How Greyhound Adoption Center is Adopting a Path to Sustainability

Greyhound Adoption Center
Greyhound Adoption Center's mission is to ensure each rescued greyhound is in good health and on a path to happiness.

Since 1987, the Greyhound Adoption Center (GAC) has rescued thousands of dogs who were formerly raised to race. Its mission: Ensure each individual dog is in good health and has a route to future happiness.

GAC volunteers and staff believe the road to recovery and subsequent adoption begins with taking a holistic approach to a canine’s well-being.

While the current facilities boast an expansive 3.5-acre lot in El Cajon housing about 50 dogs, GAC’s early years were riddled with inefficiencies and tough learning lessons.

During the last three decades, the organization sought to centralize services, create diverse ways to give via their Sponsor Program and relied heavily on the support of their members, donors and volunteers.

In September 2017, The San Diego Foundation assisted GAC in opening a nonprofit non-endowment fund, providing the organization with a long-term investment vehicle that has the flexibility and liquidity of a commercial investment account.

Unlike endowment funds, non-endowment funds have no permanent principal balance. Because non-endowment pools are 100 percent liquid, assets can be immediately granted back to an organization should there be a financial need.

I recently sat down with GAC Executive Director, Lisa Yoshitake, to discuss long-term sustainability models and how her organizations is creating a path to success for the next 30 years.

Interview with Lisa Yoshitake

Candace Wo: Were you facing any challenges regarding financial sustainability before establishing a nonprofit non-endowment fund at The San Diego Foundation?

Lisa Yoshitake: As with any nonprofit, sustainability is a concern that is evaluated with each budget. GAC received a generous bequest a couple years ago that has helped our balance sheet. But, we need to maintain vigilance to ensure that our operating budget remains balanced.

CW: What were the reasons you decided to establish this nonprofit fund? 

LY: Due to the bequest, GAC had some long-term funds that were not earning adequate returns. This non-endowment fund at The Foundation provides the flexibility to access the funds when needed but provides better earnings potential than the insured money market accounts we had been using.

CW: Why is sustainability and organization longevity important to your work?

LY: There are many greyhounds in need of rescue and adoption. We are also committed to being available for all adopters on an ongoing basis. As our mission continues, it is the board’s obligation to commit to sustainability and longevity.

CW: How does sustainability help staff and programs?

LY: Sustainability ensures that GAC has the funds to support all programs and pay our staff. It frees up resources to allow our team to focus on the mission of saving dogs and matching adopters with a dog that suits them.

CW: Why did you decide to set up a fund with The San Diego Foundation?

LY: We hope to engage more legacy donors in the coming years. We like the fact that The San Diego Foundation can support more complex giving opportunities for our legacy donors, such as gifts of real estate or charitable remainder trusts, than we could on our own.

Support GAC Today

Find out if a nonprofit agency fund is right for your organization.

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About Candace Wo

Candace WoAs Mitigation and Nonprofit Funds Manager, Candace provides oversight, strategic direction and growth opportunities for mitigation and agency funds. She develops complex financial models and provides detailed proposals and recommendations that will produce revenue in perpetuity. Candace serves as the primary liaison to governmental agencies, project proponents and nonprofits in the greater San Diego region to realize their philanthropic needs.