According to the Chamber’s website, the award, one of nine categories, “Honours an Association who is a not for profit organization, (including charities, community associations and societies); The organization will have shown innovation and leadership and achieved outstanding success in the not-for-profit sector.”
“Being nominated for this recognition is an honour in itself,” says Eyal Lichtmann, executive director of the Regional Animal Protection Society. “It is a sign that the work we have been doing is noticed by people in our community.”
The Regional Animal Protection Society began more than 20 years ago (as Richmond Homeless Cats) and this year changed its name from the Richmond Animal Protection Society to better reflect the geographic reach of the organization’s work. RAPS is a NO-KILL animal-serving agency that operates Canada’s only Cat Sanctuary, has been contracted for more than a decade to run the City of Richmond Animal Shelter, and runs the RAPS Thrift Store.
“In the past two years, RAPS has been engaged in an unprecedented process of professionalization and growth,” Lichtmann says. “Every aspect of the agency’s operations has been fine-tuned in preparation for us to do more of what we do best – saving and improving the lives of animals.”
Throughout this period of change, RAPS has reviewed and professionalized all governance and operations procedures to meet sector best practices, including updating accounting systems, ensuring full compliance and adherence to legal requirements, improved human resources systems and policies, expanded our membership base and communications with stakeholders, recruited extraordinary talent to the board, cut costs while increasing revenue, attracted in-agency veterinarians and maintained superb relations with the City of Richmond and corporate and non-profit partner agencies, including Applewood Auto Group and Vancity.
“Because of these efficiencies, we are now able to advance into the most exciting initiative of all,” Lichtmann says.
RAPS is in the process of completing the RAPS Regional Animal Hospital, centrally located in an ideal space within the Richmond Auto Mall. Anticipated to open by the end of this year, the Animal Hospital will eliminate RAPS’ external veterinary expenses, while creating revenue to save and improve the lives of more animals than ever before. A social enterprise model, which will provide sustainable, dependable funding year over year, is key to the future success of our programs and services, he says.
“Everything we do is possible because of the incredible support of members of our community who share our belief that every animal has the right to live a life of comfort, health and happiness,” Lichtmann says.
Thanking the individual who nominated RAPS and expressing optimism that RAPS will be recognized as Association of the Year, Lichtmann called on individuals and businesses to step up and help complete the RAPS Regional Hospital, which will launch the organization into unprecedented success in caring for animals.
“We are hoping to receive 5,000 contributions of $200 – that will allow us to complete construction and open the facility by December,” he says. “Some can’t afford that amount, others will give more. But, together, we are going to make this happen for the people and animals in our community.”