Dr. Gilliland selected our project from the many requests that she received.”
On August 5, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to accept funding for a $1.5 million program from a partnership between the Best Friends Animal Society and PetSmart charities for the next three years. The Community Cats program, housed at PACC, will trap, sterilize, vaccinate and return feral and “free-roaming” local cats, reducing the cat population and providing long-term cost savings to government and taxpayers. The program will target nine ZIP codes — 85705, 85706, 85710, 85711, 85712, 85713, 85714, 85716 and 85719.
In addition, HSSA received a $94,000 grant from PetSmart Charities to provide free spray and neuter services to low-income residents of the 85705 ZIP code for a full year — a direct result of the Eller student research, which determined that this ZIP code has the highest birth rate of unwanted animals.
The student team also created a data entry form so that PAAW member organizations can standardize data collection. Student team member Bianca Maubach, who already was involved in cat rescue and fostering, proved so invaluable to PAAW that she became the first student member of its board of directors. Under the supervision of Gilliland, Maubach is currently completing her senior Honors thesis, which benchmarks best practices in reducing animal euthanasia rates across the Western United States.
The nonprofit consulting class at the Eller College is supported by fee-for-service from nonprofit clients and by a private donation from Paul Lindsey, a local business owner and active community advocate and volunteer. The fall 2014 course is currently underway under the leadership of Kim Marchessault, lecturer of business communication.