Solicitations, by phone, mail, email or in person, are a pesky part of 21st century life.
The advantages the Susquehanna SPCA’s “Shelter Us” campaign for $3 million to build a new animal shelter are: one, the people who are running it are our neighors – we know them. And, two, everything about it is first rate.
Anita Vitullo of Clinton, Staffworks’ president and philanthropist to the pet world, underscored the many ways “Shelter Us” is top notch in her remarks Saturday, Aug. 24, at the groundbreaking on Route 28 at Index.
She talked about “dynamic leadership,” and how the shelter’s dynamo executive director, Stacie Haynes, called her and “did a good job of convincing me” to provide support. Add board chair Gaylord Dillingham and “Shelter Us” chair Anne Keith to that dynamic cadre.
Vitullo, who was announcing “Shelter Us” had raised the $250,000 needed to match her matching grant, went on to speak about commitment, and customer service, and mission – all the things that, no doubt, has made her placement company successful, too.
Add in creativity and innovation. Vitullo told how Haynes collaborated with Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. and District Attorney John Muehl in creating a county Animal Cruelty Task Force, to get ahead of some of the pet and farm-animal related fiascos of the past few years.
INDEX – So far, 100 individual contributions have been made to the new Susquehanna Animal Shelter, and more of the kind is needed to reach the new fundraising goal of $3 million, according to SSPCA Executive Director Stacie Hayes.
“It’s the individuals we have to count on,” said Haynes in the afterglow of Saturday, Aug. 24’s upbeat groundbreaking ceremony on the site across Route 28 from Kevin’s Ford. “That’s a good thing when people make individual contributions. It’s their shelter. It’s the people’s shelter.”
At the groundbreaking, Anita Vitullo of Clinton, Staffworks president and a donor to animal causes, announced her $250,000 matching grant has been met by donations, netting $500,000 toward achieving the $2 million mark.
With that mark met, and a new goal of $3 million set, SSPCA board chair Gaylord Dillingham has set an easy-to-remember deadline to complete the fund drive: Christmas Day 2019.
Because of the need to lock in the prospective shelter’s design and meet construction deadlines, “by Christmas, the first of the year, we have to have it kind of nailed down,” said Dillingham.
Some key donations are still expected, he said, but he’s unsure how large they will be. The Scriven Foundation, which focuses its philanthropy within Otsego County, has also been approached.
Susquehanna SPCA benefactor and Staffworks President Anita Vitullo, Clinton, above center, poses with SSPCA board members after announcing a few minutes ago that, dollar-for-dollar, she will match forthcoming donations to the “Shelter Us” fund drive up to $250,000. If fully realized, Vitullo’s contribution will bring the $2 million drive to build a new animal shelter to $1.75 million, only $250,000 short of its $2 million. Posing with her after the announcement at the current shelter in Hartwick Seminary are, from left, Jill Basile, Oneonta; Shannon Stockdale, Maryland; board Chairman Gaylord Dillingham, Springfield; Merilyn Gould, Morris; Executive Director Stacie Haynes, and Peter Gould, Morris. Inset, after introducing Vitullo, Haynes hugs her as the benefactor prepares to make the announcement. The new state-of-the-art shelter will be located on Route 28 next to St. Mary’s Cemetery. More details in this week’s Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta, on newsstand tomorrow afternoon. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Raising more than $75,000 in donations as part of the Staffworks “Save a Life” campaign, the Susquehanna Animal Shelter was one of the top performers of the fund drive, receiving an additional $10,000 towards their capital project on top of the $10,000 in matching funding for a total of $95,949.
“We didn’t raise the most, but Anita felt like we did so well as newcomers that she gave us an extra $10,000 anyways!” said Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna SPCA executive director.
In December, Staffworks founder Anita Vitullo announced the campaign, which aimed to match up to $10,000 in donations for animal advocacy organizations around the state, in December.
“I’m so honored to be in a community that rallied the way they did,” said Haynes. “The difference this money can make is amazing.”
COOPERSTOWN – Raising more than $75,000 in donations as part of the Staffworks “Save a Life” campaign, the Susquehanna Animal Shelter was one of the top performers of the fund drive, receiving an additional $10,000 towards their capital project on top of the $10,000 in matching funding for a total of $95,949.
When the Susquehanna SPCA learned last February it had won $500,000 from Governor Cuomo’s Companion Animal Capital Fund, Executive Director Stacie Haynes sought bids to upgrade the aging shelter in Hartwick Seminary.
To a person, all of the prospective contractors said: Don’t spend a half-million on this building, Haynes related the other day in an interview leading up to the
announcement in this week’s edition of “Shelter Us,” a $2 million capital campaign to build a brand new animal shelter.
A tour the other day brought the insurmountable challenges of the compound at 4841 Route 28 into focus.
One, there’s not enough room. But, two, the particle-board walls and semi-porous concrete floors are simply impossible to keep clean. All the scrubbing by staff and volunteers can’t remove the stains, mold and smell. In effect, the complex is generally worn out.
It’s time for a change.
This year, the shelter proved its worth – if there was ever any doubt:
• On Friday the 13th of April, shelter volunteers were called to a nightmarish scene at a farm near Garrattsville to oversee the emergency relocation of 103 starving and neglected animals – donkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, Pyrenees, even a parakeet.
• On Wednesday, May 16, Fox Hospital discovered 19 kittens in a plastic bag in a restroom, abandoned. Haynes’ assistance, Becca Daly of Oneonta, took over the care of the 5-day-old cats, and the SPCA found foster homes for the other 14.
• On Tuesday, Oct. 2, sheriff’s deputies rescued 53 tiny Lhasa Apsos packed in a Milford home, and dropped them off for medical care at the shelter. Within a week, the animals had been put on the path to health and adoption.
• Just 20 days later, on Monday, Oct. 22, a shelter team retrieved four pigs left in a shed at the far end of a dirt road in Laurens.
All this is done by a modest professional staff, assisted by more than 100 volunteers, people like Arlene Nygren of Goodyear Lake, young Bob Wood (not the supervisor) of Oneonta, Cat Chicorelli of Cherry Valley, Betty Steele of Hartwick, and many more – our neighbors, contributing selflessly to Otsego County’s greater good.
This requires a substantial budget, a little over $600,000 this year. About $100,000 comes from foundations, but the rest through revenues from a well-run thrift shop, fund-raising programs and donations.
A tiny part of this money – about $7,500 a year – comes from individual contracts with 18 towns to take care of animals seized by dog-control officers. While deputies and state troopers drop off animals as necessary, no operating funds come from county and state coffers.
For almost 100 years now, the Susquehanna SPCA has been largely a volunteer effort, funded by people who care. In the difficult decade our nation has gone through, here’s an example of good citizenship that shines bright.
Now, we all have the opportunity to get involved, through “Shelter Us.”
The $2 million campaign is off to a good start with the $500,000 grant, and another $180,000 donated through the “quiet phase” of the campaign. Now, the public is being invited to give, to ensure a quality future for an organization that has proved its worth to the Otsego County community at large.
The beauty of “Shelter Us” is there’s an opportunity and a need for everyone to contribute according to our means. The important thing is to make this one-time contribution now.
The original plan was to launch the campaign in the new year, but an opportunity has arisen: Anita Vitullo of the Utica area, founder of Staffworks, which has an Oneonta office, has offered to match a dollar for every dollar donated in December, up to $10,000, to “Shelter Us.”
So double your money – and the shelter’s – by donating during the month of December.
The Susquehanna SPCA has been serving the community for 100 years. Now’s the time to build a foundation for the second hundred years for an institution that’s not only essential, but widely revered.