Animal related

The CARE Foundation

  • Apopka, FL
  • www.thecarefoundation.org

Mission Statement

The CARE Foundation provides non-domestic, non-releasable animals with a safe and permanent home, and educates the public on conservation and current environmental issues concerning endangered and threatened species, as well as local wildlife and their habitat.

Main Programs

  1. Native Florida Wildlife Education Program
  2. King of the Jungle Tours
  3. Exotic Animal & Wildlife Rescue
  4. CATalyst Program for Veterans
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

All of Central Florida

ruling year

1998

Principal Officer since 1996

Self-reported

Ms. Christina Anne Burford

Keywords

Self-reported

Creating Animal Respect Education Foundation Wildlife Rescue, Animal Rescue, Conservation, Wildlife Sanctuary, Environmental Education

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EIN

59-3369425

 Number

5057347881

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

We at the CARE Foundation are proud that in addition to continuing the daily care/maintenance of our 200+ resident animals, we have: 1. Taken in, rehabilitated and found suitable homes/released close to 150 animals including squirrels, raccoons, and other local wildlife. 2. Raised $15,000 and completed our Nile Crocodile enclosure (approx. 6,500 sq ft). 3. Raised $5,000 and completed a new enclosure for our new bobcat, Hannibal who is the newest member of our Native Florida Wildlife Education program. 4. Expanded our community outreach to include several additional schools, libraries and other community institutions in our education initiatives. We also participated in specialized school programs with autistic/special needs children to provide tactile and relational enrichment. 5. Continued to expand our fundraising efforts to include more than $70,000 in contributions from new donors and animal sponsors. Our goals for Fall 2014/15 include: 1. Completing a new 10,000 square ft. exercise area for our North American Black Bear, two Asian Black Leopards and Eastern Cougar. This enclosure is scheduled to be completed by Summer 2015. 2. Raising $15,000 to construct a permanent public restroom for visitors. 3. Raising $20,000 for a permanent, climate-controlled food preparation area. The new food prep building will reduce cost from food/equipment loss, improve the feeding process and ensure food quality control for our animals. 4. Raising $84,000 to cover the cost of two new full-time employees experienced in working with large predators and a variety of other wildlife, plus one part-time administrative employee.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Native Florida Wildlife Education Program

This program is tailored for both children and adults educating them on the importance and value of native Florida wildlife and the conservation of their habitat(s). The program includes live interaction with a variety of non-releasable animals under our care, including a bobcat, raccoons, snakes, alligators, opossums, and other Florida wildlife. Program participants learn about the how each of the animals contributes to a well-balanced Florida ecosystem, about their behaviors in the wild, and what to do if they ever encounter these animals in their natural habitat(s). Currently, the program is geared toward schools, public libraries and other community resources. We also conduct programs for the tourist industry, helping raise awareness with both national and internationals visitors to Florida.

Category

Animal-Related, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Adults

Other Named Groups

Budget

$45,000.00

Program 2

King of the Jungle Tours

At our facility in Apopka, Florida, we offer guided walking tours of our property to the public so they can learn more about the individual history and care needs of our over 200 resident animals. Participants learn about the wildlife under our care as they watch/help us feed our animals, including our bears, big cats and other exotic animals. The tour offers a hands-on experience with one small mammal and one reptile. It can be geared to any age group, and is often offered to multiple family groups with young children.

Category

Animal-Related, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Other Named Groups

Adults

Budget

$10,000.00

Program 3

Exotic Animal & Wildlife Rescue

Our primary program at The CARE Foundation is to take in non-releasable exotic animals/wildlife and provide them with permanent homes. We work closely with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conversation Commission and other federal, state and local agencies to identify animals in need of placement and care. We are fully licensed to care for a wide variety of animals, including Class 1 predators like tigers and bears, as well as other dangerous animals including venomous snakes and other reptiles. Our staff of animal handlers/caretakers have the training, knowledge and experience to take in animals that many other facilities would reject due to health and/or behavioral issues. Anything from baby squirrels found in a driveway to an illegally kept black mamba found in someone's home, our mission is to provide as many non-releasable animals as possible a safe, permanent home at our facility.

Category

Animal-Related, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Budget

$85,000.00

Program 4

CATalyst Program for Veterans

The CATalyst Project is a human-animal interaction experience designed to provide stress relieving techniques/tools and reintegration learning opportunities for combat veterans in the Central Florida area, specifically veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In both individual and group sessions, combat veterans will be brought into close contact with the animals (always through a fence), then led through a series of sensory awareness exercises that teach grounding and focus techniques to promote overall stress reduction. The stress reduction tools learned will enable combat veterans to recognize valuable, inherent, self-healing capabilities that they can easily access during their day-to-day lives. The CATalyst Project will be promoted through relationships with local veterans organizations. As the program develops, mentorship programs will be offered to allow veterans themselves to become project facilitators.

