Celebrating its 10th anniversary at 7620 Girard Ave., the non-profit Ark Antiques shop held a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon for volunteers and beneficiaries to distribute monies raised for local animal charities.
Ark Antiques — though it has changed names and locations over the years — has been donating its net proceeds to animal groups for 40 years, said owner Elizabeth Davidson. The volunteer-run store makes more than $2 million a year, funding what is distributed to beneficiaries through a grant process.
The groups receiving funds this year include: The East County Animal Rescue, Feral Cat Coalition, The Fund for Animals, Horses of Tir Na Nog, Operation Greyhound, Project Wildlife, TERI, Rancho Coastal Human Society, Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary, San Diego House Rabbit Society, and San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society.
“I think it was a real plus for our volunteers to see how the money we give our beneficiaries is spent,” said manager Daisy Fitzgerald. “At our luncheon, representatives from these organizations gave a description of how they spend the money and that was very rewarding.”
Using the Las Patronas granting model, Davidson determines which animal programs would most benefit from Ark funding.
“(The organizations) need to have been in existence for two years; we want to see their financials, how many people or animals they reach each month or year; we prefer to grant monies for capital items if possible and not salaries,” she said. Ark has also begun giving money for veterinary expenses so organizations can avoid putting animals to sleep.
A typical grant is $15,000, sometimes more and sometimes less. Davidson noted that for the Turtle and Tortoise Society, $500 would be huge.
Ark Antiques also maintains an emergency reserve for organizations in need of help in disasters. Fitzgerald said during the 2012 wildfires in East County, they were able to pay for Project Wildlife to send food to the animals that survived and pay for treatment of the animals that were burned.
“During Hurricane Katrina, we funded three people to fly out and rent an RV so they could build an enclosure and save a lot of the dogs that were loose,” Fitzgerald said.
Davidson said they raise cash by selling mostly consigned items that are donated to the store. “Small things we accept almost any time, larger things we hope you’ll tell us, ask us, and send us pictures,” she said. “Donors like our mission and they like to see their family possessions go to such a nice place.”
■ In 2012, the shop took in 9,000 items and sold 5,400 of them to benefit animal care and protection agencies.