Founder of BirchBark, Dr. Merrianne Burtch with Moonshine
(Mat Hayward)
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With over 400 pets saved, BirchBark Foundation honors the human-animal bond

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

BirchBark Foundation’s Executive Director, Michelle Frampton, shared how the pandemic and recent wildfires affected their organization. Now, with the funding assistance received from generous donors and the PPP loan from Santa Cruz County Bank, BirchBark is able to offer one-on-one sessions with a counselor via Zoom, telephone, or safely in-person.

Since its inception in 2013, BirchBark Foundation (BBF) has saved the lives of more than 400 companion animals! And, BBF has provided stability to tens of thousands of individuals within families, the veterinary community, and the pet-loving public.

The founding vision of BirchBark was sparked by the need to address an ongoing pattern witnessed by veterinarian Dr. Merrianne Burtch. After a decade of veterinary care and watching a countless number of families forced to say goodbye to a savable pet because of financial obstacles, Dr. Burtch took action. ⠀⠀

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With the generous support of friends, veterinary colleagues and donors, Dr. Burtch’s vision of BirchBark became a reality. Today, working with 31 veterinary partners throughout Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, they serve as a financial resource to save companion animals during a fixable, but unaffordable medical emergency.

Their financial assistance program protects the human-animal bond in times of fixable, yet unaffordable medical emergencies, providing choice and stability to vulnerable animal families and the organization’s dedicated veterinary partners. ⠀

nurse with a cat
Bayez (pictured here with Nurse Ileana), is now home with his owners Katrina and Anthony after his successful blockage surgery.
(BirchBark Foundation)

BirchBark Foundation’s Executive Director, Michelle Frampton, shared how the pandemic and recent wildfires affected their organization, “As a non-profit organization, at the start of COVID-19 fear was elevated on multiple levels. In recognizing the loss of our inability to hold events as well as in-person relationship building, we were faced with a daunting reality of substantial income loss. Further, we recognized that the strain of the pandemic also affected our donors and supporters, while the need for BirchBark’s life-saving and life-altering services were on the rise.”

“Prior to the pandemic, we offered monthly group meetings with a licensed counselor for anyone in need. Now, with the funding assistance we received from generous donors and the PPP loan from Santa Cruz County Bank, we are thrilled to be able to offer one-on-one sessions with a counselor via Zoom, telephone, or safely in-person.” Dr. Merrianne Burtch added:

Santa Cruz County Bank provided a seamless, comforting experience during a highly troubling (and confusing) time. In the process of applying for and receiving a PPP loan, it was evident that we were not just a “number,” but a valued part of our community. The exemplary service the Bank’s staff provided showed us their true, caring culture for the well-being of this community. Thank you, Santa Cruz County Bank and Staff – you are all genuine, dedicated, and appreciated!

— Dr. Merrianne Burtch

Donations to BirchBark Foundation through the Monterey County Gives holiday fundraising campaign can be made here.

mother and son with small dog
(Hill Street Studios/Blend Images)

To learn more about the history and mission of the BirchBark Foundation, watch the video by Dr. Burtch below:

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Santa Cruz County Bank is pleased to be the bank of choice for BirchBark Foundation.

More about Santa Cruz County Bank
Santa Cruz County Bank is a leading lender in the county, region, state and nation. Most recently, the Bank ranked in the top 10 lenders in the San Francisco District of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for both the number of loans and the dollar amount of SBA loans. The San Francisco District runs from Santa Cruz to the Oregon border along the coast and includes all Bay Area counties.

The true value of community banks has been demonstrated throughout the pandemic.

When the CARES ACT Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was first announced, Santa Cruz County Bank’s employees sprang into action to develop a secure portal for pre-applications before the program was rolled out by the government. Their early response made it possible for business owners to get in the queue for funding to keep their employees on the payroll and their businesses operating during the pandemic.

Click here to see how the Bank’s employees worked around the clock to secure PPP funding for local businesses before funding ran out to help local businesses retain over 36,000 jobs and counting.

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Santa Cruz County Bank has the resources and lending capacity to help bring your business to the next level. We look forward to continuing to assist in the recovery and reopening of local businesses. We are here for the community with all our heart and soul.