GOLD2024

HOPE ACRES RESCUE

Helping Our Precious Equines

Goose Creek, SC   |  www.hopeacresrescue.org

Mission

The purpose of H.O.P.E. Acres Rescue is to rescue, rehabilitate, and provide a safe haven for equines in need, to live out a healthy, happy, and peaceful life through public education, county and state alliances, adoptions, donations and caring volunteers. We are a certified 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization based in Berkeley County, SC providing equine rescue assistance state-wide.

Notes from the nonprofit

With an organization operated entirely by volunteers, we are proud of both our community physical support and those who monetarily give to ensure that our efforts not only succeed, but continue. From all of us at H.O.P.E. Acres Rescue and our precious equines, we thank you!

Ruling year info

2011

President

Tracey Sawyer

Main address

PO Box 2037

Goose Creek, SC 29445 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

38-3812397

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our rescue is very good at rehabilitating horses; we excel at taking malnourished, neglected, mistreated and abused horses and healing them, both physically and mentally. However, we have a more difficult time when it comes to placing the horses in adoptive homes. Some of our horses spend years at our Rescue waiting for a permanent home. While we are committed to providing a home for every horse that we rescue for the duration of its life, every horse that remains at the rescue is taking the place of a needy horse. We are willing to keep our horses for whatever amount of time it takes to find the perfect home, but the faster we can place them in adoptive homes, the better it is for the horse, and for future horses that we might be able to help. We need to focus on trying to increase our adoption rate.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

HOPE Acres Partner Program

We are excited about the launch of the HOPE Partner Program in 2016 which pairs every horse on the farm with a dedicated Volunteer. Together they learn trust, respect and love for each other. Our goal with this program is to help every horse work through mishandling and abuse and in turn educate those who help nurture them through proper handling and respect for the animal. The bond we have seen form between caregiver and horse has already been monumental!

Population(s) Served
Adults

H.O.P.E. Acres Rescue, based in Berkeley County, provides rescue services throughout the state of South Carolina. After a horse is accepted into the program we tailor a specific and targeted nutritional rehabilitation plan for each animal. Once optimal health is regained we implement mental rehabilitation when applicable. This assessment and retraining enables us to garner a better understanding of the animals past and potential as an adoptable family horse.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our mission includes an extensive focus on public education related to equine care; physically and financially. Our experience has eluded to a large percentage of owners involved in neglect and abuse cases to be extremely under educated about the commitment necessary to properly provide for the animals. We are active in our communities; attending various events that provide a large platform of citizen's to teach and discuss the level of responsibility necessary of horse ownership and mandatory care and monetary expenses needed to provide for these majestic creatures. We often offer public orientations at our facility; hosting 50 plus individuals of varying experience levels. We seize these opportunities to discuss care, need, our mission and how each of us can impact the ever present and always growing epidemic of equine neglect in our communities.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Unfortunately, not all horses that are received into our rescue are able to be placed in a new home. When we take a horse out of a neglectful or abusive situation, we make a commitment to that animal for the rest of its life. We hope that we will be able to place the animal into a new forever home, but sometimes the horse has been too traumatized emotionally, is too old, or has too many physical limitations which makes finding a new home difficult or not in the horse's best interest. In this case, the horse will remain at our farm for the remainder of its life.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Almost all of the horses that are received into our rescue are starved nutritionally, emotionally, and behaviorally. We try to address the needs of the whole horse. Horses need to know their place in the herd, and in order to find a new home, must have manners and be safe to handle. In conjunction with the Partner Program, we also utilize both volunteer and paid trainers to help our horses transition from a life of neglect and abuse to a that of a family pet. Many of the horses that we receive have never been ridden; some have not been handled in years. Standing for grooming, standing for the farrier, leading, respect for people, and eventually, training for riding are all goals of our training program. We would like our horses to be safe, well-adjusted family pets, able to transition to a life doing therapy work, running barrels, playing polo, giving lessons, giving pony rides, or just giving love to a new family. Our rescue horses have gone on to diverse homes, all with the help of our volunteer and paid trainers.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

EQUUS Foundation Guardian 2020

United Horse Coalition 2020

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our organization has several goals connected to our problem:

1. We need to educate the public about the potential that exists in every rescue horse. Many people hear the word "rescue" and immediately assume that the horse is broken, either physically or mentally. They may assume that the horse has problems that are too big to fix; that it is wild, untamed, untrained, scary, old and infirm, or permanently lame. While we do have horses that have minor issues (such as older, suitable for light riding, better with adults, etc.), we believe that there is a home for every horse in our care. Education and public awareness are key to unlocking the potential that all horses have within them.

2. Most people want horses that are trained to ride. That has not been a priority at our rescue; our priority has been getting the horses healthy and making sure that they have good ground manners: leading; standing for grooming, farrier, bathing, worming; etc... We do not have experienced trainers in our cadre of volunteers and have had trouble finding reliable professional trainers to hire. One goal is to streamline our volunteer recruitment to attract those volunteers who are capable of helping us train, rather than just accepting those who are inexperienced but like horses.

3. People can only adopt horses if they know about them. We must increase our name recognition in the community, as both a resource for neglected horses, AND as a source of well-behaved, valuable family pets.

