Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 10, 2013

McGroarty: Give locally so we can help in Howard Co.

Fundraising efforts are at their peak during this time of the year

By Jean McGroarty
Guest columnist

— What’s in your wallet, and who is asking for it? This is the time of year when all of us get lots of mail. Whether we receive holiday catalogs, special offers on publications or fundraising letters, it seems like everyone wants money from us. When it comes to those fundraising letters, we have options. There are choices between deserving organizations, and there are also choices when deciding whether to give money to large, well-recognized national organizations, or to local, smaller groups. Both deserve support, but donors only have so much to give, and decisions must be made.

In the case of animal welfare groups, there are several large national organizations. We’ve seen the commercials of pitiful animals with lovely music in the background. These animals break our hearts. These big groups, like the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, American Humane and others, all do good work. They lobby for more compassionate animal legislation. They offer training to shelter employees nationwide. They raise awareness of animal issues. And they promote pet adoption, despite the fact that they do not necessarily operate animal shelters themselves.

But it’s important to know that these groups are not the parent organizations of the Kokomo Humane Society, or any humane society, large or small. Every community humane society, SPCA and animal rescue league is a private, grass-roots, nonprofit organization, homegrown in their communities and serving the animals of their communities. Though they may receive funds from the large national organizations in the form of grants for specific projects, the national organizations do not regularly funnel monies to the community groups’ operating accounts. In fact, we often pay them to attend trainings or to purchase reference materials.

We like to take this time to remind our friends that the Kokomo Humane Society is a local nonprofit organization founded 122 years ago by a Kokomo school teacher. Our board of directors consists of Howard County residents. We do not receive funding from any national organization. Funds from local governments support only our animal control function, not education, outreach, adoption or other services. When you give to us, you are giving to Howard County homeless animals and helping us find a better future for them.

The Kokomo Humane Society also knows that we are not the only local agency that needs help at this time of year. There are many charities that serve children and adults in need, charities that promote the arts, and many other deserving organizations. Our hope is that local folks will remember how much these groups give to the community, and how much demand there is, especially as the weather gets cold and needs increase. We ask that you please think about giving locally, so all of us can make a difference in Howard County.

Jean McGroarty is the executive director of the Kokomo Humane Society. She can be reached at 765-452- 6224 or shelter@kokomohumane.org.