Bershadker, a 12-year veteran of the ASPCA, serving most recently as senior vice president of the Anti-Cruelty Group, will assume the position June 1, succeeding Edwin Sayres, president and CEO since 2003.
Under Bershadker’s leadership, the ASPCA says it has risen to new heights in its response to cruelty and natural disasters. The Anti-Cruelty Group evolved from a fledgling team of responders to a robust, national program that confronts animal cruelty and suffering on all levels across the country, the organization said in announcing the appointment. Bershadker helped form the Field Investigations & Response team to provide skilled support to state and federal agencies during large-scale puppy mill busts, dog fighting raids, animal hoarding cases, and other instances of animal cruelty as well as natural disasters such as the Joplin, Mo., tornado and Superstorm Sandy.
Prior to leading the Anti-Cruelty Group, Bershadker served as vice president of the ASPCA’s development department, where he was responsible for creating fundraising strategy and implementing tactics for major gifts, planned giving, special events, capital campaign, and corporate and foundation grants.
“Matt is far and away the most outstanding choice to be the next leader of the ASPCA,’’ says Tim F. Wray, chairman of the ASPCA board. “His extensive experience, energy and unwavering commitment to animal welfare, coupled with his strong understanding of business management and the non-profit world, make him the ideal leader for the organization as we pursue our mission.”
“I am thrilled to serve the ASPCA, its members and the many communities around the country where we play a vital role,” Bershadker says. “We have made significant strides on behalf of animals around the country, but there is much more to do. I look forward to working with the executive leadership team and our staff to continue to pursue our mission and develop successful initiatives and programs to take animal welfare to the next level.”
Bershadker has been instrumental in the creation of the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J., the first-ever facility dedicated to providing behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty, such as those confiscated from puppy mills and hoarding cases.
During Bershadker’s tenure, the ASPCA also launched the Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program, a groundbreaking initiative to help protect companion animals that are in danger of potential abuse or neglect, helping hundreds of New York City’s animals in jeopardy of becoming cruelty victims.
Before joining the ASPCA, Bershadker worked for ICF Consulting and Share Our Strength. He received his MBA from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and his Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Ohio University. Bershadker serves on the board of the Gruber Family Foundation and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. He lives in New York City with his wife, Nina, son Elias and their dog, Thelma.