History & Mission
HISTORY OF CASCADES HUMANE SOCIETY
In the late 1920's a woman name Virginia Lavender started an organization for the humane care of animals that was a forerunner to today's Society. To our knowledge, it was never formally incorporated. She spent most of her time rescuing sick and injured animals, having them treated, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and placing them in homes. Most of the cost for the animals came out of her own pocket.
The Animal Welfare League of Jackson, Inc. (now know as Cascades Humane Society) was organized and incorporated on January 23, 1952 by Kenneth and Edith Dunning (brother and sister) along with Gertrude Campbell, Betty Bishop, Phyllis Frye and Janet Lindquist. This caring group of people created bylaws, held meetings and kept animals that needed help in their homes. They had membership dues and received a few donations to help pay vet bills but the majority of the money needed to pay expenses came out of their pockets.
In June 1966 the IRS granted the Animal Welfare League of Jackson its tax-exempt status making it a 501(c)3 organization.
In 1977 the organization rented a building (former vet's office) on Blake Road just off Elm Street for use as a shelter. There was a cat room, dog room and 10 outside runs. They also hired an Executive Director but that position only lasted about a year. The shelter operation was meager at best and there just were not enough funds to support and improve it so it was closed in 1980. When the shelter closed the organization rented office space at 501 West Franklin Street.
In 1981 a certificate of assumed name was filed to do business as Cascades Humane Society.
In 1984 Dr. Pat Gorczyca opened Blackman Animal Clinic and provided discounted and many times free veterinary care for the animals under the care of the Society. In addition, he discounted his costs for people that applied through the Society for spay/neuter or medical assistance. Dr. Gorczyca, through his kindness to and from friendship with Doris Upp, was instrumental in her decision to leave her entire estate to the Society. He became a member of the Board of Directors in 1996.
In 1987 the office moved to the Armory Court Building at 634 North Mechanic Street. In 1993 Peter Weatherwax, a Jackson philanthropist and animal lover, donated $35,000 to create some office space for the Society in a warehouse he owned at 626 North Mechanic Street and then only charged $100 a month rent. (The $100 rent was probably just for tax purposes.)
In January of 1996 Mr. Weatherwax told the Humane Society that he would donate the property it was on to have a shelter and he would give the organization money to do it. (An architect donated his talent and drew up plans to remodel the existing building (approximately $550,000) and the Board interviewed two firms concerning a feasibility study. Unfortunately, Mr. Weatherwax became ill shortly thereafter and died unexpectedly. He was a very kind and generous man and should always be remembered as a wonderful supporter of the Humane Society's mission and purpose even though he died before his intentions could be carried out. Years later, it was discovered that the land was very contaminated and unbuildable so it turned out to be a blessing in disguise that the Society did not receive the land.
In August of 1996 an Executive Director was hired to move the organization forward in terms of community awareness and perception, financial assistance, office management, program expansion, etc. In December of 1996 the organization was changed from being organized on a membership basis to a directorship basis. In 1997 Bylaws were updated and the Articles of Incorporation were restated in preparation for a future Feasibility Study and Capital Campaign to build a Humane Society Shelter and Adoption Center.
1998 was spent enhancing programs, increasing fundraisers, getting state-of-the-art financial systems in place and preparing for a Feasibility Study in 1999.
In early 2000, pre-campaign planning was done, and on Thursday, May 11, 2000 the first Campaign Cabinet meeting was held. The goal to reach was $1.3 million. Campaign co-chairs were Georgia Fojtasek, CEO of Foote Hospital and Brad Weeks, Vice President of Comerica Bank. Later Brad Weeks moved to California and Kirk Mercer of R. W. Mercer Co. took over as co-chair. Other cabinet members were Charles Aymond, Dick Burgess, Diane Cerqueira, A. P. and Bea Cook, Rick Davies, Carl English, Dan Evans, Judi Ganton, Dr. Patrick Gorczyca, Jim Grace, Dr. Edward and Helen Green, Mayor Martin Griffin, Daria Grinenko, Roy and Joan Kaywood, Marcia MacCready, John and Dee Murdy, Cheryl Norey, Doug Schaffer, Lilly Sill, Al Spiess, Jr. and Terry Wineland.
During this time, the Friends of Cascades Humane Society auxiliary was formed. A steering committee was put together to create bylaws, procedures, etc. and on April 26, 2001 the Inaugural Board of Directors meeting of the Friends was held. the auxiliary's purpose is to lend financial and volunteer support to CHS. They run the majority of the fundraisers.
On September 19, 2001 a ground breaking ceremony was held at the site but then legal problems with the road caused delays. Actual construction did not begin until a year later. During construction, it was discovered that the cost of the building was going to be substantially more than originally estimated. The Board of directors went to the Capital Campaign Cabinet requesting that the campaign goal be revised to $1.8 million. The Cabinet consented, fund raising continued and by the time the building was completed in October 2003, all but $180,000 had been raised.
On December 7, 2003 the Grand Opening of Cascades Humane Society Shelter and Adoption Center was held. Almost 1,500 people from the community came and toured the building.
Revised May, 2011
A community in which all pets have loving homes and are treated with compassion and respect.
Connecting animals in need with people who care.