A groundbreaking event

I am fortunate enough to be able to honestly say that I love my job every day, but this past Wednesday, March 6 was among the high points of my first 6 months in the ASPCA’s grants department. The Animal Protective Foundation (APF) in Scotia, NY (upstate) invited the ASPCA to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony announcing the receipt of our $454,970 grant supporting the construction of a new community spay/neuter clinic to help APF double its existing spay/neuter capacity. In addition to being used for animals housed at APF, the new clinic — scheduled to open this summer — will provide low-income families in the surrounding areas with affordable surgeries for their pets. All told, about 6,000 procedures will be performed annually. Right up until the ceremony, the grant had been kept a surprise; several local media representatives were invited to get the story and spread the word.

parking funAPF put a lot of careful thought and planning into the event, which was reflected at every turn. The organization's board, staff, and volunteers were so gracious and hospitable; meeting them face-to-face was a delight. While recognizing that the issue of pet overpopulation and the associated need for more spaying/neutering are very serious, APF was able to frame this event as a celebration — more spaying and neutering = more animals' lives saved over the long term — and to inject some fun into the proceedings. This friendly fellow pictured at left greeted and directed us as we pulled into the parking lot.

This was the next thing we saw as we headed toward the facility (aaawww!):
welcome aspca

The meeting room was lively with conversation as guests started trickling in and partaking of the coffee, baked goods, and fruit kindly provided by APF. Several members of the media were present.

The program opened with a warm welcome from APF board member John Martino and remarks about what the new clinic would mean for APF’s work from APF executive director Michael Daugherty and veterinary services director Dr. Sarah Madaio, followed by a proclamation honoring the occasion given to APF by Adam Kramer, chief of staff for Assemblyman James Tedisco. And then, The Big Check was unveiled by the ASPCA’s vice president for grants, M!chael Barrett, with whom I have the pleasure of working every day! There were audible gasps in the room once the check was fully visible. It was such a treat to be sitting right there watching it all unfold live as this video footage was being taken, later aired on WRGB TV, a local CBS news affiliate:
ASPCA grant announcement video

John Martino closed the program with an eloquent and moving appeal to the audience to reflect on the companion animals who had touched their lives over the years and on the idea that while so many of us work to help animals, there are so many ways in which animals help us as well.

At that point, the media was invited to conduct interviews and take photos outside…with the active participation of these enthusiastic mascots:

spay and neuter

Here’s a ceremonial groundbreaking photo featuring both ASPCA and APF personnel (my esteemed colleagues in the grants department and I are in the left half of the photo…I’m second from the left):
groundbreaking

While it’s rewarding to know that the grants our department works on providing — informed by the expertise of our fantastic team of field-based grant officers — are making a difference, having the opportunity to leave our desks and see one of these grants in action brought our daily work to life. What a joy!

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