Sitting on fat assets–– and grabbing more

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1999:

ANIMAL PEOPLE reader Victoria
Windsor was the first of many who noted the intense
resemblance of the Massachusetts SPCA appeal
mailing of April 12 to the appeal format long used by
DELTA Rescue.
DELTA Rescue founder Leo Grillo said he
wouldn’t mind if the MSPCA, with $75 million in
assets, including $65 million in cash and securities,
also copied the DELTA Rescue approach to helping
animals. If the MSPCA committed even half as large
a share of its resources to low-cost and free neutering
and care-for-life sheltering as DELTA Rescue,
Massachusetts could be a no-kill state in six months.
But the MSPCA isn’t even the wealthiest
humane society in Boston with a long history of sitting
on its assets. The Town of Pembroke recently
revoked the tax-exempt status of a house and land
purchased by the Animal Rescue League, ostensibly
to build a shelter, but used instead to house the
League’s director of operations. That caused the
Quincy Patriot-Ledger to investigate what else the
Animal Rescue League was and wasn’t doing.

“The Animal Rescue League was sitting on
a hefty $83.6 million endowment at the end of 1997,”
the Patriot-Ledger editorialized on May 20, “up from
$52.8 million in 1994. The Animal Rescue League
doled out just $7.9 million, or 29% of its income, on
animal care programs between 1995 and 1997, while
collecting $27.4 million from fees, returns on investments,
and contributions. People who give to organizations
that tout themselves as protectors of those
who have no voice expect their money to be spent on
services to animals. The Animal Rescue League is
not meeting that expectation.”
The richest dog-and-cat-related charity in
the U.S. is apparently Guide Dogs for the Blind,
whose endowment reportedly exceeds even the $200
million that software magnates Dave and Cheryl
D u f f i e l d contributed to start Maddie’s Fund––a n d
Maddie’s Fund has greater grant-giving capacity than
all other national foundations helping humane societies
combined. David Dietz of the San Francisco
Chronicle reported on May 12 that Guide Dogs spent
$21 million in 1998, but raised $45 million. Fewer
than 10,000 of the estimated 1.1 million blind persons
in the U.S. use guide dogs, and demand for guide
dogs has grown only marginally in recent decades

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