Mayor Annise Parker on Friday night helped launch the new Houston BARC Foundation, a group of private citizens dedicated to improving the lives and survival rates of unwanted animals that end up in the city of Houston shelter.
Currently, taxpayers invest about $7 Million dollars annually into the city animal shelter, but the group hopes to raise an additional $4 Million annually through private fundraising. (The BARC Foundation recently earned its 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit organization from the IRS.)
According to the city, BARC is required to accept every animal surrendered regardless of the animal’s condition. Every day, there are thousands of stray and abandoned dogs and cats throughout Houston that could end up at the shelter.
As the city continues its efforts to transform BARC, the private funds raised by the foundation will support Mayor Parker’s plans to hire new staff and implement animal handling training programs, volunteer initiatives, spay/neuter and pet-owner counseling and animal care educational programs in Houston Schools.
The Founding Board of Directors of the Houston BARC Foundation reads like a list of names normally found in the society pages. They are President Linda Barrett, Janet Dietrich, Danielle Ellis, Sidney Faust, Tena Lundquist Faust, Tama Lundquist, Michelle Mantor and Sue Powell.
Other faces in the crowd included Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez, City Council Member Anne Clutterbuck, Alfred Moran with the city of Houston and former State Representative Ellen Cohen.
Several of BARC’s enthusiastic and hardworking employees also attended the foundation’s inaugural party, which was held at UP Restaurant in Highland Village.