I have been contributing to Gentle Giants for several years now. Periodically, I have received a letter soliciting funds and I was so impressed, I did contribute. Last week, my husband visited the facility and confirmed that our money is being well-spent! The facilties are beautiful, the staff answered all of our questions, and the horses are getting the best of care.
Review from Guidestar
I have trouble understanding the finances as reported on their tax returns. From what appears to be a mom and pop starting with $40,965 in contributions in 2006 and contributions totaling $942,138 over 5 years and I note in the first three years they spell out in detail program expenses for horses, supplies and vet expenses from 60 to 90 % of their revenues on the tax returns.. I can no longer find that detailed information on any of the tax returns.
I do see where in 2012 using an out side fundraiser, they show $1,574,679 of contributions, and show fund raising consultant fees of $277,540, direct mailing expense of $978,420 and fund raising expense $251,808..... my math says that totals $1,507,768 and leaves them with $66,910 and separately they receive about another $165,718. Does that mean only approximately 15% of all money raised goes directly for expenses to to obtain and take care of the horses.?? Even then I would have to look to the financial statements since their fundraising letters, solicitations and website do not provide that detail but does go to your heart to save horses that go to slaughter, but it appears they have not saved very many more than over 300 over all the years in existence, which I might be wrong.
I do not know what I am missing as I truly believe their saving animals is important, the question is at what cost and I am sure there must be explanations or more detail that will explain everything that can be found in their financial statements.
I have requested their audited statements and await a response from one of the three family connected people who I believe are the officers of the Corporation since inception.
In addition on their web site I do not understand the comment 100% of all funds donated go directly to the purchasing of draft horse straight from the kill pen.
All of our Independent Audits for the last three years are listed on Guidestar.org for you to see, and they break down percentages of Program, Administrative, and Fundraising costs. Yes, we do report our accounting differently now, because now we actually have an accountant! Yes, we have grown very much since 2005, when we began with 4 horses on a shabby rental property in my back yard. The rescue now houses 61 horses, has 3 employees to care for said horses, a volunteer force of over 250, and owns it's own farm which spans 109 acres. Lots has changed, and all for the better. Signed, Christine Hajek, President and Founder
Review from Guidestar
Over the last 4 months I have donated and volunteered at GG. I can't say enough about this wonderful organization, the board, the other volunteers, and Christine. I came in contact with GG because I was looking for a horse rescue to donate funding to on the internet. It was important to me that the organization not only rescued horses but that they also worked in the community, and had a solid adoption program. Prior to contacting GG I visited several other rescues. All of which were friendly and good rescues but did not meet my expectations or requirements like GG has. During my volunteer time everyone is very welcoming and willing to lend a hand. While I have a passion for horses my education and experience does not match my passion. So in the beginning I was worried that would be a problem with volunteering. I experienced just the opposite, everyone there has helped me to gain more knowledge and experience. I have learned just as much with my time at GG as I have during my last 6 months of private lessons elsewhere. The rescue goes out of their way to make GG a place everyone can find a way to help and connect with the horses. In addition to my outstanding volunteer experience I had a great donor experience. A few weeks after my donation Christine talked with me about where my funding went as well as how much of a difference it had made to the rescue. The horses at GG are loved, well cared for and happy. They are provided with excellent medical care to meet whatever need they may have. Their adoption program is also great. Christine takes the time to match the right horse with the adopter and is honest about the horses potential as well as any additional experience the adopter may want to have prior to the adoption. Several solid matches have been made during my time at GG. If you are looking for a great place to call home for your volunteer time checkout this outstanding rescue. If you want to know your donation counts look into giving the horses at GG the gift of life! I hope to see you at the barn!
This is a fantastic rescue organization. They buy "used up" draft horses at "kill auctions" (where horses are sold for their meat, to be used as either human food in Europe and Japan, or for pet food in the US and Canada), and provide them a comfortable, safe sanctuary to live out their natural lives. These dignified animals are no longer able to work, but after years of serving their human owners, they certainly deserve better than the slaughterhouse. Their stories are heart-breaking, but even a small donation can help rescue one more soul.
This September I went out to Gentle Giants Draft Rescue and was impressed with this wonderful facility. The horses looked so healthy and happy and the staff were so dedicated and caring. I now sponsor a horse there and wish I lived closer so I could volunteer. I hope to be able to adopt a horse in the near future from Gentle Giants. This organization is how a rescue group should run, the horses are well cared for, the staff care about who adopts these beautiful horses and they are doing such a great thing by helping save horses from slaughter.
I was very concerned about the horse they advertised as abused so naturally I made a donation to help it. Turns out the horse had cancer and had never been abused. I then decided to check out their website some more..by golly they are nasty. Called a woman Jeffry Dalmer so I looked her up and she won her case against them. They have not filed for 2011 and I checked with IRS (I am now checking out everyone I give money to) and 2010 is not complete. Now I read on a forum that there are Draft Horses in trouble and they will only take them if someone else will pay for transportation.
*When Traveler arrived with her left eye enucleated and hanging out, we wrote that we SUSPECTED trauma. When exam by a veterinarian and x-rays confirmed that she had cancer, we immediately informed everyone of her diagnosis. *In a blog we did compare a local woman accused of abusing 152 horses to several infamous people. She did not "win" her case, she offered a plea bargain accepting ten counts of neglect. This was a case between the alleged abuser and Queen Anne's County Animal Control, not us. *I have no idea of what draft horses in danger you speak of.
Review from Guidestar
I found out about this rescue several years ago and have supported them for some time now. First-hand, personal experience allows me to say that rescues don't come any more dedicated, compassionate, knowledgeable and trustworthy than those at Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue. They provide a great service to those equines so very desperately in need of a new chance at a much better life.
Excellent draft horse rescue run by exceptionally caring and educated horse people. They do not avoid taking in horses with serious problems. Horses are thoroughly evaluated and their medical/health care is supervised by outstanding equine vets, so each individual horse recieves every bit of medical attention, hoof care and proper nutrition to bring them to optimal health. Each horse aso recieves the professional training they need to bring them to their best potential for a useful career. Many are entered in horse shows and compete with volunteer riders, which is great experience, as well as going out on trail rides and being evaluated and trained to pull a wagon. Many rescues say they do this, but they do not. Horses are only adopted to homes within a reasonable distance, so the rescue can actually keep track of their health and general care for as long as that horse lives. All equine rescues should be this well managed!