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SQSPCA announces new challenge grant

C. J. Heilig Foundation steps up to help shelter meet revised fundraising goal

COOPERSTOWN, NY – When the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) launched its SHELTER US Campaign in the fall of 2018, the organization based its preliminary fundraising goal of $2 million on renovations to the current shelter facilities.

Since that time, the SQSPCA Board of Directors determined that – due to the condition of the existing buildings and their presence in a flood plain – upgrades to the facility are not feasible as originally planned. They decided to relocate to a property on State Route 28 better suited to the organization’s needs, not far from the current site. In order to accommodate this move and to construct a new, state-of-the-art animal shelter and thrift store, the SHELTER US Campaign Committee has established a revised fundraising goal of $3 million.  

To date, the SHELTER US Campaign has surpassed all of its original milestone goals. As of the close of 2018, the Campaign Committee had exceeded its year-end target, bringing in more than $1.2 million in gifts and multi-year pledges, and earning a nod for “Outstanding Newcomer” from the Staffworks Fund of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc.

Staffworks Fund Founder and President Anita Vitullo subsequently pledged a matching challenge grant of $250,000 in April of 2019, which helped the campaign gain further momentum. SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes announced at the shelter’s groundbreaking event on Saturday, August 24 that this challenge had been met.

Poised at the $2 million mark, SQSPCA officials explained at the groundbreaking why additional expenses incurred in order to move the shelter campus from its current site to a more preferable location have pushed fund-raising requirements beyond the earlier projections.

“Our original campaign goal was based on replacement of the existing shelter buildings with a new facility on the same parcel of land. However, when property better suited to our needs became available, we simply could not let the opportunity pass us by,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.

Purchase of the new property and associated demolition and infrastructure costs are among changes in the project driving the new fund-raising target, Haynes explained.

Stepping up to further assist the SQSPCA in its capital campaign, the C.J. Heilig Foundation has just announced a matching challenge grant of its own, in the amount of $100,000. From now through November 1, the foundation will match every new donation or pledge dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000, for a total of $200,000 toward the $3 million campaign goal.

“I’ve been so impressed with all that I’ve seen and heard about this project that I thought it would be great for our foundation to provide additional incentive for donors as a follow up to the successful groundbreaking,” said Deborah LeCates, C.J. Heilig Foundation director.

“The SQSPCA meets a critical need in protecting animals across our communities. We’re honored to support this important mission,” LeCates added.

The SHELTER US project – buoyed by a $500,000 New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund Grant through the Department of Agriculture and Markets – will move the shelter and thrift store facilities 1.2 miles north of the current location on State Route 28 between Cooperstown and Oneonta. Workers broke ground in August, with a target date of summer 2020 for the move.

“This new challenge grant from our friends at the C.J. Heilig Foundation provides the perfect opportunity for folks to get involved and double their impact. To make it more convenient for our donors, we are also still accepting multi-year pledges up to five years,” said Haynes.

“Now more than ever, multi-year pledges over the span of the campaign are especially important in achieving our funding goals,” Haynes emphasized.

The new facilities will improve the daily lives of sheltered dogs and cats by better conforming to guidelines established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Upgraded features will include two entrances separating incoming animals from visitors and animals leaving for their new homes, a sterile surgery suite with safe recovery area, a fresh air ventilation system to benefit visitors as well as animals under shelter care, and more convenient parking. 

Naming opportunities are available for gifts at levels from $5,000 to $1,000,000, including dog runs, catios, dog walking trails, surgical suite with recovery room and the campus itself. 

Haynes pointed out that, while affiliated with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it is important to note that the Susquehanna SPCA is a private, independent nonprofit organization that receives no funds from the ASPCA. 

“And while we are proud to partner with Otsego County and work with a number of its municipalities, we have received no monetary support from the county to date for this project or toward operating expenses,” Haynes clarified. 

The SHELTER US Capital Campaign Committee, chaired by Cooperstown resident and former Susquehanna SPCA Board member Anne Keith, will continue to work with the SQSPCA Board of Directors and staff to secure the funds necessary to reach the revised $3 million target. 

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org 

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info@sqspca.org

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4841 NY-28
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