Categorized | Featured, Volunteering

Donors contribute $1 million to build new Animal Community Center


(From left) Donna Whitaker, HIHS Executive Director, Vivian Dixon and John Chapple, John and Anne Ryan, Scott Dodd and Barbara Kildow, co-chais capital campaign committee. (Photo courtesy of HIHS)

(From left) Donna Whitaker, HIHS Executive Director, Vivian Dixon and John Chapple, John and Anne Ryan, Scott Dodd and Barbara Kildow, co-chais capital campaign committee. (Photo courtesy of HIHS)


When part-time Hawaii Island residents Anne and John Ryan stepped up to the podium at Hawaii Island Humane Society’s annual Tropical Paws fundraising gala, the audience was electrified with the announcement of their capital campaign contribution of $500,000.

Calling for a world with more humanity, the Ryans challenged those in attendance to match their gift.

“Our relationship with Anne and John Ryan began when they volunteered to foster Bella, an injured dog who needed time to mend,” said Donna Whitaker, Hawaii Island Humane Society executive director. “They have been very supportive of our mission and have closely followed our progress to build our new state-of-the-art Animal Community Center.”

Just as the ovation finally quieted down, the crowd roared back up on their feet when Vivian Dixon and John Chapple, also part-time residents, took up the challenge with a $250,000 matching donation.

Everyone in the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai ballroom, bedecked for HIHS’ 50th anniversary celebration, immediately knew they were a part of something incredible.

“Our dream for the new Animal Community Center really took hold a few years ago when the outright purchase of our 12-acre parcel in cool, quiet, Keauhou Mauka was made possible by an anonymous gift of $800,000,” said Scott Dodd, HIHS capital campaign committee co-chair. “Since then, we have been formulating a master plan that will transform this former quarry site into a community treasure – and raising money to fund the first phase of construction.”

In a little more than thirty minutes, a total of $1 million was raised for the capital campaign from scores of donations ranging from $500,000 to $100.

With all the paddles raised, guest auctioneers Adam Atwood and Pat Batchelder needed extra help to acknowledge the outpouring of pledges.

“Every gift counts and we are extremely excited about our progress. We have been so fortunate to have had excellent support from very generous donors and numerous community groups and individuals who have stepped forward to contribute thousands of volunteer hours to the project,” said Susy Ruddle, HIHS Board President. “This bighearted outpouring of support allowed us to get the bulldozers started with rough grading and infrastructure development three weeks ago.”

The goal for the first phase of The Animal Community Center capital campaign is $3 million and, with the overwhelming support received at Tropical Paws, the cumulative amount raised tops $2.7 million.

“We are 100 percent energized to meet our first goal in the very near future and begin planning our next phase,” said Barbara Kildow, HIHS capital campaign committee co-chair. “Truly, the Animal Community Center will be a place of healing for animals and their people. We have already been blessed with enormous generosity and kindness.”

The Animal Community Center of the Hawaii Island Humane Society is located on a 12-acre upslope campus in Keauhou. Once completed, the new Center will be a resource for the entire island to enjoy.

In addition to comfortable dog and puppy hales and a cage-free Cat Barn, the Center will also include a Dog Park, Education Facility, Welcome Center, Kupuna Room, Community Outreach and Program Center.

Phase I construction will be completed at a cost of approximately $3 million.

Phase II will include construction of a new Spay/Neuter Clinic and Second Chance Place for stray dogs, cats and other mammals.

The HIHS Capital Campaign is led by co-chairs Scott Dodd and Barbara Kildow. Committee members include Susy Ruddle, Donna Whitaker, Adam Atwood, Elaine Johnson, Alison Leong, Anne Rediske, Debbie Baker and Patti Look.

The mission of the Hawaii Island Humane Society is to promote respect for all animals, prevent cruelty to animals, eliminate pet overpopulation, and enhance the bond between humans and animals. HIHS holds a contract with the county to enforce certain animal-related laws and it offers 24-hour service for injured animals and other animal emergencies, humane education classes, low-cost spay and neuter services, lost and found assistance, micro-chipping and more.

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HIHS Animal Community Center Cat Barn (Photo courtesy of HIHS)

HIHS Animal Community Center Cat Barn (Photo courtesy of HIHS)

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