AVMF debuts charitable fund, announces $185K in scholarships

Published on September 02, 2015
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The American Veterinary Medical Foundation this summer officially launched its charitable fund reimbursing veterinarians who provide low- or no-cost veterinary care for clients facing financial difficulties.

Through its Veterinary Care Charitable Fund, the AVMF accepts donations and disburses payments directly to enrolled clinics for the charitable care they provide. Money in a clinic’s account can be used as needed without  advance approval by the AVMF. Moreover, donations to the fund are tax-deductible.

The fund is a new benefit exclusively for AVMA members and just one among a number of announcements the AVMF made during the AVMA Annual Convention held July 11-14 in Boston.

On July 10, the AVMF hosted a fundraising reception—”An Unforgettable Evening with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation: Honoring History, Embracing the Future”—at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum was the
venue for the AVMF fundraiser in Boston.

Two days after the reception, at the Foundation’s Partner and Impact Breakfast, AVMF Vice Chair Jan Strother spoke about the value of the new charitable fund for veterinary services. Veterinarians sometimes have clients who cannot afford medical care for a pet, Dr. Strother noted.

“While veterinarians are so sympathetic to such needs, they may be unable, as we all know, to accommodate all those requests,” she said.

Many veterinary practices have an “angel fund” to help struggling clients, but that money is limited and donations are not tax-exempt, so veterinarians are often unable to discount their services, Dr. Strother added.

Through the VCCF, the AVMF serves as a hospital’s charitable umbrella by accepting donations from its clients and disbursing payments directly to the hospital for the charitable care provided.

In addition to the VCCF fund established in the enrolled hospital’s name, these hospitals also have access to the VCCF Greatest Needs Fund. Enrolled hospitals may request a grant from the Greatest Needs Fund in the event the hospital’s individual VCCF account is depleted and an animal needs care. Enrolled hospitals can apply for this funding once a year while seeking additional donations to replenish their individual hospital accounts. The public can donate directly to the Greatest Needs Fund.

Dr. Strother announced a $10,000 donation from Merial to the Greatest Needs Fund. 

“I think the Veterinary Care Charitable Fund is going to be the Foundation’s flagship, going forward,” AVMF Chair John Brooks said. “It touches right to the grass roots, and that’s where we want to be.”

Additionally, Dr. Brooks said Merck Animal Health had provided $185,000 in veterinary student scholarships that will be administered by the AVMF. Twenty $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to second- and third-year veterinary students in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean, and 14 $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to students in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

During the breakfast, AVMA awards were presented to Dr. Jose M. Peralta, John J. McGlone, PhD, and Brig. Gen. John Poppe (seeRecognized for excellence”). Also, the AVMF Impact Award was given to Dr. Jan Strother; the new Student Impact Award was presented to the Student AVMA; and the Ambassador of the Year Award was given to Dr. Peter Nichols and staff in Washington, Illinois.