GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Animal Shelter has received a $90,000 donation from a woman who had a love of animals.

The Marie B. Schipper Trust officially donated the money Thursday morning, Kent County said in a release. The county believes it is the biggest donation ever given to the animal shelter.

“It’s hugely significant,” Angela Hollinshead, the director of the animal shelter, said. “With this single donation, we were able to check two of our biggest projects off the list and get them completed by the end of the year.”

She told News 8 she couldn’t believe it when she first saw the dollar amount.

“When … I was reading through the details, I had to freeze for a second, because I thought, ‘$90,000? Is that the total amount?'” she said. “I had to reread it and reread it, and then finally I realized that’s what I’m reading: It’s an individual gift of $90,000 coming to the Kent County Animal Shelter from the Marie Schipper Trust.”

She said the animal shelter gets a few trust gifts each year, but they’re usually much smaller.

“I saw the amount and I thought, ‘Wow,'” Hollinshead said.

Schipper died in 2021 at 85 years old. She grew up on a Newaygo County farm with six siblings and had many cats and dogs throughout her life.

“I am sure my aunt is beaming in heaven looking down and seeing what is going on,” her niece and executor of the estate, Sheryl Schipper, said in the release.

“I know that my aunt would be very happy to know that part of her legacy will be used to care for animals,” she said. “She had so many cats and dogs throughout her years and they all brought her great joy.”

Her niece said Marie Schipper was a “really good person who loved animals and wanted to help all of them.” She worked as an executive secretary for multiple West Michigan companies and enjoyed reading and music.

Around $49,600 of the donation will be used to build a large, natural enclosure for dogs at the Kent County Animal Shelter.

“Sometimes we have dogs that have really long lengths of stay and they need a lot of enrichment, mental and physical stimulation, to ensure that they’re staying healthy while they’re with us,” Hollinshead explained. “A large, natural area that’s enclosed allows for a lot of enrichment. They can feel the dirt on their paws, they can smell where the squirrels have been, they can get up to full speed running, they can burn off a lot of (energy). And it really will create a better, healthier environment for them to be able to thrive while they’re in our care.”

The enclosure should be ready for dogs by the end of summer.

Around $26,500 will be used to replace an X-ray machine that is more than two decades old. Hollinshead said the old one uses film but the new one will be digital, which will deliver quicker results and require less maintenance. She said that will help the shelter efficiently care for the many animals each year that have injuries when they arrive. The new machine is expected to arrive in mid- to late May.

The rest of the donation will be kept for animal emergency care.

“I can’t convey enough to (Schipper’s) family how grateful we are that we have received these funds,” Hollinshead said.