May 6th Transform Westside Summit: Highlighting The Atlanta Humane Society
Westside Future Fund’s May 6th Transform Westside Summit highlighted The Atlanta Humane Society’s impact throughout Atlanta and the nonprofit’s newest location soon to open on the Westside. Featured guests included Atlanta Humane Society’s President and CEO, Cal Morgan, and Vice President of Community Education and Advocacy, Dr. Gloria J. Dorsey, who delivered the morning devotion. WFF President and CEO, John Ahmann welcomed an in-person audience alongside co-hosts Benjamin Earley and Ebony Ford. Ford went on to moderate the panel discussion.
Cal Morgan, President and CEO, Atlanta Humane Society
Morgan: “We’re a historic, no kill organization, which is really important. People want to know that. There is never a time when an animal comes to our organization and it has a clock running and it’s going to expire. Every animal stays until it has a has a happy ending. And that was a really important thing for us to to emphasize is it’s a happy place where happy endings happen every day.”
Ford: “Tell us a little bit more about your yourself and why you feel passionate for leading the Atlanta Humane Society?”
Cal recalled his childhood and the love he and his family shared for animals of all kinds.
You know, if something was injured, it would end up in my backyard. We’d get them nursed back to health and then we’d go put it back in the pond or what have you, but it’s always been a passion.”
–Cal Morgan, President and CEO, Atlanta Humane Society
A rendering of Atlanta Humane Society’s new Westside location currently under construction.
Ford: Let’s talk about that new location on the Westside because that is really, really exciting.
Morgan: “…This is going to be five acres, and there will be walking trails and green spaces there. Trees Atlanta has been really wonderful. They have helped us plant a lot of beautiful trees on that property to replace the blight that was there and people will be welcomed in the community.”
“There won’t be anything like this probably in the southeastern United States. There’s nothing really to compare with the facility that we’re going to have here in Atlanta, and I think we’re proud of that. I think we should be. This community has made that happen. This is not me or Joy or any of our team. The community has made this happen. People care about animals, and they stepped up.”
The Atlanta Humane Society encourages volunteers and those in need to contact AHS’s resource center.
Ford: How are you guys active on the Westside?
Morgan: “One of the very exciting things for us is we are an employer. We are going to be hiring people, and we want to hire people from this community. We have a training program. We have the ability for people to learn skill jobs that are good paying jobs with benefits.”
Audience members engaged with the panel during the open Q&A.
Ford: “Speaking of going out into the community and getting the community involved, how can the community reach back out to you guys to become involved?”
Morgan: “Well, we run on volunteer labor, so much of our time that we invest into our programs are volunteers. We have hundreds of people who volunteer every single week. They come into our facility, they walk dogs, which is a lot of fun. Just come in and walk dogs, what a great thing to do, right? But we also need volunteers to help us with with veterinary care. We need volunteers to help drive patients to a clinic with their animals. We have a whole lot of volunteer opportunity. So we also are going to invite the community more and more. If you like to volunteer and you’re available to volunteer, we really would love to have you.”
The summit welcomed both new and familiar faces in the audience.
Morgan also highlighted Atlanta Humane Society’s partnership with Meals on Wheels to deliver pet food to families in need during the pandemic.
Morgan: “Meals on Wheels runs and continues to run that. I think we’ve given out in about 18 months, almost 500,000 pounds of pet food. That was amazing to me because that was a need that needed to be filled, and we were in a position to be able to do it. And so we need to find more ways that we can support the community.”
Ford: “You leveraged the relationship with the other organization—Meals on Wheels. They were ready—they already had people driving—they already had the vehicles…and you filled a whole different need with the same resources. Relational equity is the reason that was able to come about.”
View the full summit including the audience Q&A below!