Last updated: June 04. 2014 1:13PM - 54 Views
By Carol Girberd HSDC Grants Coordinator



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Two years ago, I became involved with HSDC when I began volunteering on Saturdays. In December 2013, I was hired as the Grants Coordinator and truly love the thrill of discovering grant opportunities for our shelter. It’s even more thrilling when I find out we received a grant.


One of the most exciting shelter competition grants I was fortunate enough to find in my inbox was the “ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge”. It took quite a bit of time to fill out the long questionnaire, but it was actually kind of fun for me because I learned so much about our shelter while compiling the basic, but numerous, answers with shelter director Heidi Myers. We submitted the application and crossed our fingers.


We were pleasantly surprised when we received an invitation to participate in a telephone interview with one of the judges. These questions were far more in-depth, but gave us a great opportunity to share information about our shelter policies and protocols. We were also asked how we handle such things as euthanasia, shelter-to-shelter transfers and adoptions.


Our application and the phone interview met the criteria and landed a place in line. Shelters were then chosen based on first-come, first-serve. We could barely believe it when we learned we made the cut, and consider ourselves very blessed to be one of only 50 shelters participating in the contest. June, July and August are going to be busy months full of excitement, special events and lots of adoption specials. We know we’re up to the challenge. Are you?


That’s right. HSDC needs YOUR help to win one of the many prizes and grants ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. We are competing against nine other shelters within our Division, and only 49 overall. We have a good chance of winning — and the animals who find new homes will definitely win.


One of the areas we’ll be judged on is community involvement; that’s where we need your help and support. We’ll be tracking and reporting adoption numbers and event participation rates, as well as how involved the community becomes through volunteerism, financial support, donation of services, and even helping to advertise the Challenge for us.


But our biggest, most important goal is to find 600 animals their forever homes between June 1 and August 31. That would be nearly twice as many adoptions as last year. Even if we don’t reach the goal, we will be judged based on the percentage of increase in the number of lives saved compared to last year. If we happen to have the highest increase in our Division, we will win $25,000. If we have the largest increase among all the participating shelters, we will win the $100,000 “Grand Prize.


Furthermore, there are so many other ways we can win grants ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. (We’ll receive $1,000 just for complying with all the rules and completing the competition.) So when we say WE NEED YOUR HELP TO WIN, we mean it! You can even start today by sharing this article with a friend so they can learn about The Challenge, too.


The contestant in each division that achieves the largest increase in the number of lives saved over their baseline data will be eligible for a $25,000 Best in Division grand prize.


Shelters will be judged on a few things, including community participation, how many volunteers we have, how much we get the community involved (volunteering, support, in the form of money, time, and offers of advertising,and community activities that we are involved in), and of course adoptions. We need to increase our percentage of adoptions for June through August, over what we did during the same period last year. Ideally we double it, but any increase will help. The shelter (from each division, and those are based on shelter intake) that increases their percentage of good adoptions (no returns) during that time will win the grand prize.


Prizes include the following: Month One Fast Start Prizes: $5,000 Grants to the shelter that saves the most animals the first month (per division) wins this award; Save 300 More Lives: $5000 Grant to every shelter that increases lives saved by 300; Community Engagement: $25,000 to the shelter that does the best job of getting its community members involved and saves at least 300 lives. The winner is selected from three finalists by the Community Engagement by voting held August 15 and 31; Second Place in Division $15,000 in Grants to the Shelter in each division that comes in second place in adoption percentage increase; Best in Division: $25,000 to the shelter that saves the most in each division (could also be the first place overall); Most Improved Player: $10,000 Grant in each division to the shelter with greatest percentage over the year before, not eligible for grant prize; and We Did It Grant: $1,000 to all shelters that save 300 more lives and submit final data on time. It is for a leadership level staff person to attend the Challenge Debrief at the SAWA annual conference in Texas.


What could we win: The HSDC can win a variety of monetary amounts, from $5,000 - $100,000, including the following:


Prizes include the following:


* Month One Fast Start Prizes: $5,000 Grants to the shelter that saves the most animals the first month (per division) wins this award;


* Save 300 More Lives: $5000 Grant to every shelter that increases lives saved by 300;


* Community Engagement: $25,000 to the shelter that does the best job of getting its community members involved and saves at least 300 lives. The winner is selected from three finalists by the Community Engagement by voting held August 15 and 31;


* Second Place in Division: $15,000 in Grants to the Shelter in each division that comes in second place in adoption percentage increase;


* Best in Division: $25,000 to the shelter that saves the most in each division (could also be the first place overall);


* Most Improved Player: $10,000 Grant in each division to the shelter with greatest percentage over the year before, not eligible for grant prize; and


* We Did It Grant: $1,000 to all shelters that save 300 more lives and submit final data on time. It is for a leadership level staff person to attend the Challenge Debrief at the SAWA annual conference in Texas.


What will the HSDC do with the money when we win? Our plan to use the money is to renovate our dog kennels with stainless steel/glass fronts to benefit the dogs in our care. It will make them more comfortable and help them look better for potential adoptees.


Upcoming HSDC events will include a Kick-Off event, a monthly “Picnic”, Weekly Specials, Scratch-off Tickets, Special Adoption Prices, Animal of the Week, and more


How the community can help us win? They can help us by sharing on Facebook, coming out to volunteer, fostering, helping transport animals, participating in On the Go events to get our dogs out in the community, and — most importantly by adopting and getting the word out to everyone to adopt.

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