Samantha Baillieu AM, Chairman of The Yulgilbar Foundation has launched the Lort Smith Our Future is in Your Hands Capital Campaign with a cornerstone philanthropic donation of $2 million and a further $1 million Challenge Grant.
“Lort Smith has been a part of my life for 25 years,” said Samantha Baillieu AM, Patron of the Lort Smith Capital Campaign. “Lort Smith stands as an iconic institution that has been serving the animals and people of Melbourne for more than 80 years, the brainchild of Louisa Lort Smith and Lady Lyle”.
The Capital Campaign launched Thursday 14 March looking to raise $20 million to refurbish Lort Smith Animal Hospital in North Melbourne; and to build a new community site in Melbourne’s north.
“The contribution from The Yulgilbar Foundation is to help enable and pave the way for this exciting vision to provide world-class animal healthcare and improve accessibility to services for a growing population and continue the legacy of the founders,” added Mrs Baillieu.
Lort Smith CEO, Fiona Webster, was amazed by Mrs Baillieu’s donation announcement.
“We are truly humbled by Samantha Baillieu’s generosity,” she said, “Lort Smith is a unique organisation that holds a treasured place in the hearts and minds of animal lovers across Victoria,” added Ms Webster.
Each year, Lort Smith finds new homes for nearly 1,000 animals. Its hospital provides $1.4 million in discounted veterinary care to those who need it most; and Pet Therapy teams spend nearly 2,500 hours visiting people in hospital, aged care and other facilities, providing joy and comfort. The positive social impact of Lort Smith’s work has been estimated by Ernst & Young at more than $10 million per annum.
“People are living longer and healthier lives. Sadly these advances are slow to benefit our animal companions who are so critical to our health and wellbeing,” emphasised Ms Webster, “Year on year the need for our services grows, but our current physical facilities have reached their limits. We need a new community site and support of this will have a vast impact on the reach of these vital community services.”
The total cost of the project is $30 million – Lort Smith has already raised one third. Individuals and organisations wishing to contribute to the Capital Campaign will have their donation matched dollar for dollar until the Grant Challenge of $1 million is reached, or until 31 December 2019.
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