Chosen as the No. 1 charity to donate to by Business.org
By Emilee Mae Struss
Mountain Humane, formerly known as the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, was recently chosen as the No. 1 charity to donate to by Business.org.
The shelter’s executive director Jo-Anne Dixon didn’t know beforehand that the organization was being considered and only recently discovered what Business.org was.
Business.org partnered with the Better Business Bureau after data showed that 77 percent of small businesses blindly donate to charity and some of those charities were phony.
Business.org began vetting nonprofit organizations industry by industry using information gathered from Charity Navigator that compared financial information, transparency policies and public reviews.
Mountain Humane scored a 91.7 in programmatic expenses, 97 in financial transparency and a final Business.org score of 98.3.
“We have made a concerted effort as to what is going in and out of each of our programs in regards to which ones are profitable and which ones aren’t,” Brooke Bonner, Mountain Humane’s associate director, said.
Bonner has worked with Mountain Humane since 2007 and had a lengthy background in working with nonprofits.
“You have to run a nonprofit like a business,” Bonner said. “If you want to be successful, you have to be investing in your structure and the organization itself.”
Mountain Humane has some massive goals—including No-Kill Idaho 2025. Mountain Humane is a “no-kill” shelter, which means they will never euthanize an animal due to a lack of space. Their goal is to make the entire state no-kill by 2025.
In order to get this initiative off the ground, Mountain Humane had some support from The Humane Society of the United States through a program called “Pets for Life.” The program, which started in large urban communities, provides funding for local animal shelters to go door-to-door and offer services to dog owners. They offer free vaccinations and if the animals have not be spayed or neutered, they offer that as well.
Mountain Humane was the first organization surrounded by rural communities to receive this grant opportunity in 2015.
They started with Fairfield, which was very successful, and then moved to Richfield, Dietrich and Shoshone. The mission of the model is to get as many animals spayed and neutered as possible to keep the population low and manageable, of which it has proven to be successful.
A new 30,000-square-foot animal adoption and humane education center west of Hailey on Croy Creek Road is soon to be opened, thanks to a $16 million fundraising effort.
“Our new facility is really meant to be a vibrant hub,” Bonner said.
The facility’s upcoming programs will be expanding to educational opportunities for youth and greater handicap accessibility to the building. Mountain Humane is also very intentional on partnering with other nonprofits in the Valley, including The Advocates and The Hunger Coalition.
“Impact and sustainability,” Bonner said, “ are the most important factors for us.”
The distinction by Business.org marking Mountain Humane as a trusted nonprofit can only help encourage support, said Dixon.
“We can’t just tell people we like animals and expect to get funding,” Dixon said. “Donors work hard for their funds and they want to know that their funds are going toward successful causes.”
To learn more about Mountain Humane, visit mountainhumane.org.