Fort Bend County Animal Services wins $50,000 grant for BIPOC-led organization

Fort Bend County Animal Services will use funds from Maddie’s Fund’s $50,000 grant to increase its presence in underserved communities; provide free or low-cost microchip and vaccine services; and to support adoption, volunteerism, community health initiatives, and educational and awareness programs. (Courtesy of Pexels)

Fort Bend County Animal Services received a $50,000 grant from Maddie’s Fund at the May 3 Court of Commissioners meeting. The organization applied as a Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led agency, with funding to apply for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Animal services are included in the area of ​​health and human services in Fort Bend County. Barbara Vass, FBCAS Deputy Director and Head of Lifesaving Programs submitted the grant application.

FBCAS is an open-admission municipal shelter with an average admission of approximately 5,000 dogs and cats per year, according to the grant application.

$50,000 is the highest award the agency could have received. FBCAS plans to use the funds to support the Rescue Programs Group, which manages adoptions, rescues, foster families, transportation, volunteers, community health initiatives, educational programs and outreach.

The specific objectives of this funding, as stated in the grant application, are to increase the presence of FBCAS and its programs in underserved communities to provide free or low-cost vaccines and microchip services; to add additional free or low-cost neutering and spaying options to county residents in an effort to reduce shelter admissions; and adding an additional microchip reader and tablet for events in these communities.

Fort Bend County was noted as one of the most diverse counties in Texas, according to 2020 census data. According to a 2020 diversity index by county, Fort Bend was ranked at 76.3%, while the Texas as a whole was ranked at 67%.

In the application, Vass highlighted the diversity among Fort Bend County leaders.

“We are one of the most diverse counties in the United States, and our county leadership with Judge KP George, Commissioner Grady Prestage, DA Brian Middleton [and] County Attorney Bridgette Smith-Lawson on the stand reflects this,” Vass wrote. “Health and Human Services – to which FBCAS reports – is led by Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, and the Fort Bend County Animal Services Director is Rene Vasquez.”

The Maddie’s Fund disbursed 112 grants totaling $7.1 million between July 2021 and March 2022, according to funding history available on the organization’s website. The nonprofit aims to increase community rescue efforts, promote medical education in shelters, and establish foster care as the norm in the United States.

Aubrey L. Morgan