The Animal Foundation, a Las Vegas nonprofit shelter, today was named the grand prize winner in the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.
The three-month competition pitted 49 animal shelters against each other in an effort to increase the adoptions facilitated compared with the same period in 2012. In all, 56,379 pets were adopted or reunited with their owners.
“I’m in awe of the hard work and determination of these shelters,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a contest co-sponsor. “Every life saved is an important win for these communities, and I hope their success inspires others to say, ‘If they can do it, so can we.’ ”
Grants totaling $600,000 were handed out. Among the winners:
• The Animal Foundation ($100,000 grand prize and Best in Division 5)
• Citizens for Animal Protection in Houston ($25,000 for Best in Division 4)
• HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix ($25,000 for Best in Division 3)
• Texas Humane Heroes in Leander, Texas ($25,000 for Best in Division 2)
• Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, D.C. ($25,000 for Best in Division 1)
• Canyon County Animal Shelter in Caldwell, Idaho ($25,000 for Best Community Engagement)
Washington Animal Rescue League reported finding homes for 808 animals, a summertime record.
“This is a great day for our organization,” said the group’s CEO, Bob Ramin. “This is the culmination of months of planning, hard work and dedication by everyone associated with our organization.”
During June, July and August, the 49 contestants saved about 12,000 more animals than they did over the same three months in 2012. The shelters also reported a 45 percent increase in volunteers and a 20 percent jump in foster homes.
Rachael Ray, a celebrity cook and animal advocate who produces a line of food and treats for dogs, participates in the contest as a sponsor and promoter.