It’s hard to believe I’m saying this but the best thing that ever happened to the Humane Society of Berks County was being in the truly, profoundly, terrible financial state it was prior to the recession. Why? Because it started us down a path of stabilization, strengthening and growth before the long recession hit. The economic hardship of the past few years was bad but it wasn’t much worse than what we had already faced, already begun to tackle, and ultimately already overcome.
HSBC is stronger now than it was before the recession and stronger than it has ever been. Good planning, good management, and good luck can work wonders. When you combine it with great volunteers, supporters, and donors, I think it can do just about anything.
We have certainly learned the lessons of hard times. I now have a new found understanding of how living through the Great Depression impacted my grandparents and in our own way I think organizationally we’ll be forever proverbially saving those disposable forks for a second use like my grandmother did. But the fact that we know times were bad and could be again is no reason to be fearful of the future. Berks Humane’s future is bright and we have much work to do. During the recession we expanded and strengthened. In the past year, we’ve grown even more.
Thanks to generous bequest from a wonderful supporter, we were able accomplish our long time goal of establishing a supporting foundation. The Humane Society of Berks County Foundation is a 501c3 charity which will help to ensure the long term financial stability of HSBC. We’ll be sharing more about the Foundation and our new “Change the World, Change Your Will” estate planning program in coming months.
Last year we formalized our ongoing work helping other animal welfare organizations by creating a separate company, Humane Society Management Services llc. The management company will allow us to continue to assist other organizations with training, fundraising, and operations in a way which is affordable to them without sapping resources from animals in need in our shelters. We are currently providing complete management services for a shelter in a neighboring county through this completely unique new animal welfare model.
And finally and most concretely- literally- last year we made the decision to move forward with a long overdue final renovation and expansion of our Reading Lindy Scholar Center. The renovations will completely overhaul what is now our aging cattery, demolish and rebuild our crumbling kennels, and build a brand new, modern community veterinary hospital. Our goal is to immediately achieve national accreditation for the new hospital, something which is held by only one in ten for-profit vet practices and by only fifteen non-profit practices nationwide. This practice will allow us to help more animals and more people and to continue to change the perception that proper vet care is a luxury as opposed to a right.
Our goal for groundbreaking is late spring or early summer, depending on the municipal approval process. We’ve already had half the funding committed by generous and devoted supporters and we will be sharing our plans and needs with the rest of our supporters, Berks County, and Southeast PA throughout the rest of the year. That means we’ll probably be asking you for your support at some point, too.
Together these actions and efforts mean thousands more animals helped in Berks and in neighboring counties. It means more people assisted. It means a radically changed model of animal welfare in which we help not only the animals brought to our doors without any other hope, we also give hope and resources to animals and people in order to prevent them from needing to come to our doors. The coming decades hold the promise that we may finally reach a point where animals do not face unnecessary euthanasia in shelters and families don’t face unnecessary heartache because they lack the resources they need to properly care for their pet.
We have gotten this far with your help and the help of other people like you. All the good planning, good management, and good luck in the world is not enough. We also still need you. We hope you will be a part of this new world of animal welfare.
Your partner in animal welfare,
1801 N. 11th Street, Reading, PA 19604 - phone 610-921-2348 - fax 610-921-5833
copyright 2013 Humane Society of Berks County