Dog Mountain Seeks Donations

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dog mountain seeks donationsST. JOHNSBURY - Although Dog Mountain has been a staple in the Northeast Kingdom since founder's Stephen Huneck and his wife, Gwendolyn Ide Huneck, purchased it in 1995, the popular tourist destination -- a haven for both dogs and dog owners -- has been struggling to make ends meet.

 Dog Mountain is currently free to the public, and directors of the organization intend to keep it as such, they say. But a number of years of financial hardships have taken a toll on the organization, Amanda McDermott, the creative director for Dog Mountain, says, and now the management team for Dog Mountain is calling for donations to help expand the organization's offerings and keep the grounds open.

 "It's always been kind of a roller coaster, up in the summers, down in the winters," McDermott, said. "We are always trying to make it through the next quarter."

In an effort to preserve the Hunecks' legacies -- following Stephen's suicide in 2010 and Gwendolyn's suicide in 2013 -- and maintain Dog Mountain, directors from the organization have created a new non-profit organization, Friends of Dog Mountain, Inc., which will allow for all donations to the organization to be eligible for tax deductions, a move organizers ay will encourage increased donations.

However, Friends of Dog Mountain is still in the process of obtaining its 501c3 non-profit status, meaning that the organization has applied for the status, but the changes have not been officially recognized yet.

In the meantime, while Friends of Dog Mountain is waiting for their non-profit status to be recognized, the organization has entered into an agreement with Burlington City Arts, a non-profit arts group based in Burlington. Through the terms of the agreement, donations for Dog Mountain can be made to BCA, which will take an administrative fee and divert the remainder of the donation to Friends of Dog Mountain. Donations to BCA are currently tax-deductible.

In addition to the usual routes of fundraising, Dog Mountain's directors are also working to implement new strategies, such as licensing Huneck's artwork -- which is featured in his eponymous gallery -- to other organizations and companies so that Dog Mountain may generate revenue from the use of his works.

"A lot of times, certain other organizations will ask us to borrow Stephen's artwork to create logos or things," McDermott said.

Jon Ide, who is Gwendolyn's brother and the executer of her estates, says he hopes that the increased donations and revenues to Dog Mountain will keep memories memories alive.

"It was Steph and Gwen's life work," Jon Ide said. "It was their dream. It deserves to live on."

For more information on visiting Dog Mountain or donating, visit www.dogmt.com or call 800-449-2580.