Back in 1998 Bill Hamilton adopted his second cat, Max, from San Francisco Animal Care and Control (ACC). Then, in the summer of 1999, he started volunteering there as a dog-walker. During this period he would send donations to ACC, and he always received a personal thank you letter signed by the director himself, Carl Friedman. But he also expected to receive regular followup solicitations from ACC for additional donations. None arrived. It turned out that ACC didn't have a development (fundraising) department. The agency had relied solely on unsolicited donations and bequests from private individuals to supplement its limited allocation from the city. In fact, ACC must compete for a piece of the budget "pie" with about 75 other city agencies, and animal welfare does not have as high a priority as human services.
Other city agencies have well-established and effective support organizations, such as the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the San Francisco Zoological Society, and the San Francisco Parks Trust (formerly the Friends of Recreation & Parks). Bill thought, 'Why not ACC?' When he called Carl about this and proposed starting a "Friends of" nonprofit for ACC, Carl warmly welcomed the idea.
With Carl's help and help from his own friends, Bill invited five other animal lovers to be the first board of the Friends of San Francisco Animal Care and Control (FSFACC) and set about fulfilling the state and federal requirements for nonprofit and corporate status. The State of California incorporated the Friends of San Francisco Animal Care and Control in July of 2000, and the IRS granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status the following December.
Carl was also instrumental in getting FSFACC's first major grant, a donation of $5,000 from the San Francisco SPCA. Building on this initial gift, FSFACC has worked to strengthen the organization and attract additional support with a membership program, individual donation requests, the acquisition and supplementation of donor mailing lists, the research and submission of grant applications, participation in city and other nonprofit functions, limited advertising, kennel sponsorships, fundraising events, and the sale of t-shirts, books, bumber stickers, toys and other gift items. By the end of fiscal year 2003 (June 30, 2004), the FSFACC annual budget (income and expenses) approached $200,000.