Happy Birthday to us: Nutmeg turns three!

Founder’s Report, 2017

In early 2014, Nutmeg Animal Welfare was still just an idea bouncing around inside my head. On May 14 of that same year, we became officially recognized as a charitable organization when we incorporated with the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office. Exactly six months later, on November 14, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service granted our 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe three years have passed already!

There’s so much more we’d like to do to help needy animals all over the world, of course, but as we celebrate our third birthday, we’ll allow ourselves just a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished thus far, with a particular focus on the past year.

Since our Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors in May 2016, Nutmeg has made considerable progress in its stated mission to care for needy animals everywhere, both around the world and around the corner. Highlights include:

  • Partnering with Billy Wolf NYC, a Long Island-based company, to provide Nutmeg with discounted travel-sized, packable water/food dishes;
  • Petitioning the Royal Court of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for their assistance in helping us support Jordanian animal welfare advocates and establishing a government-sanctioned charitable organization in Jordan, as well as a brick-and-mortar shelter for such purposes;
  • Hosting our first fundraiser, a wine-tasting event in Providence, R.I. that generated nearly $2,700 in October 2016;
  • Boosting the number of donors who contributed financially to Nutmeg from 16 the previous year to 44 in 2016;
  • Generating positive media coverage of Nutmeg and its fundraiser with a guest appearance on WPRI-TV’s “Rhode Show” program and follow-up story in The Providence Journal (print and online versions);
  • Partnering with Amazon Smile to offer existing and potential donors a new or additional avenue through which to contribute financially to Nutmeg;
  • As a continuing member of the Town of North Providence (RI, USA) Animal Shelter Advisory Committee, helping to select an architectural firm to design a new, improved, modern facility to replace the current antiquated structure, which serves North Providence and surrounding areas;
  • Transferring our website to a more secure hosting provider, SiteGround, to take preemptive measures in hopes of ensuring that our organizational information, including donor records and personal details, are not compromised by hackers or other unwelcome visitors to nutmeg.global;
  • Adding Seattle-based volunteer and fellow animal lover Elisabeth Bailly to our Board of Directors, upping the number of members to 7.

As Nutmeg enters Year 4, we hit the ground running… or, more precisely, take to the air! This May 14, I fly to Europe for a two-week trip through Scotland and Ireland, part of which will include visits to existing animal welfare facilities in the respective capital cities of Edinburgh and Dublin. There, I expect to meet and establish new working relationships with trusted animal welfare advocates and organizations, thereby expanding our partnership base around the globe.

Other 2017-and-beyond goals include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Petitioning high-profile businessman and Israel advocate Robert K. Kraft to enlist his help in raising funds to build a new animal shelter in Jerusalem, where Nutmeg visited and assisted in 2016 (a formal request has been submitted);
  • Unveiling a new Nutmeg logo (design options are currently being worked on by a professional graphic artist who is providing services free of charge) to be used on the website and other marketing materials, including the Billy Wolf dishes;
  • Finishing minor website design and functionality upgrades;
  • Finalizing plans for our second annual wine-tasting fundraiser in autumn 2017 and researching ideas for an additional fundraising event for 2018;
  • Selecting a final design, hiring a construction company, and breaking ground sometime in 2017 on the new North Providence shelter facility;
  • Launching a program to travel with medical professionals who can provide free veterinary care to distressed animals in the world’s neediest places.

We’re still waiting for replies from the Jordanian Royal Family and the Kraft family regarding the aforementioned ventures. In the meantime, we continue looking for new opportunities to provide for the world’s neediest animals, increase our visibility as an organization, build our global network of partners, raise necessary funds, and attract talented individuals to join our efforts.

We’re also proud to maintain and deliver on our pledge to allocate no less than 75 percent of every dollar on direct relief supplies and support, and to report back to each and every donor to provide them information about how, where, how much of, and on whom their contributions were spent.

Our goals remain ambitious. They must be, because too many animals continue to suffer needlessly. Yet, the more progress we make – no matter how small – the bigger our dreams and ideas grow. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that we couldn’t have arrived where we are today without the help of several hard-working volunteers. We thank them, and emphasize that we always have room for more.

Our third year was undoubtedly our best so far. I can’t wait to see where Year 4 takes us. ETS