On Thursday, Nov. 17, low-income military veterans will be able to access free veterinary care for their pets, thanks to a special fundraising effort by Mission Animal Hospital
The nonprofit veterinary clinic is among the 10,000 Minnesota charities, churches and causes that will raise funds in the eighth annual Give to the Max Day
Last year the 24-hour fundraiser pulled in more than $18 million in donations.
“We’re earmarking half of all the money we raise on Give to the Max Day to fund care for the pets of veterans,” says Dr. Susan Miller, founder of Mission Animal Hospital. “A donor who wants to remain anonymous gave us a $35,000 matching grant, so any individual donor can double down with their gift to us that day. We’ve been told that nonprofits that have these kind of matches do very well with fundraising.”
On Give to the Max Day, low-income veterans who come to the Mission clinic in Eden Prairie between 4 and 7 pm will get free vaccines, heart worm testing and nail trims for their pets, a package worth $200.
A full service animal clinic with a staff of 31, Mission Animal Hospital charges market rates for veterinary care for pet owners who can afford it. The clinic offers sliding scale fees for the pets of low-income clients.
“Every day, we see people who are struggling to make ends meet and can’t afford pet care. They take money from their food or rent, and they wait too long to bring sick pets in. This includes veterans, a group who has given so much. Some of them have PTSD and their service dogs help keep them stabilized,” says Dr. Miller. “They should not have to make financial sacrifices for their pets.”
Dr. Miller encourages all Give to the Max Day donors to check with their employers; many Minnesota companies of all sizes match a portion of the donations made by their workers.
The 24 hour giving event also includes incentives and promotions to build excitement for the day. Since Nov. 1, donors have been able to begin scheduling their gifts, with all of those donations counting toward the Give to the Max Day total, which makes them eligible for prizes.
The online giving event is coordinated by GiveMN, an organization that provides secure and efficient online fundraising; donors will be able to make their gifts expediently and safely. This year for the first time, GiveMN has a feature that allows donors to pay the online processing fee on behalf of their favorite causes; that ensures that 100% of their intended gift goes directly to the organization.
Nonprofits in every Minnesota county will participate in the annual giving event. Some well-known charities raise hundreds of thousands of dollars on Give to the Max Day; smaller civic and community groups, devoted to the arts, health, hunger or education, boost their coffers by a much smaller amount.
“Last year, we were only a little over a year old and we participated in Give to the Max Day for the first time,” Dr. Miller says. “We raised $6,000 without making a lot of effort. This year, with our matching grant, we have set a stretch goal of $50,000 for the day. The average invoice for a veterinary visit is $175, so we could help a lot of low-income pet owners if we’re successful.”