AVMA to develop charitable giving policy

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The Executive Board approved a recommendation from the Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues to develop a policy to guide future AVMA charitable response to national and international disasters involving members or for more general humanitarian purposes involving animals.

One example of charitable giving by AVMA was in 2005 when the board allocated $500,000 in matching funds to solicit monetary donations for a fund established by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation for disaster relief efforts in the Gulf States ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. As many as 498 AVMA members contributed to the AVMF in response to the hurricane.

Another example was when, after the tsunami made landfall in South and Southeast Asia in December 2004, the AVMA joined forces with Heifer International to raise $1 million to help provide long-term development assistance to impoverished families in the affected countries. The AVMA met its $1 million goal June 30, 2005. The AVMA and its constituency funded 50 percent of Heifer's tsunami rebuilding efforts, a $2 million campaign, while Heifer donors provided the remaining amount.

Prior to approving the development of a policy, the board disapproved a policy on charitable giving brought forward by board members Drs. David McCrystle, Jacky Horner, and Theodore Cohn, and by Dr. Charles Hendrix, AVMA vice president. The policy that was disapproved stated that "the AVMA does not participate in charitable giving in response to local, national, or international disasters." One board member said that this policy was too restrictive.

On a related note, in 2006, the board was approached with a resolution to determine whether charitable giving is part of the Association's mission, and if it is, to define charitable giving and establish a charitable giving policy. The board forwarded the resolution to the House of Delegates with no recommendation. The HOD later disapproved the resolution at its annual session in July.