DCF Capital Grant Helps Faithful Friends Animal Society Complete New Facility
Animal Adoption and Community Resource Center will Provide More Space for Increased Lifesaving Care
A $10,000 grant from the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF) will help Faithful Friends Animal Society complete construction of a new adoption and resource center featuring pet-friendly amenities such as green space for animals to play, a dedicated volunteer training area and separate food preparation and laundry spaces.
Built on the site of a former Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles inspection facility on Airport Road near New Castle, the new building will allow Faithful Friends to move from its leased space on Germay Drive into a permanent location that it will own.
Faithful Friends is one of 22 organizations awarded $254,823 from the DCF’s Capital Grants program. The program assists with the acquisition, final-stage design, construction, repair, renovation, rehabilitation, or other capital improvements of facilities, so nonprofits in all three counties can operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. Capital Grants support projects that will have a lasting, positive impact on the population or community served by the grantee organization.
Faithful Friends started in 2000 when Jane Pierantozzi and a group of volunteers founded Citizens for the Protection and Care of Animals (CPCA), which started with a Pet Life Line as an alternative animal welfare resource. At the time, Delaware publicly funded animal shelters had a 90% kill rate for dogs and cats, Pierantozzi said. CPCA incorporated and changed its name to Faithful Friends Animal Society in 2003 and opened a no-kill shelter.
As Faithful Friends grew, it moved to progressively larger spaces on Germay Drive. It currently leases three buildings there.
“From the very beginning, we always knew the space we started in would be temporary. But, in order to grow, you have to build the trust of the community in your commitment to high standards of care of the animals as well as increase your donor base to meet more community needs,” said Pierantozzi, now Faithful Friends’ executive director. “We knew we could get to a point where we would have our own, permanent center.”
Planning for the new facility at 165 Airport Road began in 2016, when the Delaware state legislature gifted a 20-plus acre site. Shortly after, Faithful Friends launched the quiet phase of its Building Compassion Campaign to acquire funds for the $7 million project. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues, estimated costs have risen to $10.9 million. With contributions from individuals, the state and foundations, Faithful Friends is nearing its fundraising goal.
The new facility, named after longtime board member and volunteer Sharon Struthers, is set to open this summer. Its amenities will include indoor/outdoor living spaces for both dogs and cats and new HVAC systems designed specifically for animals (including separate systems for sick animals). The new facility will enable Faithful Friends to care for more animals, increasing its capacity to 65 dogs and maintaining its capacity of 250 cats with improved enrichment for both dogs and cats.
“My passion is about the homeless animals in Delaware and giving them a voice,” Struthers said. “Jane (Pierantozzi) and Faithful Friends have been that voice for (the no kill movement and standards of care) over 20 years, and I don’t think there are any other animal shelters in Delaware that do what Faithful Friends does.”