The SPCA of Tennessee believes that a well-founded organizational culture enhances its mission. As founder and CEO of the SPCA of Tennessee, I believe that each and every one of us can strengthen the organization through respect, grace and understanding. We rely on unity to complete our mission in the state of Tennessee. Every person who has joined us to make a difference is capable of doing just that. We strive to empower members to be successful and proud of what they do. Everyone is welcomed regardless of culture, religion, ability, sexual preference, gender identity, age, marital status, religious beliefs, or other characteristics. All it takes is people with commitment and determination to make a dream come true.
We commit to the following:
- Making sure that the implementation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) conscious culture will empower volunteers and fosters to complete the best work of their life for animals in need in the state of Tennessee.
- Creating a strong culture within the organization that puts DEI at the forefront of our efforts. Because it is reassuring that all members are seen, heard, and feels they are supported by the SPCA of Tennessee. We want members to be proud of volunteering for an organization that embraces who they are. Everyone should feel equipped and comfortable to be part of our team and that they are contributing to a great cause to help animals in need.
- Striving to provide strong leadership and engaging all members to integrate DEI into the lifesaving work we do. We do this by encouraging opportunities to put into practice the commitments we strive for in our DEI policy.
- Returning unconditional love to animals just as animals provide to humans, without discrimination. We believe that every animal is genuine in their own breed, gender, size, and temperament which we embrace and respect.
- Leading by example with dignity and respect. Listening to others to gain their input, to build stronger relationships within the organization and the rescue community at large. This will empower our principles and guide us in creating a strong focus and change in our community. Dogs and cats are dying in shelters and we strive to be more engaged in our community to make a difference.
- Establishing a safe space where curiosity and openness help us to embrace understanding.
- Developing strategies to make DEI stronger by making better decisions, communicating, performing, and growing outreach in our community.
- Speaking up for animals who do not have a voice. We must be their voice to save their lives.
- Building partnerships with the community to help low-income families gain access to spay and neuter resources. This effort is key in helping to lower pet overpopulation.
- Connecting animals that come from situations of neglect, abuse, and carelessness to food, shelter, and the resources they need to be loved and flourish.
- Removing dogs from living on chains, cats from living in overpopulated feral colonies, and horses from undesirable environments are the typical situations we face. These among others are examples where animals will need us to be flexible in meeting their needs and improving their circumstances. There is much work to be done in the state of Tennessee, but with strong leadership, it will help us make Tennessee a better place for animals.
- Advocating for improved legislation to protect animals across the great state of Tennessee.
- Being open to unconscious bias by removing gendered and coded language from volunteer prospecting and by focusing advertising on the success of the organization.
We believe in the following:
- Acceptance, respect, and understanding: Each individual is unique, creating a team no matter their race, gender, religion or other diversities. Having people of different backgrounds and experiences improves the success of the organization on all facets.
- Diversity is a satisfying mix of ideas, cultures, races, genders, economic statuses, and other characteristics necessary for promoting growth and learning.
- Acknowledge religious and cultural holidays, adopting a flexible approach to events.
- Encouraging volunteer and director feedback. Being open to and considering feedback from members demonstrates genuine care for them and helps the SPCA of Tennessee to prosper.
- Be aware of ageism and strive for a multigenerational workforce. People from different generations will always have varying world views all of which make a more diverse organization to volunteer for.
- Respecting everyone as equals makes for a more successful place to volunteer.
- Having strong anti-discrimination policies. It is important that we respect everyone as equal without discrimination.
- Celebrate differences: Learn about everyone's food, cultural backgrounds, gender identities, ability differences, etc. Embrace diversity of holidays, celebrations, events, and observances.
- Facilitate the respectful use of pronouns. Embracing inclusive language is very important to show respect in identifying individuals in the organization. This can be done with the pronouns that are on their business card, social media, and email signatures.
- Identify and eradicate instances of ableism. Be respectful toward volunteers that lack bodily autonomy and remain aware that disabilities are not always visible. Treating all persons with respect is what everyone deserves.
- Collective responsibility: Holding each other, ourselves, and leadership accountable for implementing, and seeing through the progress of the organization to achieve its goals.
We believe that we can achieve our goals and keep building our organization while learning from others. The SPCA of Tennessee will continue to grow saving the lives of countless animals in need throughout the state of Tennessee. We can lead great change by embracing the differences of our peers and the animals we strive to save. (R)