Animal shelter gets $250K matching grant

Greg Klein | The Daily StarSusquehanna SPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, left, thanks donor Anita Vitullo, founder of Staffworks Charitable Fund, for pledging up to $250,000 in donations Tuesday to the shelter’s SHELTER US campaign.

The Susquehanna SPCA announced Tuesday it had received a matching grant of $250,000 from a supporter.

“This gift is a challenge grant,” SQSPCA Director Stacie Haynes said. “That means that every new cash gift or multiple-year pledge that we receive today through Oct. 1 will be matched,” by Anita Vitullo, founder of Staffworks Charitable Fund.

Vitullo said her mission is to protect animals, and Haynes and the Susquehanna SPCA have been good partners.

“These animals depend on us,” Vitullo said. “We are their voice. Without us where would they go?”

Haynes called Vitullo a mentor, and said she is dedicated to helping animals.

“She worked her way up through the business world and pursued her passion of helping homeless animals in need,” she said. “With her success she has built a multi-million dollar fund with the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, solely for the purpose of helping animals.”

Vitullo said she observed Haynes’ dedication and persistence during the winter Staffworks Save A Life Campaign. Haynes and the SQSPCA raised more than $90,000 in 35 days.

“Stacie won the newcomer award in that campaign for raising such a significant amount of money,” Vitullo said.

Vitullo said the shelter met her qualifications for donations because it is a no-kill shelter, because it is collaborative and because of Haynes’ hard work. She said she started her Staffworks fund with about $50,000 and it now has more than $13 million in assets and has made about $2.3 million worth of donations.

“Together we can make a difference and we do,” she said.

If matched, the gift would bring the shelter close to its SHELTER US capital campaign drive goal of $2 million. The money would build a new shelter building on Route 28, about three miles south of Cooperstown and one mile north of the current location, an outdated building which was originally a garage.

“Our goal is to insure the health and safety of our animals and to increase our capacity to care,” Haynes said. “Capacity for care doesn’t mean a bigger shelter. It means we are going to increase our efficiencies, and over time you are going to be able to see us help more animals because they are going to have a decreased length of stay. And they are going to be able to find homes faster and more efficiently.”

Haynes said the big donation will lead to a strong close of the campaign.

“This is further validation that the Susquehanna SPCA is a great investment for folks who believe in helping animals in need,” she said.

Go to https://sqspca.org/ to donate or to learn more about the campaign.