In our “Give BOLDLY” series, we highlight local residents who are dedicated to making a difference in our communities. From volunteering at a food bank to running a nonprofit, and everywhere in-between, these individuals are passionately giving back through their philanthropic efforts. In this installment, we speak with Angela Mincolla, founder of Angela’s Ark.
TEXT BY Jasmine Bible + PHOTOGRAPHY BY Noelle Pierce
As a child, Angela Mincolla refused to attend her friends’ birthday parties unless her guinea pig, Snickers, was invited. Mincolla had every type of pet you can imagine—cats, dogs, iguanas, goats, ferrets, gerbils. “I used to put presentations together. I’m talking handmade informational packets and a sales pitch to convince my parents why we needed another animal, which thanks to my saint of a mother, usually resulted in a new pet,” laughs Mincolla.
Two decades later, her lifelong passion for animals led to the opening of her nonprofit, Angela’s Ark. After years of volunteering for various animal rescues in Charlotte, NC, people in her community knew that if a wild animal was in need, Mincolla was the one to call. In 2017, she took a course to become a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator for the State of North Carolina. “If someone finds orphaned or injured wildlife, they can reach out to me directly via the NC state website,” explains Mincolla. She then rescues, rehabs, and releases the animals back into the wild. Th e animals she most often rescues? Small wildlife mammals like cottontail rabbits, opossums, and squirrels. “It’s so hard to let them go back into the wilderness, not knowing if they are going to be okay. Often times we’ve raised them since before they opened their eyes, but we have to trust that they are meant to be on their own in the wild,” shares Mincolla.
At the same time, friends started reaching out when they found a dog or saw a cat in a shelter, knowing that Mincolla would help find them a loving home. She’s fostered more dogs and cats than she can even count. Wanting to expand her rescuing abilities without limiting her work to just domestic pets or wildlife animals, she decided to open Angela’s Ark in 2019. The nonprofit rescue helps animals within a two-hour radius of Charlotte, including the Lake Norman area. Mincolla explains, “The name, Angela’s Ark, refers to being all inclusive—all animals on board.” Mincolla has now expanded beyond her own home and has families in Charlotte and the surrounding areas that are able to foster domestic pets, which lets Angela’s Ark continue to grow. They work with high-kill shelters to pull urgent dogs, assist in owner surrender situations, and also off er funding for spaying and neutering.
“Helping to raise awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering is a core part of our mission,” says Mincolla. The nonprofit is 100% donation based, raising money through various fundraisers and animal adoption events. “Helping animals find their forever homes is such a rewarding experience. It’s the final step of a sometimes long and painful process—from rescuing the animal from neglect, taking them through medical or behavioral rehabilitation, then finally matching them with their forever family. It’s so wonderful,” shares Mincolla. The nonprofi t hosts get togethers and meetups for Ark families, allowing them to stay in touch and witness the new beautiful lives that these animals have found.
Mincolla’s long term vision is to obtain land and create a farm sanctuary and rehabilitation center, rescuing discarded farm animals and allowing them to happily live out their lives. “Basically, I’m living my 6-year-old self’s wildest dreams,” says Mincolla. You can hear the smile in her voice.
Eager to help the animals in your area? Mincolla suggests finding local animal rescues and following their social media pages so you can see their events and share adoptable animals. Offer to volunteer with transportation—taking dogs to vet visits or relocating animals to a foster home. Monetary donations are always welcome, and of course fostering is a wonderful way to give back (and enjoy doggie snuggles. Bonus!).
*Animal photos courtesy of Angela’s Ark’s Instagram Feed.