108 California organizations applied for the Open Arms Challenge this year. They spent last month preparing—updating procedures, training staff and volunteers, engaging translators to reach more people in more languages, etc.—and are implementing their welcoming practices this month.

At a recent Open Arms Office Hours call, we heard how a  rescue is thinking of new ways to reach people in their communities (flyering and tabling at events, for example, instead of exclusively recruiting online) and a shelter is working to undo the bad feelings created by the unwelcoming policies they’re replacing. The next Open Arms Office Hours call is Thursday, April 27. Register here to attend and let us know how you’re doing. If you’ve encountered an unexpected challenge, maybe somebody else on the call will have already solved for that very thing. Or maybe you’ve discovered a great tactic you’d like to share with others.

Shelters and rescues will report on their initiatives in mid-May, and in September the 22 organizations sponsoring the Challenge will announce the winners of $420,000 in grants.

Open Arms Challenge promotional image of a family sitting on a couch with a cat