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SCAF Animal shelter will be built, but it takes time

“We want that shelter built yesterday, but there’s only one chance to launch a capital campaign, and it must be done right,” said St. Croix Animal Friend’s secretary Vicki Donatell.

The SCAF Board of Directors is aware the public is wondering what is taking them so long to build an actual animal shelter building, Donatell said.

“It’s a lot of preparation work to start a capital campaign,” Donatell said. “That may be difficult for the public to understand.”

SCAF is a nonprofit organization working toward building an animal shelter, adoption and education center in St. Croix County. The effort began in 2005 when a group of citizens banded together to make this a reality. The organization received nonprofit status in 2006.

In 2010, SCAF bought 6.6 acres in the Town of Warren near the Roberts exit of Interstate 94. The plan is to develop the entire site, with an adoption and education facility, a boarding facility, an amphitheater, a covered picnic pavilion, a community room  and a dog park. The estimated price tag is $3 million.

“There’s a lot we envision,” Donatell said. “But people need to understand that fundraisers simply aren’t going to build a shelter. It takes several million dollars and an endowment of $1 million to sustain and maintain the facility.”

Donatell said the Town of Warren location is perfect, not only for its proximity to the center of the county, but for the exceptional access to the freeway.

While the organization of course wants a shelter, Donatell said, it also must focus on its animal service programs, which are the purpose of the organization in the first place.

In the December SCAF newsletter, board president Diana Neubarth sums up SCAF’s programs and its benefits.

“We have been working very hard to lay the groundwork for programs that will be used once the shelter is built,” Neubarth wrote. “We have an Emergency Medical Program, which assists people to offset the cost of medical needs for a pet that has been tragically injured or became extremely ill. We have a Spay and Neuter program to help end the senseless overpopulation of pets. Our Microchip Program provides a chip and registration for the life of your pet. This is a priceless asset if your pet becomes lost. Our Reaching Out Program helps people that have fallen on hard times to feed their pets which enables them to keep them in their homes. Our Foster Program is in the beginning stages, but we have already been very successful in helping pets find their forever home.”

According to Donatell, SCAF is in the process of interviewing 20 candidates to write a case statement and six candidates for a capital campaign manager.

Donatell described a case statement as similar to presenting one’s case in court. The case statement will provide potential investors with the identification of a problem, justification for fixing the problem and the solution to the problem, Donatell said.

“The case statement must be supported by research,” Donatell said. “We’re not just stating a dream. You have to be very practical with it. Investors expect a formal document when this level of support is needed.”

Donatell said the board has tripled in size in the last year-and-a-half since SCAF began working with volunteer campaign fund and organizational specialists to set itself up to start an intensive capital campaign.

According to Donatell, the next step is hiring the capital campaign manager and case statement writer. Once the case statement is written, the campaign manager will direct the board how to proceed with intensive fundraising.

“When SCAF incorporated and set their goal to build a shelter, they had no idea the time, work, and process it would require,” the newsletter states. “SCAF deeply appreciates the individuals who volunteer to work with us and continue their financial support of our shelter goal in spite of the time it is taking. Be assured, no one wants this shelter built more quickly that SCAF itself.”

SCAF’s latest fundraising effort is a “No Show New Year’s Eve Party.” The fundraiser’s flyer gives different donation amount suggestions and associates each with a typical New Year’s Eve activity.

For example, for $10 “You can sip champagne at home and not have to brave the cold.” For $50 “You won’t have to join in to sing <I>Auld Lang Syne<I>. For $100 “You can watch the Times Square countdown with your pet.”

“Given the holiday season, it’s hard to get volunteers to attend or work at a fundraiser,” Donatell said. “This is something light-hearted and through the mail.”

For more information on SCAF, visit, email questions to or call 715-749-3763. Donations may be sent to SCAF, PO Box 1169, Hudson, WI 54016.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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