Leadership Palm Beach County: Project Catsnip
by Eddie Stephens
Leadership Palm Beach County (LPBC) is a nonprofit organization that brings together leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to build and steward a vibrant, interconnected community. Since 1983, their unique programs have prepared more than 1,500 adult and youth leaders for a lifetime commitment to doing public good.
Each year, LPBC delivers three core leadership programs that prepare high-achieving professionals as well as well-engaged high school students to unite as leaders to build a better community. The participants spend up to a year together, traveling across the county with exclusive access to courtrooms, newsrooms, schools, farms, major businesses and to the top leaders running the industries that drive our economy. Along the way, they get educated about our region, work on a civic engagement project targeted at improving a specific need in the community. Once they complete the programs, our promising leaders are part of a growing alumni network that shapes the curriculum for the new classes of participants and works in the community to tackle issues affecting all of our lives.
In 2015, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League was one of dozens of applicants that sought to be selected for a civic engagement project. Peggy Adams made a request for assistance in developing a public awareness campaign for “Project Catsnip” to educate the county about community cats and the importance of Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return. Ultimately, the Peggy Adams project was one of the five projects selected by the class this year.
I did not realize this, but one of the biggest problems of animal overpopulation is the cat reproductive cycle. One female cat can start reproducing as early as six months old and will have up to three litters a year. Just one female cat can have as many as 120 kittens in her lifetime. Multiply that by a colony of 10 female and 10 male cats and the overpopulation rate is out of control in a short period of time.
Project Catsnip helps to educate the public about the importance of TNVR in our community. Last year Palm Beach County destroyed over 7,000 cats of the 10,000 processed by Animal Control. Each cat, whether rescued or killed costs the County at least $400 per cat. High sterilization rates in targeted colonies will drastically reduce this problem and ultimately lighten the burden on tax payers in Palm Beach County.
So along with my teammates; Pam Figoras (Mental Health Services, Community Partners / Parent Child Center), Lili Finke (Senior Manager of Organizational Development, Palm Tran), Deana Mccrea (Director of Accounting, Florida-Carolinas, CEMEX), Kevin Murray (Pantelides Public Relations & Consulting), Pam Saratory (Business Manager, SunFest of Palm Beach County Inc), and Debi Willard (Deb Willard Graphics) we realized the unlimited potential we had to make this project a success. It’s a cool think tank and the spectrum of talents and personalities has really made this a fun project to work on.
Throughout the past through months, we have spent hundreds of hours interviewing community leaders, researching this issue, and developing a printed and video campaign.
You can preview our printed materials here and see a preview of our video below:
It is our hope that through efforts like this, Palm Beach County can reach their goal enumerated in Countdown to Zero; to end the killing of adoptable animals by the year 2024. For more information, visit our website at:
-Eddie Stephens is a partner in the Law Firm Ward Damon