Aaron McRann from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan and Cheryl Hubbard of AlleyCATS Alliance with some kittens currently available for adoption. The AlleyCATS Alliance is one of two groups to recently put to good use a grant from the foundation.

Aaron McRann from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan and Cheryl Hubbard of AlleyCATS Alliance with some kittens currently available for adoption. The AlleyCATS Alliance is one of two groups to recently put to good use a grant from the foundation.

Cat rescue and anti-bullying groups get help paying bills

Grants from community foundation help reduce population of unwanted cats and also help volunteers stop bullies

As unlikely as it seems, a local program devoted to reducing the population of unwanted cats and another aimed at stomping out bullying share a connection: both recently got a major boost  from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan.

With its $1,580 grant, the AlleyCATS Alliance offered a spay-and-neuter clinic for low-income cat owners. Although it was set to run on May 29 only, additional support from local vetrinarians extended it until June 12. A total of 31 kitties from 21 families were fixed as a result of the initiative.

In a press release, the AlleyCATS Alliance noted that the population of unwanted cats in the region is quite high and taxes the resources of local animal rescue groups.

So the goal of the program was “to start to break the cycle of unwanted pregnancies by helping families who might not otherwise be able to set aside the funds to do this on their own,” spokesperson December van den Berg said in the release.

“AlleyCATS Alliance is grateful for the grant funding and support of the local veterinarians and their staff who have made it possible to offer this clinic.”

The group is a registered charity that rescues, rehabilitates and adopts out feral and orphaned cats throughout the Okanagan.

Meanwhile, Stop A Bully bolstered its capacity with its $3,500 grant from the Community Foundation.

“This generous donation from the Community Foundation will help us purchase computers for our volunteers to use and will help us better manage the demands of the Stop A Bully program,” director Trevor Knowlton said in a release.

“As all of our volunteers have full-time careers, it is critical that they have the technology to complete Stop A Bully work outside of the Summerland office.”

Knowlton, a Summerland teacher, created the Stop A Bully website in 2009 to help students across Canada report bullies at their schools.

Stop A Bully has since expanded its mandate to include fundraising to raise awareness about, and combat, bullying and cyberbulliyng in schools. It’s also unveiling a pink bracelet campaign in September to draw more attention to the issue.

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan has an endowment of $6.5 million and grants approximately $200,000 annually to organizations through the region and the Similkameen.