As a brand new nonprofit, SitStaySpeakOut.org (SSSO) is laser-focused on bringing its first project to fruition — especially since that project, A Voice for Lil Olive, aims to become “the definitive film about puppy mills.”
However, SSSO executive director Tom Young is already starting to look to the future as well. Because even if SitStaySpeakOut.org only handles one project at a time — as is planned for the early days of the foundation — there will come a day when A Voice for Lil Olive is complete. In fact, with production already underway, that day very well may come in the next six months or so.
When that happens, SSSO will begin a new era. So what efforts might it fund to further advance the cause of educating people about pet-related issues?
“It would be people that are doing videos, movies, possibly things like podcasts and radio shows,” Young says. “We would want to support them to reach as wide an audience as possible, so we can educate people through media sources to take action and to take stands.”
Generally speaking, Young says, SSSO will give priority to people working on projects independently (as opposed to those representing established nonprofits with pre-existing revenue sources). He also envisions the foundation’s geographic interests to be the U.S. and Canada. Otherwise, though, would-be applicants will find “no limitations, really.”
“Let’s say that you have a story to tell on Facebook about your pet and about something that happened, and you wanted to turn that story into a series of [educational] YouTube videos,” Young says. “And you wanted to reach thousands of people through YouTube videos. That would be a great thing for us to support. …
“If someone came to us and was going to do a movie on the mill issue around cats, that would be a great one for us as well. Say someone wanted to do a documentary on the trend right now where celebrities have farms where they’re rescuing animals from all different kinds of sources. That would be another story we would support.”
While celebrities may wind up as subjects in a future SSSO project, Young also is seeking their support of SSSO itself. He and his leadership team continue to speak with high-profile people with histories of speaking out for animals. Having famous faces attached to a cause, he says, is “important for anyone who’s going to try to educate the public.”
Eventually, Young predicts, SSSO will grow to the point where filmmakers, podcast producers and other creatives are asked to formally apply for funding via a registration process or submission form. A board of directors — which, it should be noted, is currently being assembled — would evaluate all proposals and make awards.
For now, though, those interested in future SSSO support are welcome to start a conversation with Young by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. While these are early days for the foundation, Young and company are all about learning and listening. After all, Young says that when it comes to animal maltreatment, “We want to deal with the core problem — and the core problem is public awareness and education.”