In April, we interview Jill Talladay, Executive Director, CARE for the Cape & Islands.
Why (and when) did you found CARE for the Cape & Islands?
I was inspired while assisting with a Travelers’ Philanthropy Conference in Costa Rica in 2011 where a similar initiative in Monteverde had recently been launched. The program engaged visitors through the local business community that helped deepen their connection with the destination and support its preservation through volunteering, financial donations and sharing their expertise. I thought “why aren’t we doing this on Cape Cod?” and CARE was formed in 2012.
What have been some of your proudest accomplishments?
Bringing a diverse group of organizations together from 15 towns and two islands to collaborate through our Take Care Cape Cod program (TakeCareCapeCod.org). We’ve raised awareness on plastic pollution, litter and waste issues through seven bi-annual educational and solution based summits to help drive behavior change. I’m also proud that we have been able to award more than $80,000 to fund 50 plus projects Cape and Islands-wide and activated 4,200 plus volunteer hours to benefit our community.
What are the challenges running a nonprofit?
Our greatest challenge is having the capacity/resources to accomplish our mission. There are so many things we wish to accomplish and there are many nonprofits on Cape Cod, all competing for the same funding and talent. It can be challenging to get attention in such a crowded environment, which is why part of our mission is to pull together like-minded organizations to collaborate, and increase our collective impact.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing the results/impact of our work. Sometimes it’s an “aha” moment at one of our Summits, in a classroom, or at a community event, sometimes it’s seeing a restaurant or hotel realize how they can improve their sustainability, and sometimes it’s something simple, like a friend who excitedly tells me about changes they’ve made in their lifestyle to reduce their footprint.
Where would you like to take the organization next?
CARE would like to be recognized as the leader in sustainability for Cape Cod & the Islands through increased visibility and more participation in our stewardship program. We are working to expand our staff, board and volunteer base to achieve that. In 2022, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary by installing 10 water filling stations across the region, doubling the 10 we installed in our first 10 years. Americans use nearly three million plastic water bottles every hour of every day so this can add up to a significant impact. By the end of the year, these water filling stations will have displaced thousands of single-use plastic water bottles!
For more information about CARE for the Cape & Islands call 508-760-8187 or visit careforthecapeandislands.org
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