Category

Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Other Named Groups

Other Named Groups

Budget

$175,000.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The CARE Foundation was established in 1996 to serve a dual purpose: To provide permanent housing for exotic, non-releasable wildlife, and To serve as an educational resource to the public about wildlife conservation and management issues. As it relates to providing permanent housing for exotic, and non-releasable wildlife, CARE's ultimate goal is to have the facilities and funding to accept any exotic animal that we learn is in need. Currently we serve as the permanent home for over 200 animals, including tigers, bears, crocodilians, venomous reptiles and much more. However, there are still many more exotic animals in need of proper care and housing. Whether it is rehabilitating injured or sick native wildlife for ultimate return to their natural habitat, or providing non-releasable animals with the best possible quality of life at our sanctuary, our continuing goal is to ensuring the proper care of exotic wildlife living under the purview of humankind. In the next three to five years, we hope to maximize our 10-acre property and have a minimum of 50 permanent enclosures, including multiple exercise/enrichment areas for our larger animals. We intend to build an on-site animal nursery and emergency medical treatment area so that we can better meet the immediate veterinary care needs of our animals. In addition, we hope to construct a climate-controlled building to house our tropical animals more appropriately during the winter months. We also intend to increase our licensing to include animals that we are currently unable to take in due specific regulatory or other restrictions. As it relates to serving as an educational resource to the public about wildlife conservation and management issues, CARE's ultimate goal is to be a premier community resource for Central Florida in the area of wildlife behavior, care, management and conservation. Unfortunately, federal, state and country resources are limited when it comes to wildlife management. Our goal is to serve as an adjunct resource in terms of providing the public with information about native wildlife, exotic pets and habitat conservation. In the next three to five years, we intend to expand our community outreach via the internet, social media and live educational programs to help better inform the public about native and exotic wildlife. In our work with schools and other children's programs, we want to continue our efforts to help educate the next generation of wildlife specialists and conservationists. In conjunction with Florida Fish and Wildlife, county animal control agencies, local law enforcement and other regulatory agencies, we plan to continue to assist the public with their wildlife issues and concerns (such as alligators in their pools, snakes in their homes, or what to do with an injured or sick animal), as well as having a response team/vehicle on call for emergency animal rescue situations.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    In order to accomplish our short and long term goals, our primary focus is on fundraising and community outreach. By expanding our current funding base to include additional grants, foundation support and contributions from corporate and private entities, we hope to support the hiring of a minimum of 2 full-time animal/facility caretakers and an initial part-time administrative support person. This addition to our staff is key to moving forward on a number of immediate goals, including the completion of several new enclosures/exercise areas, upgrading our animal food preparation area, as well as expanding our social media/online exposure and fundraising efforts. To help facilitate the hiring of trained and experienced personnel, our continuing externship program with the Institute of Animal Arts will help us to identify talented individuals interested in either volunteer or potential employment opportunities. Their IAA education gives these potential job candidates a strong foundation for working with some of our more difficult or dangerous animals as well as an understanding of the type of care and behavior our various animals require. The addition of an administrative person to our CARE team will facilitate the expansion of our educational outreach program to additional schools, libraries and other community organizations. Through our newly redesigned website and social media presence, we also intend to expand awareness of our organizations and its programs to a wider audience, while at the same time connect with those who can provide fundraising opportunities and/or assistance. Through our relationships within federal, state and county agencies, we will continue to stay informed about any exotic animals in our area that require immediate care and/or house. We will also continue to foster relationships with other facilities like our own to make sure that any animals that we are unable to care for are placed with appropriately licensed organizations/individuals.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The CARE Foundation holds 15+ state and federal licenses for the care, housing and exhibition of exotic animals and wildlife. These include a USDA Class C Exhibitor license and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Class 1-2 Felidae (large cat) and Ursidae (bear) licenses. CARE is one of just a small group of facilities that is fully licensed to accept a wide variety of animals including Class 1, 2, 3 animals (Class I animals are those categorized as posing a ""considerable danger to humans"" and are the most highly regulated of any other category of wildlife). In addition, CARE is one of only a few facilities in the Florida that can accept and provide permanent housing for a group of animals known as ""Reptiles of Concern."" These include the larger snakes and lizards, including the Burmese Python which can grow to be over 25 ft long and can weigh over 400 lbs. CARE is also licensed to handle/maintain venomous reptiles including snakes of all varieties (mambas, cobras, rattlesnakes, etc.). Our founder and senior staff all have extensive animal handling experience and are experts on exotic animal behavior and care. CARE has long-standing relationships with federal, state and county agencies/officials, serving as an adjunctive resource for the public on animal and wildlife questions and concerns. We often get calls from county animal control and/or Florida Fish & Wildlife to help with animal rescues or to take in exotic animals in need. We also have close ties to other animal sanctuaries and refuges so that if we are unable to take in a particular animal, we can place it with another reputable and licensed home or rescue/release program. In terms of our educational initiatives, we are a licensed vendor with the Orange, Seminole, Lake and Brevard county school systems. In the last seven years, we have expanded our sponsorship programs, donation drives and community outreach programs to allow us to currently support over 200 permanent resident animals at our facility, including larger predators like tigers and bears. However, in order to continue to provide the best care for our animals and be in a position to accept more animals in need, we need to raise money for the hiring of a minimum of two additional animal handlers/caretakers, as well as a part to full time administrative employee to coordinate our outreach efforts. With this expansion in our staff, The CARE Foundation will be in a position to take our work to the next level in terms of providing homes for exotic animal in need and educating the public about wildlife issue and conservation.