COOPERSTOWN – With the support of a “generous” anonymous donor and community supper, the Susquehanna SPCA has surpassed the $100,000 dollar-for-dollar matching challenge, bringing the shelter $223,000 closer to the new shelter’s $5 million price tag.
An anonymous donor funded the challenge to help the Shelter Us campaign meet its goal.
“Thanks to the generosity of this anonymous donor – and to an incredibly supportive community that continues to amaze us – we are now only about $600,000 from the $5 million mark,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.
INDEX – With construction underway at the new Animal Shelter here, Susquehanna SPCA today announced receiving a $100,000 challenge grant, which will match every dollar contributed to the $5 million project between now and Aug. 1.
“To have an anonymous donor offer us a challenge grant of this magnitude at such a crucial time for our project is truly amazing,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.
COOPERSTOWN – Stacie Haynes couldn’t believe the size of the check Staffworks founder Anita Vitullo handed her.
“I just about fell out of my chair,” the Susquehanna SPCA executive director said. “Last year we got $95,000 and I was nervous that we wouldn’t beat that!”
The Save-a-Life campaign offers shelters a matching donation of up to $10,000, and this year, Vitullo added some extra incentives – an extra $10,000 for every $100,000 raised, with a maximum of $20,000.
In all, the animal shelter raised $236,420, making it eligible to receive a total $30,000.
“People care so much and they really stepped up,” she said. “We had three ways people could donate; to the Emergency Medical Fund we set up after we got Zoe, the Save-a-Life fund and our Capital Campaign.”
In thanks for everything that Vitullo has done for the shelter, Haynes announced the Welcome & Adoption Center will be named for the Staffworks founder.
“Anita alone has helped us leverage an incredible amount of money,” said Haynes.
Last December, Vitullo offered a $10,000 matching grant, which spurred $75,000 in donations, and at the awards presentation in January 2019, she gave an additional $10,000 “high performers” grant to the shelter.
Vitullo’s generosity continued. In April, she announced the “Shelter Us” campaign, which would match contributions up to $250,000, adding $500,000 to the coffers. “These sorts of financial contributions make a huge difference,” Haynes said.
Although the SQSPCA’s original goal was $2 million, additions to the planned project have pushed the fundraising goal to $5 million, of which they now have $3.3 million.
“We’ve had a lot of support, and we’re so grateful,” said Haynes. “But it’s always challenging. We’re trying to raise money for our capital campaign, but also we need to raise funds for our annual operations, keeping the lights and heat on and the animals fed.”
Additionally, changes to the design and location of the shelter have added costs. “We changed the location of the shelter and decided to build a new thrift store,” she said. “And we’re adding a community room.”
The community room was inspired by both necessity and generosity. “We’ve had kids who, for their birthdays, instead of presents, ask people to donate to the shelter,” she said. “And they want to have their parties here or just sit and visit with the animals, and we don’t have a space.”
Similarly, staff meetings and trainings are held in the lobby of the cramped former motorcycle shop.
“We want people to be able to come here and for us to be able to show our appreciation,” she said.
Haynes anticipates a March groundbreaking for the new shelter, and is in conversations with several people and organizations about possible campaigns. But she also encourages anyone who wants to donate to feel free to come by the shelter and drop off a donation in person.
“We love it when people come and bring donations directly to us,” she said. “That way we can show them the behind-the-scenes of the shelter so that when we build the new one, they’ll be able to see the difference their contribution made.”
“It’s a lot of work,” said Haynes. “But a lot of people have helped get us here.”
COOPERSTOWN – It hasn’t been easy, but in the year since the Susquehanna SPCA launched its “Shelter Us” capital campaign to build a new animal shelter, more than $3.2 million has been donated towards the project.
“We’ve had a lot of support, and we’re so grateful,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director. “But it’s always challenging. We’re trying to raise money for our capital campaign, but also we need to raise funds for our annual operations, keeping the lights and heat on and the animals fed.”
Although the SQSPCA’s original goal was $2 million, additions to the planned project have pushed the fundraising goal to $5 million.
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.
COOPERSTOWN – With adoptable animals, a pet photo booth and more, the Susquehanna SPCA will break ground on their new animal shelter building on Saturday, Aug,. 24
“We invite animal lovers, shelter supporters and volunteers from across the region to join us with their pets for an afternoon of fun as we celebrate this momentous occasion,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “If you’re not familiar with our work, this is also a great time to come learn about our organization and see us in action.”
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)
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.