By Kate Atwood

Her voice and face is one of the most recognizable in radio and television as an anchor and correspondent for CNN, but when she’s not delivering the news, Holly Firfer is giving back to the community through her love of animals.

In the years that I have known Holly, she has amazed me with her compassion and commitment to her philanthropy.  While Holly supports a variety of causes, her living by giving passion can most prominently be found in her loyalty to animals in need.  I caught up with Holly to find out more about why giving is so important in her life.

You are really committed to helping our furry friends. What motivates you around this cause?

I try to do as much as I can to help any charity in need, usually donating my time to volunteer or host events. I am so lucky to work in an environment where I meet so many great people, which affords me the opportunity to get involved with many causes. Helping animals is very important to my husband Shawn and me. We are huge animal lovers, so anything that has to do with animal rescue or animal wellbeing – you can count us in!

Is there a time in your life when your helping someone else ended up boosting your own life?

Her name is Kashmir, and she is the sweetest Pitbull mix you will ever meet.  She was hours away from being put to sleep at an over-crowed shelter. We volunteered to watch Kashmir for a few days and we fell in love. She has been with us ever since.  She made me realize how many wonderful, healthy dogs are put down daily. It breaks my heart to know that she was going to be killed simply because she had no home. We have given her a home, but she given us a capacity to love that we had never known.

You have chosen to integrate giving back in so much of what you do, from your work life to your personal life. What is your living by giving dream?

I have two. First, my dream would be to cure cancer. I lost someone very close to me in 2001 to cancer, so I will do anything to help raise money to find a cure. My dream is someday for the generation of our grandkids to ask, “What was cancer?” Second, I would love for schools to require volunteerism as a part of education. No one is too young to learn compassion and giving.  In order to solve many of the world’s problems, every generation needs to understand their role in society and how we are all interconnected.

For those who have not discovered a way to give back in their life, what would you suggest they do to take that first step?

Figure out what you love to do. What makes you happy? Is it playing with animals? Is it playing with children? Is it working out and exercising? Then find an activity that allows you to give back doing what you love. I would also suggest bringing a friend. How many times do you make plans with someone, then ask, “So what do you want to do?” Instead of going shopping or to lunch, why not volunteer together?

Holly’s 3 Tips to Bettering the Lives of our Animals in Need

1.  Animal Shelters always could use a helping hand. Volunteer to walk or play with the dogs and cats, help them clean up to keep the area clean and safe for the animals, and if you can, raise money for them to keep feeding the animals there.

2.  Find rescue organizations like Our Pals Place and Homeless Pets and see if they need help with the animals, specifically on adoption days. Another way to volunteer is to be a foster for a dog or cat until they find them a permanent home.

3.  Be an advocate for animal rights. Spread the word of the organizations that are helping. When they need help with an issue, post it on your Facebook page or tweet about it to help them. This is where my big mouth helps and yours can too!

Holly will be hosting the Georgia SPCA’s 3rd Annual Benefit Bash on Aug. 18at the Gwinnett Center. For tickets and information, visit You can also check out for the latest news.

Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “Living by Giving: CNN’s Holly Firfer supports animals”

  1. Holly, I am so happy to read of your efforts on behalf of the dogs and cats. Karen was very, very fond of both you and your husband. I just saw you do a Health report here in Grand Rapids, mich. on FOX 17 -wonderful. We miss our Karen so much, but we know her love of all our pets lives on in people like you. Though we now live in Michigan, I continue to work with the dogs and cats as best I can through my volunteer efforts with the Humane Society of Western Michigan here in Grand Rapids. Thank you and God Bless you. Tom Brinker

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