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Inspire & Flourish

Fostering hope, one rescue dog at a time

Article by Amanda Wagner

Photography by Vivek Narula and Deb Bernard

Originally published in Eagan City Lifestyle

"Everything I do in my life has to do with my past,” shares Steffany Fleming, the founder and executive director of Inspire & Flourish, a nonprofit organization supporting dog rescues. 

For Steffany, running a nonprofit is just as important as a for-profit business, and it’s hard work. The very nature of the organization means fundraising is always top of mind. Especially when it determines the extent of your impact. Steffany's tireless efforts have not only had an impact on the lives of countless dogs but also inspired a community to come together and make a difference in their own way.

While Steffany's original focus was on both children and animal-related causes, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic led her to shift her attention to animal rescue. This decision proved to be transformative, as the animal rescue side of her organization flourished. She recognized the vulnerability of rescue dogs and the immense effort it takes to prepare them for adoption, so they can ultimately live a long and full life.

Her dedication to the animal rescue community is unparalleled. While Minnesota remains her primary focus, Steffany believes in building relationships wherever she goes. “I believe that working together and supporting each other is what makes us all successful.”

She has traveled far and wide, driving thousands of miles each month to transport dogs to rescues or foster homes.  She collaborates with sanctuaries and has even transported raccoons and pigs to safety.

Steffany truly understands the unique needs of different rescues and works tirelessly to provide them with essential supplies such as blankets and cages. She utilizes platforms like Petfinder to ensure that those seeking an animal companion are connected with the right rescue.

She is also a problem solver. When she was tired of asking for money, she turned to her for-profit business for ongoing financial support. Five years ago, she decided to use Mobile Memories, her photo booth business, to fund her efforts at Inspire & Flourish, providing consistent funds for the nonprofit.

Steffany's innovative approach allows her to balance her business commitments and philanthropic endeavors effectively. Her photo booths cater to all types of events, from weddings and graduations to school events and more, maximizing the potential to generate consistent funds for her nonprofit.

These funds make her efforts possible. Whether it's providing vital medical care, including antibiotics, or hosting spaying and neutering clinics, she has an inventory of supplies and is always open to whatever is offered to her because someone in her network will have a need.

She occasionally embarks on international projects too, because she recognizes that funds can stretch further in other parts of the world. This allows her to make a significant impact where it's needed the most.

How can I help?

One of the highlights of Inspire & Flourish's calendar is the annual Fashions for Furry Friends fundraiser held each February. Designers from around the world create exquisite outfits for dogs, which are showcased alongside adoptable dogs. The event has something for everyone, from apps and a cash bar, to a silent auction and even opportunities to bring home a furry friend.

Throughout the year, Inspire & Flourish organizes auxiliary events and maintains an online store, aptly named Fashions for Furry Friends, offering a variety of merchandise to support their cause. Steffany actively engages with schools and churches, fosters partnerships, and welcomes volunteers. Donations, whether toys, beds, or food, are always welcome and thoughtfully distributed to ensure they find the best possible homes.