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$100,000 Challenge Grant Announced for New Manatee County Animal Shelter

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Manatee Community Foundation has announced a $100,000 challenge grant from the Bill and Maryann Vinall Fund to kick start the public fundraising campaign for a new Manatee County Animal Shelter.

The Foundation will match the first $100,000 in donations received. The gift is part of the charitable legacy of Bill and Maryann Vinall, who entrusted the Foundation to invest their funds in high impact projects that improve the lives of animals in Manatee County. The new shelter will be located on a proposed site just off State Road 64 in a rapidly growing area.

“This shelter is desperately needed to meet the demand that our community faces in taking care of homeless and abandoned pets until they can find their forever homes,” said Susie Bowie, Manatee Community Foundation executive director.

“The leadership of Manatee County Government in committing $8 million for the new shelter demonstrates an understanding of how important humane treatment of animals is to our residents. Now we need private philanthropy to do its part.”

Animal Network, Inc., a local and all-volunteer animal welfare organization, has agreed to spearhead the campaign for an additional $2 million needed from donors.

“Research shows that when forward-thinking communities invest in animals, they have a competitive advantage in attracting new residents and engaging the many people who believe that a healthy place to live includes care for pets,” said Pam Freni, board president of Animal Network.

It will also support the mission of local nonprofit organizations that dedicate resources to take animals from the overcrowded County shelter when it is beyond capacity. Manatee County Animal Services is the only facility in our county that must accept all dogs and cats brought to their door.

“The Current County Shelter built in the 1940’s and renovated in 1986 is at capacity. As our community has now reached a population of over 400,000 people and growing, it is time for us to meet current demand and plan far in the future for caring for unwanted pets,” said Cheri Coryea, Manatee County Administrator. “Embarking on this public private partnership is a unique opportunity with the help of Manatee Community Foundation and The Animal Network and it allows for the community to help us plan and bring the new facility to fruition.”

The County’s dedicated funds for the project will not impact human services allocations for children and families.

To learn more about the project, or to make a tax-deductible gift, visit www.ShelterManatee.com or contact Pam Freni at pam.freni@animalnetworkinc.com.