A Berks County family known far and wide for its mushrooms is making history in the advancement of animal welfare efforts in Berks County.
Humane Pennsylvania announced Thursday that it has been awarded a $3.1-million grant from The Giorgi Family Foundation.
The money, to be gifted over the next three years, represents the largest gift ever received by the Reading-based partnership of animal welfare organizations, which include the Humane Society of Berks County, and is among the largest single gifts ever made in support of animal welfare services in the United States, officials said.
"Thanks to the generosity of The Giorgi Family Foundation and their belief in our vision, we will now be able expand our services into Reading and Berks County to a far greater extent than we ever have before," said Karel Minor, Humane Pennsylvania's chief executive officer.
The grant, officials said, aims to eliminate preventable animal suffering in Berks County by undercutting its root causes. It will target key factors, including preventative veterinary care, universal identification, universal sterilization services, comprehensive community pet data collection, and pet food security.
"The key to solving the problems facing animals in our community is to provide comprehensive and intensive services, with resources and facilities which fully support them," Minor said. "We've had a 21st century vision but we've only had 20th century resources. The Giorgi Family Foundation's gift changes everything."
The money, Minor said, will allow for the complete restoration of the Humane Society's animal shelter on North 11th Street in Reading as well as expand Humane Pennsylvania's veterinary services, enhance its "Healthy Pets, Healthy Lives" initiative, and bolster its ability to prepare for local, regional, and national emergencies and disasters that impact animals.
"The Giorgi Family Foundation is pleased to support Humane Pennsylvania's innovative program, which will make a profound impact in our community," said Peter Giorgi, president of Maidencreek Township-based Giorgio Foods Inc. "We have been impressed by Humane Pennsylvania's leadership, passion, and systematic approach to tackling the core colleges of animal welfare, and the Foundation is excited about the potential of this grant."
A $75,000 grant from the foundation in 2017 allowed Humane Pennsylvania to provide hundreds of free animal sterilizations and hold multiple free vaccination clinics in Reading's economically challenged neighborhoods.