WATERVILLE — The Humane Society Waterville Area has raised more than $220,000 of a $250,000 goal it set late last year to help keep the animal shelter open, and the shelter is doing well, according to Lisa Oakes, its executive director.

“We’re gaining momentum every day,” Oakes said Friday. “We needed that interim amount to rebuild a little bit – the organization itself – so we can move forward and get bigger amounts, grants and donors.”

Oakes said the money raised has come from individuals contributing small amounts such as $10 checks.

“No single person has donated more than $5,000,” she said. “The community support has been overwhelming. It’s been tremendous. In six months we raised about a quarter of a million dollars. That’s tremendous. This gives us the wiggle room that we needed to really go after grants.”

The shelter contracts with 24 municipalities and has an annual budget of about $900,000, but it had been functioning on less than that. The city of Waterville pays the shelter $23,200 annually, based on $1.48 per capita of city population.

Waterville City Manager Michael Roy on Friday said he was pleased to hear contributions to the Humane Society had surpassed $220,000.

Advertisement

“This news about the fundraising certainly is very, very encouraging, because we depend on the shelter in a big way, with all our police have to do with strays and the other animal needs we have,” Roy said.

Oakes took over as executive director of the nonprofit shelter at 100 Webb Road on Nov. 1 after serving as interim director.

In late August, Oakes reported that the shelter would have to close within three months if it did not receive significant contributions.

Money was needed for operating expenses and repairs to the building, which is about 10 years old. By early December, more than $100,000 had been raised toward a goal of $250,000. The contributions enabled the shelter to remain open, Oakes said.

During the last year, shelter officials changed shelter policies and procedures since it went through a transition after former executive director Lisa Smith resigned in October. Her resignation followed an outbreak of feline distemper and the disappearance of two pit bull terriers from the shelter just after a court ordered them euthanized because they had killed a dog and maimed its owner in Winslow.

Afterward, Oakes became the new president of the shelter’s board of directors, filled in as shelter director and then agreed to be executive director.

Advertisement

This month the shelter is applying for a couple of grants and Oakes is starting to talk with potential large donors.

“I needed to get my feet under me to feel comfortable in applying for grants and having a feel for the position,” she said. “Now we’re really going to go gung-ho this coming year and start to talk to bigger donors.”

Oakes is building relationships in the community and collaborating with other organizations to generate a more positive image, while at the same time continuing to raise funds.

“The grants are one part of it,” she said. “It’s going to be donor collaboration that will save the place at the end of the day.”

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: AmyCalder17


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.