ICARE of the Eastern Sierra is postponing its annual dinner fundraiser this spring to focus its attention and resources on the task at hand – raising the final $100,000 needed to begin work on a new animal shelter in Big Pine.
ICARE President Ted Schade said the annual dinner is a popular fundraiser and is one of the biggest single dinners in the Eastern Sierra each year. But it also takes an “enormous” amount of effort on the part of a small group of volunteers who are currently busy with the “Raise the Roof – A Cause for Paws” shelter fundraiser.
According to Schade, the Raise the Roof – a Cause for Paws campaign “is the culmination of a 17-year effort to replace Inyo County’s old and inadequate animal shelter.”
So far, $500,000 in public donations have been raised through various fundraisers for the $800,000 facility and Inyo County has pledged $200,000 to the project. That leaves a balance of $100,000 to be raised before work can begin.
The current animal shelter was converted from a 1920s era dairy barn that both ICARE and county officials have said is inadequate for housing shelter animals.
Last April, ICARE proposed three possible designs for a new shelter that would include adequate kennels for cats and dogs, a work station for shelter staff and an area for potential adopters to spend time getting to know the animals. The three designs range in price from $450,000 for the smallest and $725,000 for the largest.
“A new animal shelter has been a dream of our organization since we were founded in 1996,” said Schade. “Now that Inyo County is also fully committed to the project, we need to make it happen in 2014. In order to fully focus on our Raise the Roof campaign, the ICARE Board has made the difficult decision to forego the annual fundraising dinner this spring.”
Schade also said that Whiskey Creek Restaurant in Bishop has traditionally donated all the labor and the kitchen to prepare the annual dinner. With Whiskey closed, Schade said ICARE would need to start from scratch on the meal planning. “The ICARE event typically takes us four months to plan and execute. This is time that we need to spend on the last push for the new shelter,” he said.
Schade said that the dinner is being put on hiatus for the spring, and, hopefully won’t be cancelled.
“What we would like to see, is a big celebration when the new shelter is completed later this year,” Schade said. “We will keep everyone updated on plans for a grand opening and we hope to see each and every ICARE supporter there, as we will have something to celebrate in a really big way.”
Schade said that ICARE has not planned any fundraising events to replace the annual dinner, which is traditionally held mid-April. Instead, he said the group is focusing its attention on raising awareness about the Raise the Roof – A Cause for Paws fundraiser. “We’ve sent out 15,000 post cards, advertised on the radio and in the local papers. Our hope is to have the money by early summer. We’re pretty pleased with how far we’ve come.”
Schade also said ICARE is also committed to providing low-cost spay and neuter programs for pets being adopted from the Inyo County shelter. “ICARE is not just about raising funds for the new shelter, it’s mostly about spay and neuter programs, and we can’t forget that,” Schade said.
For more information on the shelter fundraiser or ICARE’s other animal welfare programs and how to help, visit www.ICAREforPets.org .