By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
HARTWICK SEMINARY – When it comes to taking care of animals, Stacie Haynes never gives up.
“Stacie approached me multiple times about fundraising,” said Anita Vitullo, Staffworks president and Susquehanna SPCA benefactress. “She was tenacious! But I was happy to help.”
On Tuesday, April 30, Vitullo and Haynes announced a $250,000 gift to the $2 million “Shelter Us” campaign to build a new expanded shelter building on the lot across from Smith Ford on Route 28, south of Cooperstown.
But there’s a catch.
“This gift is a challenge grant,” said Haynes. “Through Oct. 1, any grant given to us will be matched. If you give $5, she’ll give $5, and we get $10. And if we can generate $250,000 in donations, we get $500,000 towards our capital campaign.”
Donations can be made online, by mail or, ideally, in person. “We love when people stop in to bring a donation and tell their stories,” said Haynes. “And then when they come visit in our new building, they can see the difference their donation made.”
The new shelter will have a surgical suite, separate entrances for adoptions and surrenders, and rooms where potential families can meet and play with animals to find the best fit for their pet.
The site, where Judith Brown CPA’s former office and an adjacent home are located, has been purchased, and site preparations, including demolition, could begin as early as this summer.
“This new shelter will be bigger not so we can take in more animals, but so we can increase efficiency and help more animals,” said Haynes. “This way, they have a decreased length of stay and can find homes faster.”
Haynes and Vitullo first met when the Susquehanna SPCA was selected as part of Staffworks annual “Save a Life” campaign, which raises money for shelters around the state through the Holiday Season; Staffworks matches $10,000 of all funds donated.
With the “Shelter Us” drive underway, Susquehanna SPCA raised more than $75,000, winning $10,000 in matching funds, plus the $10,000 Newcomer Award. In all, the local SPCA garnered $95,949.
“This is a woman who truly cares about making a difference,” said Haynes.
“$250,000 is a lot of money,” said Vitullo. “What would make me come and give it to this shelter? Last year, when I met Stacie, I was immediately impressed with her energy.”
Vitullo founded the Community Foundation, which supports the Save a Life campaign, in 2005. “Since then, it has grown to $13 million in assets, and we have given away $2.3 million to organizations that serve at-risk animals,” she said.
Only no-kill shelters – shelters that do not kill for age or space – are eligible for Save a Life Funds. Last year, the foundation supported 18 animal organizations, this year, Vitullo said, they will donate to 25.
“Stacie called and asked us to support her,” she said. “We were so impressed with their spay and neuter program – when they got backed up, Stacie called around to try and get these animals taken care of so they could be adopted quicker.”
She also praised Haynes’ response to the Garrattsville farm animal cruelty case. “You don’t handle farm animals, but you called Springfarm Cares and now those goats and pigs live happily there. I applaud your vision and collaboration.”
“This challenge is very special,” said Haynes. “Anita is a role model and has pursued her passion for helping animals.”