N.C. firm agrees to raise funds for new shelter

Gary B. Gray • Apr 4, 2013 at 10:30 PM

A company is now in place to lead what should be the majority of a capital campaign to raise money to build the new Washington County-Johnson City Animal Shelter’s estimated $1.2 million “footprint.”

North Carolina-based Dickerson, Bakker and Associates agreed in principle Wednesday to accept the Animal Control Board’s slightly revised version of a contract that makes the company the guiding force in a quest to locate major donors, as well as various levels of givers.

“The board will hold a special called meeting to take a final look at the contract, which the company is now finalizing in a format they use,” City Manager and board Chairman Pete Peterson said Thursday. “The president of the company said he had no issues with the revised version, and they will begin immediately after the contract is finalized.”

On Tuesday, board members sifted through a rough draft of the reworked original contract offered to board members by the company on Feb. 26. At that time, the company’s feasibility study revealed a potential $250,000 donor had been identified. Company President Derric Bakker asked for a $5,500 per month fee to head a 15- to 18-month fundraising campaign, which would have cost $99,000, not including expenses.

Peterson said the company has accepted a rate of $5,000 per month. The board has an option in the contract that allows it to drop the company’s services by giving 30 days’ notice.

Bakker originally told board members the company would want to continue their work through the 18-month period, but some concessions have been made.

“They will be paid month to month, and there is no minimum number of months,” Peterson said. “That does not include expenses. There also has been no hourly rate established, which would be used if we let the contract expire but want to bring them on later. It’s basically an open-ended contract. And once we feel like we’ve gotten to the point where we think we can take over, we’ll have our fundraising committee take over.”

At this point, a committee has not been formed, but Peterson said that will be something the board will need to do as soon as possible.

“Based on the interviews they’ve already done, they will assemble a partial donor list,” he said. “They will help the board put together educational and marketing materials.”

City Commissioner and board member Ralph Van Brocklin first introduced the idea of hiring a professional firm one year ago. The idea was dropped when it was assumed there were some big-time donors committed to contributing an amount equaling more than twice the amount to build the original $1.2 million footprint.

Those commitments have since vanished, but the board appears to be back on track.

A 6.6-acre tract of land off North Roan Street sports a “coming soon” sign. And now, after one year of acquiring that land, a professional fundraising company is about to put on its gloves and go to work.

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