When the Humane Society of Midland County (HSoMC) took over Midland County’s animal control in 2011, their main goal was to improve the lives of Midland’s animals inside and out of the shelter. This was spearheaded by the implementation of an anti-euthanasia policy and placed an emphasis on spaying and neutering stray animals.
Because the HSoMC is a non-profit organization, it relies on fundraising to keep the shelter in operation and outreach funds in order to find homes for animals. The Ties & Tails Gala, which will be held this year on Oct. 17, is the Humane Society’s biggest fundraiser.
Erica Piña, Director of Events and Marketing for the HSoMC, is the director for this year’s gala. Since the gala is soon approaching, Piña is currently organizing volunteers and pulling together details to ensure that the gala goes smoothly.
“I am trying to raise over $100,000 to keep the shelter going and cover our medical costs for our rescue family,” Piña said in an email interview. “Eighty-five percent of my time is meeting with the head of corporations we have here in Midland to ask for sponsorships; so far we have DOW, Xalt Energy, Tri Star Bank, Great Lakes Pet Emergency, and many more in.”
Piña herself has been an active member of the Humane Society for years. She adopted a kitten named Chevy in Washington, D.C. and volunteered while growing up. Apart from the gala, Piña is in charge of managing other fundraising events for the HSoMC.
“We have monthly events I put on and promote,” Piña said. “I am also helping with the social media and press. I am building community relationships and partnerships every day and open to many more opportunities to expand our shelter.”
The honorary chairs of the Ties & Tails Gala are Paula Tolliver and Jim Fitterling. Tolliver is Corporate Vice President of Business Services and CIO for Dow Chemical, and Fitterling is the Vice Chairman of Business Operations for Dow Chemical. This will be the fourth year in a row for Tolliver and Fitterling acting as honorary chairs out of the five years the gala has been put on. Tolliver and Fitterling’s role is to help plan the event and improve it from year to year.
“The objective is to put on a great event that people (and their pets) can enjoy and that brings people back every year,” Tolliver said in an email interview. “And of course the event must focus on raising as much money as possible to support the important goals of the Humane Society and support the operation of the shelter over the next year. Jim and I advise on fund raising ideas and help generate funds through our relationships in the community.”
Held at Dow Diamond, the gala allows attendees to be at a formal event while still interacting with members from the community and supporting the HSoMC.
“I really enjoy the silent auction and live auctions where fantastic prizes are donated by people and businesses around the state of Michigan and are bid on by gala attendees,” Tolliver said. “My favorite part of the evening is the ‘pooch parade’ where people attending the event introduce their pets to the audience. The evening is full of energy and fun and it makes you feel good that you are supporting a great cause – the Humane Society of Midland County.”
Piña and Tolliver shared that the gala will have a variety of new highlights, along with favorites from past years. This year’s gala will feature music from Empty Canvas, a selfie area with the opportunity to share pictures on social media, a diamond surprise game, and activities for pet attendees as well.
By Maggie Schaller