The Friends of Cedaredge Animal Control has accomplished everything the community and town government have asked of it, and the organization continues to do more.
And even so, available funding for the organization is declining.
FCAC has removed the nuisance of stray animals from town streets helping to create a cleaner, safer community. It has found independent sources of funding to lessen the taxpayers' financial burden for the public service FCAC provides.
And still, FCAC continues giving back to the community with compassionate care for its homeless animals, with adoption services that benefit pet owners as much as their pets, with rigorous stewardship of its resources, and with support of town government services.
But FCAC's notable record of achievement and service has not made it immune to the recent economic downturn, and now its revenues from donations and grants are showing decline.
"We can afford to operate and we are paying our bills," says FCAC board president Larry Dumler. "But we are using saved funds to do it. Already we can see that in grant funding and local contributions the trend is down."
The FCAC board is actively pursuing new and renewed grant opportunities and it is working to develop expanded partnerships with local governments. Board members are also looking to the historically generous andsupportive Surface Creek community for help in their effort to close an operating deficit that so far this year is averaging $1,250 a month.
"We need to get the word out," Dumler said.
"Funding for our survival has become increasingly problematic," he notes in a recent grant proposal.
It would be a mistake to think of the FCAC board, staff, and volunteers only as a group of animal lovers caring for stray and unwanted pets. They are that . . . but the benefits provided by FCAC's work reach deep into the community and have positive impact on the social environment in unsuspected ways.
For example, FCAC helps people who, for reasons beyond their control, must relinquish ownership of a loved pet. They match adoptable pets with new owners, providing companionship and giving both pet and owner a new lease on life. There are active lifestyle volunteer opportunities for dog walkers. And the FCAC shelter provides a venue for local youth to pay their debts of "community service" and so earn another chance to steer their lives onto the right path.
Those kinds of benefits are foundwell outside of the public's normal field of view. And while the public may not notice the effect of FCAC's efforts, Dumler observes "They would notice the need if we weren't here."
Dollars donated locally don't work any harder anywhere than the volunteer FCAC board makes those dollars work. Supplies are purchased locally and improvements to the shelter facility use local materials and local contractors.
Board meetings focus on the detailed, professional-quality financial statements that board member Sue Dumler produces monthly. These first-rate budgeting and accounting tools allow members to keep informed eyes on every penny entrusted to them.
And even when wrestling with the hard-nosed realities of dollars and cents, board discussions don't overlook the special needs of individual animals in FCAC's care and on new ways of finding adoptive homes that fit both pet and owner.
Because of the remarkable commitment by the FCAC's staff and volunteers, Larry Dumler is able to say, "Function-wise we are doing very well." And he is right. Anyone paying a visit to the FCAC's spotless and odor-freeshelter on High Country Avenue can see the individual attention and care that is given every day to every one of the seven dogs and some 40 cats that currently call the shelter home.
Among the numerous volunteers who help support the FCAC's mission is a group of dog walkers who make sure that "every dog gets walked every day," rain or shine. They've made a commitment that goes way beyond any personal resolution to get more exercise. They are a team with a common bond; a social service organization with a common goal; and they are a family with a shared concern and love for their four-legged members.
"We are actively searching for (revenue) sources that will allow FCAC to keep the shelter open in the foreseeable future with the long-term goal of eventually establishing a county-wide shelter," Dumler says in a grant proposal. And in fact, FCAC has done, and is doing more than that.
Almost as soon as the shelter was opened in 2002, voices in the community and on town board complained that town funds supporting it should be spent on other activities. Cedaredge began withdrawing its financial support.
But FCAC stepped up with a renewed commitment. As a result, it now shoulders a lion's share of the public services that once cost the town government up to $60,000 annually.
The town ended its financial support Jan. 1, 2011, and FCAC stepped up once again by opening The Shelter Shoppe, a high-quality thrift reseller. Profits from the Shelter Shoppe have helped FCAC continue its mission benefitting the community as tax dollar support dwindled. But the economic downturn has affected retail sales everywhere, including at the Shelter Shoppe.
FCAC survives on the good will of the community and commitment of its staff and volunteers; on the donated goods of local business and donated services of medical and business professionals; on a cooperative working relationship with the town government; and on foundation grants and all-important contributions from local friends.
"We're all good people and we want to keep at it. We're happy to do what we can," Dumler said.blog comments powered by Disqus