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    One of the initial indicators of progress for The CARE Foundation will be the financial ability to hire additional staff (a minimum of two full-time animal handlers/caretakers and one part-time administrative person). This expansion in our staffing is critical for us to move forward with many other projects, including the completion of several new animal enclosures and the ability to raise funds for current/future projects. In addition to raising funds to continue to cover operational expenses, we are putting a strategic fundraising plan in place to raise money on a project-to-project basis (for example, $5,000 to purchase remaining materials and complete our new 10,000 sq ft big cat/bear exercise area, $15,000 to build a permanent public restroom, and $24,000 to build a new climate-controlled food preparation area). The biggest indicator of our progress will be the successful launch of our newest program called CATalyst, focused on helping veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (for more information, please see the ""Programs"" section of our portrait). In order to launch this new program in 2015, we need to enhance our facility in several ways including the upgrade of several enclosures, the building of a permanent public restroom and having sufficient staff to maintain and administer the program. In the long-term, the more quantitative measures of success are to have the ability to provide more homes for animal in need. Enhancement to the property including an upgrade to our electrical systems, upgraded animal food preparation/storage area, climate controlled winter room for our tropical animals, and an educational pavilion for our community outreach and wildlife training programs. On the social media front, our goals are to expand our presence on Facebook and other platforms to reach a greater audience and provide more information/support to the community about wildlife issues and conservations. The recent completion of our new website is just one of a few steps we are taking to maximize our online presence and outreach.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    At its inception, CARE only housed approximately a dozen exotic animals. In 2004, when hurricanes devastated our original facility in Christmas, Florida, we were the home for just under 70 exotic animals. Today, at our new 10-acre Apopka location, we are the home for over 200 non-releasable exotic and domestic animals including tigers, leopards, bears, crocodilians, venomous reptiles and much more. We have well over 50 permanent animal enclosures customized to meet the specific needs of each of our residents, and are constantly expanding to accommodate new exotic animals in need of rehabilitation/release, or require permanent housing and care. Unfortunately, many more exotic animals are in need of homes, and our continuing goal is to be able to have the facilities and funding to accept any animal that we learn is in need. Currently, we are working the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission to have a several open enclosures to either temporarily or permanently house native Florida wildlife in need of care, including black bears. In order to facilitate this, it is crucial that we add more staff and increase our fundraising activities so that we can meet our goals to expand, maintain, and construct more animal enclosures and support facilities. While our volunteers have made massive contributions to our efforts in the past, to move forward we must have trained and experienced staff working full-time to make sure our animals have the best care possible, and that we can provide homes to additional animals as needed. In terms of our community outreach, the wildlife education programs we offer in many Central Florida schools are sensitizing children and young adults to the needs of wildlife and their habitats, in essence motivating/inspiring the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists. In addition, we are receiving more and more calls each week from the public about their wildlife concerns and questions. We offer expert advice about anything from what animals make good pets and which do not, how best to care for exotic pets, how to address animal behavior problems, and why many animals are best left to their native habitats. We have partnered with The University of Central Florida's College of BusinessAdministration's Cornerstone program helping their students learn how non-profit organizations operate. We also offer externships to students of Florida Institute of Animal Arts, where they learn new skills and complete required tasks in order to graduate. In the last few years, we have implemented a more structured volunteer program allowing our volunteers to gain the experience/training needed to be able to maximize their contributions to our organization. Some have obtained their own licensing to be able to assist on emergency animal rescues and work with some of the more dangerous animals we work with/provide sanctuary for. We are also working to launch a new CATalyst program that will not only provide funding, support and enrichment to our animals, but will also help veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, as well as others with anxiety disorders. For more information about this program, please see the ""Programs"" section of our portrait. On all of these fronts, we plan to continue to expand our efforts, but in a more structured and deliberate way. As we move into the future, The CARE Foundation looks forward to continuing our mission to be a unique and valuable resource for animals and the community alike.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

