The numbers are in and the totals have been tallied. At the end of the June, the first month of the 3-month ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden has placed second in the overall competition and finished first in Division 4. For winning the division, the shelter receives a $5,000 grant.
The ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge is a joint project between the ASPCA and Rachael Ray. Rachael Ray and her pet food brand Nutrish help to provide the funds used for grants while the ASPCA provides the organization and oversight. After a special selection process, 50 shelters around the country became part of the challenge and are saving lives in creative ways. Rather than competing against each other, the goal is to beat their own previous years’ adoption numbers. The shelters with the highest percentage of saves from the previous year receive grants and then compete for the $100,000 grand prize. The shelters are put into five divisions based on the number of animals the shelter handles in a year. Foothills Animal Shelter is in Division 4, shelters who care for 9,000 to 11,000 animals a year. For more information on the challenge, visit the ASPCA website: Challenge.aspcapro.org.
Here are the numbers for June: FAS saved 922 lives (dogs and cats), which is 334 more lives than were saved in June of 2013. The number also includes dogs and cats who were lost and returned to their owners. In first place overall is Central California SPCA in Frenso, which is in Division 5, shelters that care for over 11,001 animals annually.
Other shelters in Division 4 includes The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, IL, Pinal County Animal Care in Casa Grande, AZ, Ventura County Animal Services in Camarilla, CA, Houston Humane Society in Texas, First State Animal Center in Camden, DE, City of Pasadena Animal Control and Adoption in Pasadena, TX, Osceola County Animal Services in St. Could, FL, HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, AZ and Anderson County P.A.W.S. in Anderson, SC. Altogether, Division 4 shelters saved 4,053 lives in one month. All shelters in all divisions saved 21,175 dogs and cats in just one month. That is an increase of 4,311 from the 2013 challenge. A huge win for shelter pets!
Part of the success of this challenge is all the hard work shelter staff have put into the event and also the community coming together to support the shelter.
“June’s success was very much a team effort and true collaboration,” says Jennifer Strickland, Director of Community Relations and Development. “Both staff and volunteers alike worked extra hard and were very motivated to save more lives than ever before. A few of the many highlights included creating an expansive internship program to support our small staff. As usual, our loyal 450 volunteers did not disappoint and put in a record-breaking 3,000 hours during those first four weeks.”
Something new that the shelter worked on is an intensive media campaign using social media and video and Strickland says that effort has paid off.
“One of our strategies was of course to draw as much attention as possible to Foothills Animal Shelter for the beginning of this 3-month competition. We launched a fun campaign called Find Your Soul Mate and people have responded well to this theme – enjoying the videos and ads spoofing dating sites. Additionally, the media were very supportive in helping spread the word. We have also increased our social media presence enormously and so many of our posts have been shared by new and old supporters alike.”
While the attention has been fun, the animals in the shelters are the real winners during this challenge.
“Being selected in a national contest amongst only 49 other shelters has been a very positive experience for us. Of course, saving more lives has been the real inspiration….We’ve seen a new level of enthusiasm and interest from the community and that helps us continue our important life-saving mission all year round,” says Strickland.
How can you help? Visit the Foothills website and to see if you too can Find Your Soul Mate. Perhaps a dog or cat that would be a perfect fit for your family is at the shelter now. This weekend only Foothills is offering Pick Your Price adoption fees on dogs and cats six months and older. The special starts Friday, July 18, and runs through Sunday, July 20. The shelter is open Please note the same adoption process still applies and all adopted animals receive spay/neuter, vaccines and a microchip.
Perhaps a new companion is not an option for you. There are still ways to help. With such a busy summer, Foothills could always use a few extra hands. Volunteer opportunities are as easy as answering phones, taking a dog for a walk or folding a load of laundry. Visit Foothills’ website and apply to be a volunteer.
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