GLCCA Members in the Community – Helping Animals Get a New Home
As the owner of a small, community-focused agency, Joe Leventhal has always believed in giving back. “I make my living here in the community, so it just makes sense for my charitable efforts to benefit that same community that has helped my business thrive.” Because of this, when the opportunity to become a part of the Fond du Lac Humane Society Board of Directors came his way, Joe jumped at the chance.
The board invitation came at a critical time in the history of the Humane Society. For six years, the organization was trying to develop a plan to renovate or rebuild the current dilapidated structure. Joe brought a unique perspective to the project with a focus that was more on the business side rather than missional. “They were looking for someone who could guide the process and get the building constructed,” Joe notes.
The building plans that had been devised prior to Joe’s involvement were focused on a remodel of the current location. “This was just not feasible. There were many problems with the building that would need to be addressed to bring it into compliance with today’s standards,” Joe recalls.
After much consideration, plans for the construction of a completely new building were developed. “We created a great plan, but soon realized that we were going to need additional funding to construct a facility that would meet both current and future regulations and requirements.” Joe enlisted the help of a business colleague who could help find the required funds to move forward. “I knew a guy, who knew a guy,” Joe jokes. In the end, his efforts raised an additional $1M to fund the project.
Joe admits that the learning curve for building construction, which broke ground in May, was huge. “I’ve built a restaurant and done some home remodeling projects, but building a Humane Society is a whole different ball game given the laws that govern such a facility. It’s been fun and rewarding to create a facility that will be safe and comfortable for the animals.”
The new building, which should be completed in late November, will address many of the concerns that created issues in the old facility. The ventilation will be greatly improved for a much faster and more complete air exchange. This will provide a healthy air quality for the animals and a better experience for visitors.
The facility will also have better drainage and more comfortable spaces for pets. Additionally, the intake areas will provide a safer and less stressful experience for the animals who are surrendered or found as strays. Adoption rooms will also provide potential owners a comfortable space to get to know animals before they complete the adoption process.
In the end, volunteering on the Fond du Lac Humane Society board is a labor of love for Joe. “I can’t visit a humane society without coming home with another friend. Knowing the good this new building will provide for animals makes it all worthwhile.”
Photos courtesy of the Fond du Lac Humane Society.