Pleasanton Weekly

News - August 5, 2011

Valley Humane Society raises $175,000, will stay open

Businesses, public step forward with major contributions

by Jeb Bing

The Valley Humane Society has received $175,000 in donations since announcing last week that it might have to shut down operations and lay off staff without an immediate infusion of $125,000 by month's end, its executive director said this week.

"We received one check for $125,000 last Saturday and deposited it Monday, so we're waiting for it to clear," said VHS Director Melanie Sadek.

In addition, several local businesses and organizations are hosting promotions to raise donations for the center. They include Roundtable Pizza in downtown Pleasanton, Precision Auto Repair on Wyoming Street, TGI Friday's in the Rose Pavilion, Sophia Jewelry, Lynnewood Methodist Church and Pet Food Express.

"But even with these contributions, the Valley Humane Society is still in need of ongoing community support," Sadek said. "Before we launched our SOS campaign we were on the verge of bankruptcy."

"Now that it looks as if we have topped that $125,000 goal, we are hoping to secure the shelter beyond that one-month mark," she added. "This will allow us to implement a number of coordinated fundraising events and education programs, which should start to put us in a more fiscally healthy situation."

As for the special funding promotions, Roundtable Pizza will donate 25% of every customer's bill all day on Sunday, Aug. 14, and from 4-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18. To qualify, patrons must have a copy of the Pleasanton Weekly articles on the Valley Human Society that appeared in the July 29 edition or this issue.

VHS also distributed eligibility fliers at its booth Wednesday evening at the First Wednesday street party. It is also posting the flier both on its Facebook page and website. These can be printed out and presented with the food order at the Roundtable Pizza counter.

Precision Auto Repair will match all donations dropped off to its facility for a limited period.

TGI Fridays in Pleasanton is having two all-day fundraising events, one next Tuesday and a second one on Thursday with 20% of all customer orders to be donated to VHS. As with Roundtable Pizza, fliers must be shown to qualify.

In addition, 10% of all sales to customers who make purchases on the Lia Sophia jewelry website Saturday, Aug. 13, at will go to VHS.

Lynnewood Methodist Church also will encourage donations to VHS during its free Blessing of the Animals at 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 28, at the church, which is located at 4444 Black Ave. in Pleasanton.

Sadek said programs such as these that will help her organization weather the weak economy and declining rates of contributions. She said the animal shelter has seen its donation totals dip 30% so far this year after dropping 25% in 2010. Tied with an increased demand for pet care and shelter from people losing their homes, this has put the shelter in a financial bind.

"Community members realized the urgency," Sadek said, and stepped up to help the struggling animal shelter.

"We've had little kids come up and give us a dollar out of their piggy bank," Sadek said. "I never thought we would get this response from the community."

Part of the fundraising effort also will involve offering new educational courses that included Scout camps, corporate development and veterinary health and wellness courses. Her goal is for these courses to become a major portion of the center's continuous fundraising. The shelter is also planning a Halloween event and a dog walk to raise money.

Sadek hopes to make "a better shelter than we had before."

The shelter moved into a new 5,200-square-foot facility in May, a new building along with the land it sits on Nevada Street that was made possible by a donation by the late Joyce Keeler of Livermore.

The humane society has an operating budget of $500,000 and has been open since 1987. It serves the Tri-Valley area, which includes Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore, but has taken in animals from all over the Bay Area.

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