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  • Wayward Ranch

Getting Through Covid-19

The world has been put on hold - people staying home, staying inside, and staying away from each other to help keep loved ones safe and protected.

As a nonprofit, we are also deeply affected as we try to support our devoted employees and volunteers, while continuing to tend to the animals in our care.

I have always felt it is important to communicate openly and honestly about each facet of our work with everyone who supports us, so I write to you now as a friend, to lay out the facts - no filter.

We are funded by private donations, and over the last few years have built up a small but mighty group of donors and sponsors, and we had several fundraising events planned for this coming Spring/Summer/Fall. At the end of last year I sat down with our board members and presented my 2020 Fundraising Plan. It would be a great deal of work to accomplish everything I had planned, but if we did it all, this would be our year to truly thrive for the first time since our founding. We created business partnerships so that we would be at a different location at least one day a week hosting an adoption event. We had a spring and a fall fundraiser planned. We had summer activities planned for children. In the last few weeks the world has changed drastically and now many of our fundraising plans are simply no longer possible; they’re gone.

Our board meetings are usually simple. We come together, a mixture of in person and video conference attendance of a board of directors we assembled, not because of the financial security they could bring to our organization, but rather the passion for rescuing animals we all share. Having worked with other rescues that were driven by board members who regularly contributed financially but made decisions that came from a lack of education on animal welfare, it was important to me to do things differently. We wanted the knowledge and passion of our board members to be the most important component of their participation. We always confer on where we are, where we’d like to be, and how to get there. We discuss our numbers to ensure we are continuing to grow within our means to help as many animals as we can responsibly care for. We create plans and leave in good spirits. Last weekend we had our first quarter summary board meeting, and we all left in anything but good spirits.

This meeting was different. I had intended to discuss how our first quarter had gone and our progress on planned fundraising endeavors for the next few months. Instead, we were faced with the reality that financially, we now may not survive past this year. With our typical venues of fundraising potentially on hold for several months (depending on whether you ask the local or federal governments) we are forced to turn primarily to grant funding. This is a terrifying reality, as every nonprofit in America is suffering as a result of the current economic and social/medical crisis, and many are faced with the same singular option to turn to grant funding. There will be a great deal of competition for grants, and will the foundations choose to fund a small organization like ours over a larger organization with more reach? It doesn’t feel likely.

Things look bleak, but still, our amazing board came together and brainstormed ways we could keep the rescue alive through this tough time. We will do whatever we can. We have animals that we committed to for life, and we will stand by our animals no matter what. We have staff who rely on us to keep them employed. We have a community we serve who need a rescue like ours that focuses on local animals in need. We can’t give up, and we won’t.

Even as I write this blog post I hold back tears. This rescue has been a goal I worked towards alongside our other board members for years. A dream that came true through blood, sweat, and tears. I think back to our most memorable animals that are alive today because we saved them and I am so grateful that we were in the right place at the right time, with the resources to be able to do so. Cinco, our five legged craigslist puppy. Mhysa, our drug house guard dog. Rosie, our paralyzed Rottweiler hospice dog. Rex, our hospice dog with a heart so big and full of love it took his life too soon. Catie, our hospice dog who came back to life for her last few weeks because we introduced her to a rescued puppy we needed her help to raise. Huey, our first horse rescue who was feral and now is just starting to train under saddle. Ed, Shinzi, and Bonzai, our first pig rescues who we have saved from death’s door not once, but twice. Orion, our blind horse who we found lost and alone at a livestock auction, thrown away when he was no longer useful. Montana, our off the track thoroughbred who desperately needs us to not give up on her like others have. Winnie, who was set to be euthanized because she was anxious after being ripped from her newborn babies. Bear, who was so beloved by his family, but unable to live a safe life anywhere but here with us.

These animals, and so many more flash through my head. What would have become of them if we weren’t able to save them? What will become of other animals we could save if we have to close our doors?

We are not alone. Many rescues across the country are in bad shape right now and may not survive the year. I’ve heard that resources will become available through the government to help nonprofits, but with so many nonprofits in need, how many will be able to receive that help? Donations have slowed and now almost stopped entirely, because everyone is concerned about their financial stability. Most don’t have the ability to donate right now, their main priority is, and should be, to feed their families.

So what do we do now?

First, we have completely closed our intake for the time being. We will continue to foster and adopt animals out, but until we can be back to a more financial stable place, it would be irresponsible for us to accept any additional animals.

Second, we will be monitoring our financial situation constantly, understanding that at some point this year we may be faced with the decision to close, and we are actively creating back up plans if this were to happen.

Third, we are seeking out every fundraising opportunity we can. We will continue to fundraise online through social media marketing. We will be hosting virtual fundraising events, such as our Facebook auction this coming Saturday and Sunday. We will also be working to apply for as many grant opportunities as we possibly can.

Fourth, we want to continue to help our community – while we cannot accept animals, we can courtesy list animals, offer training recommendations, and do our best to help you secure animal food if you are in crisis. We have begun a series of virtual tours and craft tutorials as well, to hopefully bring s bit of joy to your home while you are working from home and social distancing.

As we take these steps we invite and encourage you to join us in this call to action to the extent you’re able.

We know most people are unable to donate right now, but if you do have the means to donate, even $1, please do so:

· Amazon Wishlist:

· Patreon: for as little as $1/month

· You can become a monthly sponsor to our animals through our website

If you can foster, now is the time, please apply to foster. We have guinea pigs, rats, rabbits, dogs, cats, pigs, and horses available for fostering.

If you can adopt, now is the time. We have a wonderful group of animals available for adoption that you can see on our website. Please apply today!

If you can’t foster, adopt, or donate, you can simply share that we are in need of help. It costs nothing, and maybe a friend of relative of yours will see and be motivated to help us get through these tough next few months so we can come back stronger than ever to save animals for the next 5, 10, 50 years!

If you are self-isolating during this time, thank you, because while you may survive contracting this virus, others who are older or immune compromised may not be so lucky. If you are not yet self-isolating, please take this virus seriously and even if you may not worry about yourself, everyone knows someone who could be terribly affected by it. Let’s all do our part to keep each other safe!

Thank you for your continued support, especially in this difficult time.

Eleni Calomiris

Executive Director

Wayward Ranch Animal Sanctuary, Inc.

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