Apr. 8—The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia is gearing up for the 12th annual Art with Heart fundraiser, and this year, the organization says, its $220,000 fundraising goal is more important than ever.
"Everything we do, from vaccinating (the animals) when they come in the door, to feeding them ... all the medical care they might need ... there's just a lot of neglect that you see," said Sam Threadgill, the humane society's development and marketing director. "So when people are donating to an event like this ... you're donating to help an animal."
Threadgill said in-person attendance for the fundraiser on Saturday, April 17, at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville will be limited to 175 people, so only sponsors will be able to attend the full event in person. The live event begins at 7 p.m.
However, those who purchase a $60 VIP all-access virtual pass for the event will receive special perks, including an opportunity to schedule a 30-minute slot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to peruse the art in a "behind-the-scenes viewing party" on Saturday. She also said, since the event is being held online, as well as in person, it's essentially an all-day gala.
"We'll have champagne, and they can meander through all of the art and non-art packages during the day so that they know what they're bidding on," Threadgill said.
Auction items available for bidding include pieces of art, including pieces by local artists Clayton Santiago and Frank Norton Jr., a trip to Antigua, prize baskets and other items.
Virtual pass holders will also receive a special gift pack sent to their home, which includes a gift certificate to Cork It in Gainesville, treats from Pet Pleasers Bakery in Gainesville and other "little surprises," Threadgill said.
Threadgill said all money collected during the fundraiser will go directly to rescue and care for the animals. For example, she said, purchase of a $60 virtual pass is a donation that can feed two dogs for a month.
Plus, she said, donations made at the event or during the 30-minute in-person art walk throughs, can get attendees a "whiskey and wine grab." Donors who give a minimum $50 for whiskey or $40 for wine will be able to reach for a mystery bottle that Threadgill said is top-of-the-line.
She said the organization is even planning to open up online bidding in the event's silent auction beginning Thursday, April 15. And once a donor buys a virtual pass, they're already registered to bid on auction items, she added.
Sponsorships, which will allow attendance at the live event, are also still available for purchase and begin at $500. A sponsorship gives the donor two in-person tickets, as well as marketing perks for their business. Higher sponsorships add in-person tickets. The in-person live event will include h'orderves, complimentary beer and wine and a full bar.
Threadgill said the pandemic made operations for the humane society more challenging, just as it did in many other industries, but the organization never turned its back on an animal.
"If you think about how $60 can help feed two dogs, imagine what $200,000 can do," she said. "We've prided ourselves throughout COVID that, even though we shut our doors to the public, we never shut our doors to an animal. We were never not at the shelter."
Threadgill said it's important to have the financial help of the community, because often people don't realize how large of a job the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia has. She said the regional humane society is a no-kill shelter that takes in animals, often many at one time, to save them and then takes on a large financial responsibility all at once to do so.
"We work with other animal shelters, as well as animal control," Threadgill said. "Two weeks ago, we ... worked with Hall County Animal Control to help them move ... 25 dogs out of their facility that were at risk of being euthanized. ... To take that many at once is a big thing, but HSNEGA partners with Hall County Animal Control frequently, as well as other animal shelters."
There are always animals in need, said Threadgill, and only through community support, like what's offered through the Art with Heart fundraiser, can the nonprofit organization care for the abandoned and neglected animals who need love and to find their forever homes.
12th annual Art with Heart fundraiser
Where: Chattahoochee Country Club and online
When: April 17, all day; live event beginning at 7 p.m.
How much: $60 for virtual pass; $500 and up for sponsorship
Contact: 770-532-6617 ext. 243, or sthreadgill@HSNEGA.org