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Historic $3.1 Million Dollar Grant To End Preventable Animal Suffering In Berks County

Sep 10, 2018 • by Humane Pennsylvania
Partners for a Humane Pennsylvania

Reading, PA – Humane Pennsylvania, the region’s largest partnership of animal welfare organizations, is excited to announce the acceptance of its largest gift to date – a $3.1 million dollar grant from The Giorgi Family Foundation. The grant will be gifted over three years and represents the single largest effort to advance animal welfare in Berks County.  It is also among the largest single gifts made in support of animal welfare services in U.S. history.

The grant’s purpose is to eliminate preventable companion animal suffering by undercutting its root causes.  The grant will provide for the complete reconstruction of Humane Pennsylvania’s animal shelter at The Humane Society of Berks County, vastly expand progressive community veterinary services for Reading area families, and bolster Humane Pennsylvania’s ability to prepare for local, regional and national emergencies and disasters that impact animals.

“Thanks to the generosity of The Giorgi Family Foundation and their belief in our vision, we will now be able expand our services into Reading and Berks County to a far greater extent than we ever have before,” says Karel Minor, Chief Executive Officer. “The key to solving the problems facing animals in our community is to provide comprehensive and intensive services, with resources and facilities which fully support them. We’ve had a 21st century vision but we’ve only had 20th century resources. The Giorgi Family Foundation’s gift changes everything.”

The gift will enhance Humane Pennsylvania’s “Healthy Pets, Healthy Lives” initiative, and will target key factors leading to preventable animal suffering and death, including preventative veterinary care, universal identification, universal sterilization services, robust disaster response capability, comprehensive community pet data collection, pet food security, and more.  These mission services will be developed and rolled out swiftly and broadly for maximum impact.

“The Giorgi Family Foundation is pleased to support Humane Pennsylvania’s innovative program which will make a profound impact in our community.  We have been impressed by Humane Pennsylvania’s leadership, passion, and systematic approach to tackling the core colleges of animal welfare, and the Foundation is excited about the potential of this grant.” – Peter Giorgi, The Giorgi Family Foundation

Necessary shelter renovations are critically important for The Humane Society of Berks County’s animal shelter, in order to provide improved housing areas and care facilities for the animals it serves. In addition, the renovations and rebuild of the shelter’s old veterinary service areas will deliver dramatically expanded service capabilities to animals in the community. These efforts will ensure safe and healthy housing for community animals.

“We estimate this capital project to cost around $1 million dollars,” said Minor. “The Giorgi Family Foundation is committing $600,000 to our rebuild and we are actively seeking a match from our local community of $1 dollar for every $3 dollars the Foundation has dedicated to the rebuild. That lead gift, in addition to another $100k we’ve raised, is enough for us to officially announce our capital campaign to rebuild our shelter. We are very thankful to our donors who have pledged their support to this campaign, and we can’t express our gratitude enough to The Giorgi Family Foundation for believing in our organization.” 

The Giorgi Family Foundation previously gifted $75,000 to Humane Pennsylvania as part of its Healthy Pets, Healthy Lives initiative to provide free vaccination and microchip clinics in the city, extend free spay/neuter services to the community, and give financial assistance to families who could not afford veterinary services for their pets. Humane Pennsylvania provided services to about 1,500 pets with their initial grant from The Giorgi Family Foundation.

In addition, Humane Pennsylvania plans to fully meet the community’s need for its Spike’s Pets Pantry program to ensure regular pet food availability so no pet goes hungry, and will increase the Berks County Animal Response Team’s disaster response capability from its current capacity to handle approximately 50 animals to 1,000 animals during natural disasters and emergencies.

“The need is obvious,” said Minor. “The number of pets we could accommodate at our free and reduced clinics last year was beyond our capacity and unfortunately we had to turn people away because each clinic filled up so quickly. We knew the impact we wanted to have in the lives of local families and their animals would require us to strive for more support than ever before.  A ‘one at a time’ approach isn’t working.  We need an ‘all of the animals, right now’ approach.”

Those services call for a significant ramping up of work to include short term ten-fold increase in The Humane Society of Berks County’s volume of community veterinary services, providing ready free access to charitable sterilization services to all dogs and cats living in below poverty line households in Reading, and delivering ready affordable sterilization services to all dogs and cats living in above poverty line households in Reading.  Humane Pennsylvania’s objective is to provide 100% service delivery within three years, after which services will level off. The overarching goal of the initiative is to dramatically decrease the number of pets entering and dying in shelters in BerksCounty.

Humane Pennsylvania has already begun actively reaching out to other animal welfare organizations in Berks County, including Animal Rescue League of Berks County, in order to fully leverage the success of its unique models and share the opportunities provided under this grant. “Humane Pennsylvania will build the best community anywhere to be an animal.  But the problems facing animals span our entire community. The solutions require community wide partnerships.”

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