Nov 30, 2023

Why YOU Should Join DCHS’s Directors’ Council


Directors’ Council members provide critical support that makes a tremendous impact in the lives of animals in need at DCHS.

Our amazing donors have a lot of individual reasons for supporting Dane County Humane Society (DCHS): many are lifelong animal lovers, some are pet parents or wildlife finders, and some support us to honor a loved human or animal. It’s an almost never-ending list of what inspired them to give. No matter the reason, we appreciate each and every dollar we receive to provide shelter and care for companion, exotic, barn, and wild animals in need. Then there are the members of our Directors’ Council, donors who make some of the greatest impact on DCHS’s needs.

Members of Directors’ Council donate $1,000 or more a year, either in one lump sum or in multiple donations within the year. In fact, anyone can become a member of DCHS’s Directors’ Council by donating $84 or more a month. At the $1,000 level of support, a single member of the Directors’ Council can provide rabies vaccinations for more than 700 dogs in one year, an amazing impact on the wellbeing of our animals.

Being a member of Directors’ Council comes with several perks, including invites to exclusive Directors’ Council member events such as a tour of the Wildlife Center, magical wildlife releases, and our recent return of Ice Cream and Kittens; our monthly email updates so that you can stay in the know about all things DCHS; and private behind-the-scenes tour of our shelter, where you can see how you are making a real impact for our animals.

Top photo and above: Member of DCHS's Directors' Council attend a Kittens & Ice Cream event in which attendees had the opportunity to snuggle and play with kittens while enjoying ice cream from Calliope Ice Cream.

Joe and Angie have been supporters of DCHS for decades, have adopted three pups from DCHS, and have become involved in many ways. Here is what Joe had to say about their experience with DCHS and Directors’ Council:

“Angie and I have been supporters of DCHS for several decades. Our first dog together as a married couple was from DCHS – a lab/beagle mix named Sabrina that was absolutely amazing! Since then, we’ve brought two other DCHS dogs into our family, along with our own daughter in 2004. From the moment Sabrina joined us, we knew that DCHS was the kind of organization that was deserving of our support. From volunteering to transport dogs from daytime socialization activities back to the shelter, and volunteering to assist with community outreach at the Dane County Farmers’ Market, to providing financial support both directly and through our at-work United Way contributions, DCHS has consistently been at the top of our charitable recipient list. When our financial status improved a few years back, there was no doubt that we would increase our support. Exactly how that would happen was unclear.

In 2022, COVID was on the decline, and we took that opportunity to attend our first Toto’s Gala. It was a fantastic experience, from puppy cuddle time to unique items in the auction to a tasty meal and engaging presentation to meeting some absolutely amazing and incredibly selfless people. Toto’s Gala was a great opportunity for us to increase our giving to DCHS – and to take advantage of a matching donation from another donor, plus matching funds from our employer! It was that donation that (at the time, unknowingly) brought us into the Directors’ Council.

Since joining the Directors’ Council, we’ve had the opportunity to watch numerous rehabilitated animals return to their natural habitats – an experience that simply never gets old. We’ve connected with staff and other donors who seemingly all have similar stories about how animals have had positive impacts on their lives. We’ve toured the shelter, which opened our eyes even wider to the programs, facilities, and staff behind DCHS. We’ve received monthly Directors’ Council updates – some of our favorite emails to ever end up in our inbox! And recently, our two Yorkies – Mylee and Buddy – were featured as Directors’ Council Honorary Members.

Sure, all of those things are fun and amazing. But in the end, they’re secondary to simply knowing that our Directors’ Council level donation helps DCHS meet the needs of so many animals now and into the future. Being a member of the Directors’ Council fills our hearts with gratitude, because together, we are supporting and nurturing a more compassionate and humane world, one paw at a time.”

Directors' Council members were invited to witness wildlife rehabilitators from DCHS's Wildlife Center set mist nets on our property to capture birds for bird banding and collect biometric data. Some participants had the opportunity to release the birds back into the wild.

Hearing these words really helps remind me that every dollar given to the support of our animals comes from a real person with their individual reasons for supporting DCHS. Another one of our donors is a special and dedicated woman named Joyce. Nothing can stop Joyce from being at our two big events of the year (Bark & Wine and Toto’s Gala). Joyce loves wildlife, and even volunteers at a wolf rescue in her “spare time”. Here is what Joyce had to say about her relationship with DCHS:

“I trust DCHS to work with compassion and solid expertise to assure that both domestic and wild animals in their care will be treated with respect and given the best chance at good lives according to their needs. Successful shelter work is fluid and unending. DCHS demonstrates the unique resilience needed to activate the people, money, response plans and upkeep behind the successful placement (or wild release) of just one animal. And DCHS does it thousands of times each year. Tender hearts alone can’t do it. Knowledgeable, reliable people have to be answering phones, cleaning cages, creating work schedules, and making hard decisions. And these people have to be supported and nurtured. It takes a village to get a needy animal from a bad situation into a forever home. It may be a cliché, but we know any thriving village takes a lot of work --and it’s a beautiful thing.”

Directors' Council members were invited in June 2023 to the release of 13 mallard ducks who were rehabilitated at DCHS's Wildlife Center.

I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have donors willing to speak openly about their experiences. Mary has been supporting DCHS for decades. Mary still volunteers at the shelter and was even a former member of our board. Honestly, I think that Mary summed it up better than I ever could:

“Why did I commit to becoming a member of the Directors' Council? Because I believe in Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) and all of the good work they do for domestic and wild animals, and the people who care for them. It is a tremendous resource for the Dane County community and beyond. I know how important it is for non-profit organizations to be able to rely on a steady income, so I have chosen to contribute the same amount of money on a monthly basis. I know not everyone is in a position to donate, but for those who can, I recommend joining the Directors' Council, as our collective support will make a difference. As a bonus, DCHS goes to great lengths to keep Council members apprised of DCHS activities and innovative approaches to caring for animals, in addition to offering special events.”

In 2023, DCHS has already taken in over 6,000 animals, and helped hundreds more in our community. Over 95% of our funding comes from community members through service fees, thrift sales, and most importantly, donations. In fact, over 70% of our funding comes from donations from generous people like you! Dane County can only offer excellent care to animals because we have an equally amazing community that supports our needs. Thank you for taking the time to read more about Directors’ Council and what it means to be a member. I encourage anyone that can to join DCHS’s Directors’ Council and start building a stronger relationship with DCHS today!

If you have any questions about Directors’ Council, please contact me, Paul Vornholt, at (608) 838-0413 ext. 117 or Hilary Hemmes-Kavanaugh at (608) 838-0413 ext. 196 for more information.

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