All of Central Florida

Funding Needs

Our short-term needs (before year end) include: 1. Raising an additional $25,000 to cover operational expenses from now until the end of 2014. These funds will be used to pay for food and veterinary care for our animals. Our longer-term needs (for 2015) include: 1. Raising $84,000 in additional funding to cover the cost of two new full-time employees experienced in working with a variety of wildlife, plus one part-time administrative employee. This expansion of staff is critical to providing the best quality of care to our animals, as well as allows us to accept additional animals in need. The admin. person is essential to our continuing fundraising/educational outreach efforts. 2. Raising $25,000 for new animal food prep/storage area needed to reduce food waste and contamination from pests. 3. Raising $15,000 to construct a permanent public restroom for visitors and guests. This new restroom area will be particularly important for our new CATalyst program (see the ""Programs"" section for more information). 4. Raising $20,000 for a permanent, climate-controlled food preparation area. The new food prep building will reduce cost from food/equipment loss, improve the feeding process and ensure food quality control for our animals.

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Financials

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CREATING ANIMAL RESPECT EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

The CARE Foundation

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Ms. Christina Anne Burford

BIO

In 1996, Christin Burford founded The CARE Foundation as a non-profit, 501(3)c to serve dual purpose: to provide permanent housing for exotic, non-releasable wildlife, and to serve as an educational resource to the public about wildlife conversation and management issues. Christin has been working with wild and exotic animals since she was 18 years old. She has an extensive in animal handling and care, especially working with big cats and other large predators. From a managerial perspective, Christin was the general manager of Park Hot Tub Club and Legends Bar and Grill from 1986-1990. She was the Orlando Promotions representative for Hawaiian Tropic and Popeye's Chicken. From 1992-1995, Christin was the manager and head show producer at Gator Jungle in Christmas, Florida and was responsible for restructuring their wildlife shows, redesigning housing facilities for a variety of animals, and training animals for shows. As the CEO of The CARE. Foundation, Christin has led the organization through a major relocation to their current home in Apopka, Florida. She has been the guiding force behind CARE's growth and expansion over the years. Despite the difficult economy, she has ensured that CARE provides its animals with the highest degree of care, even taking in animals from other sanctuaries/rescues that had to close due to financial difficulties. , Christin established The CARE Foundation by using funds from her ""Native Florida Wildlife"" education programs to care for several exotic ex-pets that needed homes and could not be placed with an unlicensed facility.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"As the founder of The CARE Foundation, I am extremely proud of how far the organization has come. The journey had been challenging, and there is much work that still needs to be done, but I am thrilled by all that we have achieved over the years. One thing that makes us unique is that we are both licensed/trained to handle a wide variety of animals that are extremely hard to place, including ""Reptiles of Concern."" These include the larger lizards and snakes, like the Burmese Python that can grow to be over 20 ft long and over 300 lbs. We pride ourselves on our willingness to work with difficult, abused or neglected animals that other facilities are either unwilling or unable to handle. To give you an idea of what CARE is really about, let me share a story that starts with a call for help from two distressed Florida Fish & Wildlife officers. He asked us to meet him at a very small home in the Winter Park area. An elderly couple was found, having passed away a few days earlier. They were animal hoarders with 22 large birds, 9 dogs, 5 cats and 4 monkeys. The monkeys were the biggest issue. The largest one, an under-fed Spider Monkey, was found leashed to the body of the elderly woman in great distress. The other three monkeys were all inappropriately housed, with one being kept in a small birdcage. While family members of the deceased couple were arguing about where they could sell the monkeys for the most profit, it was decided that we should take them to evaluate their health and care needs. The first thing we realized was that none of the monkeys had been outside before. So, after an already long day, we quickly built indoor floor-to-ceiling enclosures for them. Because they were also afraid of other animals, we had to relocate several other animals in the house so that the monkeys could be brought in. In the end, it was determined that given the difficult life they had already had, it would be best if the monkeys remained with us. We didn't have funds set aside for four new monkeys and the housing, feeding and veterinary resources they would require. But, that is what we do. We provide homes for animals in need and do whatever is necessary to make sure they have the highest possible quality of life. I am happy to report that all four monkeys are healthy and being given the special treatment they require given the circumstances of their earlier life. The White-Faced Capuchin has become one of our educational animals, helping enlighten the public that despite how cute and amazing they are, monkeys do not make good pets."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mrs. Connie Herdt

Community Volunteer

Term: Jan 2013 - Dec 2016

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?