Community Profiles: B Corp Leader & Social Pioneer Dr Alicia Kennedy

“Philanthropy is becoming embedded in the fabric of our community through purpose-driven business models.” – Dr Alicia Kennedy 

Not all vets are able to claim Jane Goodall as a close mentor and friend. Let alone serve the Jane Goodall Institute in both China and as a Founding Director in Australia. But social pioneer Dr Alicia Kennedy is not your average vet. 

Dr Kennedy is fast becoming one of the leading go-to sources for solving some of the complex challenges that relate to supporting the pets of vulnerable people (elderly, disabled, mentally unwell, homeless and domestic violence victims).

While it might sound like a niche specialisation, due to Australia having one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, along with an ageing population, it is fast becoming a most pressing social issue.

As a vet of 30 years, Dr Kennedy has long been observing the growing need for a community-centred veterinary service that provided special support for senior clients, and elevated the conversation with scientific proof in hand that pets improve human health and wellbeing, support independent living and reduce social isolation and loneliness.

So rather than waiting around for someone else to solve it, she created Cherished Pets as a dual entity organisation in 2015, which comprises both a social benefit, purpose-driven business and a separate charitable entity Cherished Pets Foundation.

“The Foundation enables us to do three things: to operate a volunteer program that connects eligible clients with volunteers who provide in-home pet care, transport, companionship and respite care. It also enables us to fund research and development projects; and to raise funding to support service delivery for eligible elderly and disabled people living in the community,” she says.

“It is through this model that we have a flow of funding that means people can pay what they can afford, and can also donate what they are able. Those who can afford to pay are supporting those less fortunate and we are all united in our shared love of pets.”

Further testament to her social pioneering spirit was Cherished Pets becoming the world’s first certified B Corporation veterinary service last year, which has positioned the business in the companion pet industry as a global leader of environmental and social ethical business practice.

“When I discovered the B Corp community, I knew I had found my business home as this values-aligned community recognises the power of business to become a force for good.
“Becoming a B Corp lined up with my values and my purpose. I believe so firmly and passionately that business is where the solutions lie for a kinder, sustainable and just planet.

The B Corp community is full of people who are purpose driven and heart aligned. 

Alicia, like others here, embodies the way in which philanthropy has shifted.

“It has moved from something we did at the end of our lives after we had created wealth (if we had been fortunate enough to do so) to something that we do every day through our choices and actions as consumers and citizens.

“It’s about having enough and not having it all, and about sharing. Every decision we make has an impact and makes a difference, and philanthropy is becoming embedded in the fabric of our community through purpose-driven business models.”


Guest blogger - Dr Alicia Kennedy 
27 July 2018

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