AVMF grants $400,000; hires fundraising director
Schaumburg, Ill. - Research and disaster initiatives received $400,000 from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), with Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT) claiming more than half.
SCHAUMBURG, ILL. — Research and disaster initiatives received $400,000 from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), with Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT) claiming more than half.
The allocations came during the American Veterinary Medical Association-tied charity's October meeting, illustrating how far the organization has come since nearly imploding due to financial woes in 2004 and early 2005.
Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator, still uses 2005 financial data to grant AVMF a two-star rating out of four based on the foundation's light fundraising efforts and heavy administrative expenses. More than a year later, things have changed, officials say. And with the recent hire of a fundraising and development professional, Chairman Dr. Tracy Rhodes promises to get new figures to Charity Navigator to improve its assessment.
Lisa Tommelein, former director of development of the Alliance Francaise De Chicago, now servers as AVMF's director of development.
"We've already got a list of things we need her to accomplish," Rhodes says. "We have been searching for an individual who has the background and experience to lead the AVMF in a forward direction with its development projects," he adds in a news release.
A new identity
Those development projects have not yet been identified, which is the topic of a strategic planning session scheduled for March. While disaster relief brought in a tidal wave of money following Hurricane Katrina, Rhodes suggests AVMF needs to identify a cause that's "more appealing." The foundation, which for a short time focused only on disaster efforts, is again taking donations to support research initiatives. And board member Dr. Sherbyn Ostrich is promoting the implementation of a shelter medicine focus.
"What we need is a hook," Rhodes says, adding that the foundation doesn't want to rely on the emergence of disasters to supply donations to fuel the foundation's initiatives. "We're in a transition phase. Now that we've got a development expert, she can help us concentrate on staying in the financial black."
Coming in, going out
In the meantime, Merial has helped AVMF steer in a fiscally healthy direction, donating $300,000 for disaster response efforts last month out of money earned from Heartgard product sales.
AVMF turned around and gave $165,241 in grants to nearly a dozen states to help implement local disaster preparedness and response efforts. The foundation also granted $215,000 to AVMA to pay for VMAT team-member training and supplies in 2007.
Five-thousand dollars goes to sponsoring a State Animal Response Teams (SART)-related summit Dec. 11-12 in Las Vegas. SART programs train participants to facilitate a safe, environmentally sound and efficient response to animal emergencies on the local, county, state and federal level, officials say.
Two research grants were authorized: $25,000 to study canine influenza and $25,000 to study the roll of avian influenza in aquatic environments.