How Your Donation Helps Us Help Wildlife
Building a legacy for the Comox Valley
The MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre is a non-profit organization run by four paid employees and roughly a 100 volunteers, about 40 of whom are active at any one time.
The unpaid MARS board members set the agenda, the paid employees ensure the day-to-day is taken care of, while our dedicated volunteers do the majority of the heavy-lifting.
It currently costs about $200,000/year to operate MARS on behalf of injured, ill or orphaned animals and birds in the Comox Valley and we are proud to say that 50 cents of every dollar we receive goes directly to wildlife care.
The rest goes to wildlife education and outreach, office administration, maintenance and property costs like rent.
It’s important to point out that MARS does not have stable funding.
We aren’t a business so there aren’t any profits, we rely exclusively on fundraising initiatives and the generosity of our valued benefactors.
So thank you in advance for taking the time to consider giving MARS a much-needed helping hand.
It is because of you that we can help sick, injured or orphaned patients.
How can you help?
In general there are lots of ways the public can help us, but because the act of giving is a personal process we’ve tried to come up with a range of gifting options that appeal to different tastes.
Cash donations are a popular, easy and essential way of getting involved.
You can send MARS a cheque or you can click on the CANADA HELPS tile at the top of the page in the right hand margin to donate online.
The process takes about 5 minutes.
Another great gifting idea is the Ambassador Sponsorship Certificate program.
This program allows donors to provide food for animals and birds on a monthly basis.
MARS particularly appreciates people who choose to donate monthly because it makes it easier for us to budget for wildlife needs over longer periods.
There are many more gifting options summarized in the grey box at the top of the page, click on the box and you will get more information about specific gifting ideas, contact information and our address.
We would also like to make clear that gifting MARS is not obligatory.
MARS does not expect financial gifts, bequeathments, endowments or gifts in kind and is constantly working on solutions to resolve our permanent funding needs.
However, until that time comes donations of any description are absolutely welcome and greatly appreciated.
The new MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre
On top of the annual budget, MARS fundraisers were presented with another challenge in 2016-2017: raising $1.5 million for the new MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre.
A larger facility with greater capacity was the dream of founder Mary Jane “Maj” Birch who died in 2015.
Maj and her family friend Michele Woodrow bequeathed more than $500,000 to MARS to help provide the impetus for the wildlife rescue centre.
Subsequently, MARS launched a capital campaign to fund the vital infrastructure; a wildlife hospital, a visitor/discovery centre, a large bird flight pen, bird and animal recovery buildings and pens, resident ambassador bird aviaries, a wetlands area and a deer enclosure.
So far MARS has managed to raise about a million dollars through various levels of government, generous corporate partners like Interfor and extraordinary endowments from individuals like Comox Valley home-owner, Sharron Lewis.
Construction has begun on the new wildlife hospital and we are in the process of finalizing a plan and builder to build the visitor/discovery centre.
However, we are still a concerning distance from reaching the finish line.
It is definitely in sight, but we are in need of a crucial push to get us there.
A special mention about the gift-in-kind
One method of gifting we often forget to mention, but could not do with out, is the gift-in-kind.
Building materials, labour, food for birds and animals, computer hosting, veterinarian expenses, caregiving and office administration are just some of the many areas where the gift of giving need not be cash.
In fact, many of our most loyal and dedicated donors are local individuals, businesses and organizations who just show up at MARS with a pile of lumber or a freezer full of salmon.
For example, local businesses Houle Electric and construction company BP2 have provided MARS with labour, materials, skills, and expertise for the construction of the new MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre facility.
You cannot plan for these selfless acts of kindness, but they are invaluable.
Maj would have been proud to know that the new MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre is first and foremost a community initiative, a wildlife rescue centre being built by the community for the community.
You can learn more about all of these amazing people, companies, corporate sponsors, bequeathers, endowers and gifters-in-kind through their compelling stories in the right-hand margin.
Finally we’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has already donated to MARS.
We couldn’t have made it this far without you.
MARS began its historic journey with Mary Jane Birch and her love for wildlife, but because of your ongoing generosity and support MARS now belongs to the Comox Valley community.