By Kathleen Beaver, President & CEO
2021 was yet another year that was anything but normal. And that's ok. It has urged us to chart a new course, look at things differently, rethink how we solve community challenges and make Animal Friends an even better place to work and save lives.
A few of the successes in 2021 that are worthy of celebration include:
Despite “The Great Resignation,” we added a number of exceptionally talented, passionate and professional individuals to our Animal Friends team.
Our core programs have expanded and evolved to better support those in our community struggling most thanks to an abundance of creativity and courage to look beyond the way "we have always done it."
We welcomed new community partnerships and collaborations—some in our own backyard and others from across the country.
We cheered the return of an in-person Black Tie & Tails gala and our New Year’s Rescue that brought us closer to our community, our animals and each other.
And, we are just beginning to see the benefits of an upgraded, capacity-building technology infrastructure that will allow incredible growth, expansion and creative problem solving.
We have big plans for 2022, too.
Of course, the central focus will be our lifesaving programs that offer a second, and even third, chance to animals who are homeless or forgotten within our communities. However, you will also see an expansion of our pet retention programs that help to keep animals in their homes through affordable services and resources.
Our Humane Investigations program will be growing to enable us to have a greater resource-based presence in the community while also ensuring our capacity to step in to remove animals who are in harm’s way and fight for the justice they deserve.
2022 will see the return of our Humane Education programming and the first full year of our new, comprehensive Animal Friends for Veterans program. And, it’s hard to believe that our Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center is 15 years old already. This year we will be rethinking some of our spaces, reconsidering how they are being used, and making necessary changes and upgrades along the way.
A great example is our new Welcome Center. After two years of seemingly constant change and unknown, the value of connection has become a treasured commodity at Animal Friends. We are now, more than ever, so grateful to welcome our community of adopters, volunteers and staff onto our campus. We want every visitor to receive a warm welcome that echoes our excitement of their presence.
This sentiment led us to re-think the first impression visitors were receiving in our lobby and transform our former retail space into a center of welcoming first impressions. In early February, we proudly opened our new Loevner Family Welcome Center, inside the Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center. The multi-use, flexible space provides guests with immediate connection to our volunteer department, information about our lifesaving work and program opportunities, a small retail space and a new enclosure where one lucky feline resident will reside. Our goal—always a warm welcome.
Thank you for all the change you have helped us weather and welcome.