Roxanne Blake of Cornelius was invited to a home jewelry party in 2009 where the host donated five percent of sales to a local animal shelter. Everyone was excited but Blake. She did the math and realized that while the donation was a nice idea, the contribution amounted to less than $30. Two weeks later Blake cleaned out her jewelry box, invited friends to do the same, hosted her own party and donated 100 percent of the sales to a local shelter. Over $2,000 was raised, and Pawbrokers, which to date has donated over $45,000 to support abused and rescued animals, was born. On the concept: Pawbrokers is all about the money, because Blake knows it’s what shelters need most. Having volunteered for rescue groups, she’s seen firsthand that funding – especially for spay and neuter programs – is crucial in conquering the rampant number of unwanted and neglected animals. Some of the local animal welfare organizations that Pawbrokers has donated money to include Paws 4 Adoption in Mooresville, Lake Norman Lucky Cats in Cornelius, and the Humane Society of Lincoln County. While Pawbrokers initially hosted in-house parties, all events are now held at public venues such as restaurants and spas. The event’s featured shelter provides the invite list, but anyone can attend. On the name: “It’s so clever it’s not even funny,” says Blake about the organization’s unique moniker. “I have to give credit to my friend Cynthia (Smith) for coming up with it.” Blake called Smith to brainstorm names and kept coming back to the idea of pawning jewelry for money. Omit the “n” and insert a paw print and the company name and logo were born. Blake hopes that one day the trademarked name makes its way into the dictionary. On the future: Blake currently works two part-time jobs, but eventually wants Pawbrokers to become her full-time career so she can help as many animals as possible. In an effort to spread the word about her organization, she’s urging supporters to contact animal rights advocate and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in the hopes she will help bring Pawbrokers’ mission to the masses. “I want to travel the country and teach people this concept,” she says. “Think of the good that could come from that.” For more information about Pawbrokers, visit www.pawbrokers.org.
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