1. We need to focus on our past successes. Some of our "alumni" have become lesson horses at local stables, show horses, therapy horses at two different types of therapeutic facilities, equine athletes (polo!), best friends for other horses, best friends for their human partners, search and rescue partners, and beloved pets. If the public sees rescue horses in successful, positive situations, they will be more likely to envision themselves in the same situation. By using social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), our website, and print media, we can change the perception that people have of rescue horses. Instead of showing pictures of skinny, sad, malnourished horses, we can show pictures of healthy horses being successful AFTER rescue. We may not raise as much money in donations, but we might adopt out more horses.

2. In the past, we have had "open calls" for volunteers. We have been inundated with caring, loving adults, and children, who want to help our horses. They come to our volunteer orientations (sometimes close to 100 people at each event!), volunteer a few times, and then never return. Their intentions are good, but when they find out the realities of caring for a herd of rescue horses, sometimes they realize that the grunt work is not what they imagined. We end up spending a lot of time orienting people, teaching them how to function safely around our horses, and then they leave. We need to attract the people that will be able to help us with the tasks that we need--training being the top priority. We will now begin targeted solicitation of volunteers with specific skills--training, grant-writing, fundraising, etc.

3. Our rescue was founded in 2010, yet there are still people in our town that have never heard of us. That is not acceptable. We need name recognition. Our social media presence has doubled in the last 2 years, but we need more local exposure. We are going to sponsor a 5K race in February in Charleston--the H.O.P.E. Lope--and will also invest in 2 billboards to be placed on Interstate 26 during that time. We will participate in the Flowertown Festival again next April, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors. We attended this year for the first time. Now that we know what to expect, we can capitalize on our experience and increase our exposure next year.

Our organizational structure is conducive to accomplishing our goals. We have a small voting board of 3: President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Intake/Adoption Coordinator. We also have an auxiliary board consisting of key volunteers who have taken on important roles within the rescue, but do not vote. They manage/assist with our social media presence, web site, grounds and maintenance, fundraising, medical care, adoption follow-ups, etc. We also have a larger cadre of regular volunteers that are committed to taking on the daily (feeding) and weekly chores that come with running a rescue. We have close to 10,000 followers on social media, many of whom support us financially. These volunteers will support us at the farm as well as out in the community. They are instrumental in helping to spread our message to the general public; these volunteers will be able to help us as we put on our first 5K, improve our presence at the Flowertown Festival, and continue to increase our name recognition in the greater Charleston metro area.

Our volunteer coordinator, website manager, and social media director will all work together to streamline the solicitation of our volunteers. Together, they will coordinate our needs with the applicants. In this way, we will hopefully be able to match each potential volunteer's strengths up with a particular organizational need. Also, our website manager is slated to change our volunteer application from a PDF form that must be filled out and sent in to an online submission form, thus further streamlining our process.

Our social media director has begun a weekly "Throwback Thursday" or "Follow-up Friday" to spotlight some of our past rescues. Through this process, we can emphasize the positive features that rescue horses possess, and show the public what the horse is doing NOW rather than what it looked like before. We can also change some of our print media (rack cards, business publications, newsletters, etc) to feature more, larger "after" pictures and fewer, smaller "before" pictures.

The primary goal of H.O.P.E. Acres Rescue is to work with the public to save neglected and abused horses from horrendous situations. We also work with other rescues and with county animal control agencies to help facilitate seizures and to offer educational services to struggling owners. Once horses are taken into our rescue, our goals are to assess their medical, nutritional, behavioral, and emotional needs and do whatever is needed to make them whole. Once the horse or donkey is well, our goal is to adopt it out to a home with a loving family. However, if the horse is elderly, or has medical needs that preclude its adoption, we are prepared to allow it to live out its life on our farm. We will seek sponsorship of the horse from the public to offset the cost of its upkeep.
We have been in existence since 2010 and have rescued 79 horses in that time. Of those, 54 have been adopted into loving homes, while 10 have had to be euthanized due to old age or disease (melanoma, cancer, etc.) Most of those euthanized were sanctuary horses. Our rescue began with just a few volunteers and has grown to one with a volunteer feed team that totally manages the daily feeding and medication of our herd; an auxiliary board with members in charge of fundraising, web design, social media, adoption follow-up, and farm maintenance; and a board of directors composed of our president, in charge of everything, our secretary/treasurer, and our adoption/intake coordinator. This does not include the other volunteers that come weekly to help with general farm chores, grooming, bathing, mowing, etc.
We are proud to be financed entirely through donations and grants, and we have no paid staff; we are run entirely by volunteers. To continue to grow and maintain this designation, we must continue to seek out more, and larger, grant opportunities. We would like to be able to purchase our own land so that we can expand our capacity, especially for sanctuary horses, as right now we are leasing property and our space is limited. We are currently on our 3rd farm, and are constantly worried that we may have to move at the land owner's whim. In order to increase donations and grants, we must increase our name recognition within the greater Charleston community. To do this, we will be sponsoring more activities outside of the "horse world." We have worked with rescue groups throughout the state of South Carolina and into North Carolina; our goal is to be a premier equine rescue organization well-known throughout the southeast for its ability to not only rescue and rehabilitate equines in need, but to find life-long adoptive homes so that the horses can flourish and live out their lives in peace.

Financials

HOPE ACRES RESCUE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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HOPE ACRES RESCUE

Board of directors
as of 01/19/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Tracey Sawyer

Mandy Hornsby

Kimberly Lewis

Rebecca Strong

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/17/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability