REGION — The San Diego Foundation has announced a $90,000 grant for the 2023 CNN Hero of the Year, San Diego-based veterinarian Dr. Kwane Stewart.
Stewart, who was named the Hero of the Year in a ceremony last week, was awarded $100,000 for the honor. He then decided to split the grant funding with the other nine finalists, taking just $10,000 for Project Street Vet, an Encinitas-based nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness care for their pets by providing free veterinary care, treatment and support.
“I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian my whole life, since I was a child,” Stewart said at the award ceremony. “I’m so lucky to be doing what I’m doing.”
According to actor Amanda Seyfried, who hosted the 17th annual CNN awards and spoke about Stewart’s life story, his activism started more than a decade ago when he saw a homeless man and his dog outside a 7-11. Stewart asked if he could do a check-up on the dog and was able to treat a skin condition on the spot.
“Thank you for not ignoring me,” were the words Stewart said the man offered, steering him to his new path treating the pets of those experiencing homelessness in the community.
“It doesn’t matter what your situation is – I see a pet in need, and I see a person who cares for them dearly who just needs some help,” Stewart said while accepting the award.
As CNN Hero of the Year, Stewart will also be named an Elevate Prize winner, which comes with $300,000 in unrestricted funding and resources from The Elevate Prize Foundation.
“The work of Dr. Kwane Stewart is commendable, touching countless lives of the most vulnerable among us and their beloved pets,” said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of San Diego Foundation. “We hope this grant will help him continue to make a difference in the community and inspire others through his commitment and acts of selflessness.”
The grant is from The Linda C. Scott Fund for Animal Welfare at the San Diego Foundation. According to the foundation, Scott was a North County philanthropist who dedicated the fund “to support and care for dogs and cats in San Diego, North County.”
Scott died in 2016.
The foundation partners with donors to set up legacy funds. Planned gifts are established during the donors’ lifetime but are not realized until they pass away.