Rich Avanzino, President
Widely viewed as the father of the no-kill movement, Rich Avanzino has had a major influence on companion animal welfare over his 37 years in the industry.
As President of Maddie's Fund®, he focuses the family foundation's $300 million endowment in three major areas: buidling community collaborations where animal welfare organizations work together to create successful models of lifesaving; funding veterinary colleges to create shelter medicine programs; implementing a national strategy to promote accountability and transparency in animal shelter operations.
As President of The San Francisco SPCA from 1976-1999, Rich led San Francisco in 1994 to become the first City and County in the nation to offer an adoption guarantee for every healthy shelter cat and dog. This unprecedented guarantee prompted statewide legislation (California's Hayden Law) and sparked other cities, counties and states to follow his example. The vast majority of the City's sick and injured shelter animals were saved as well.
In 1998, he revolutionized animal sheltering with the opening of Maddie's® Pet Adoption Center, the first facility in the country in which cats and dogs awaiting adoption were housed in cozy home-like settings rather than cages. The radical design set a new national standard for sheltering practices and has been widely emulated.
During his twenty-two year tenure as President of The SF/SPCA, Rich brought euthanasia rates down to the lowest of any urban center in the nation. He also created adoption, animal behavior, feral cat, and spay/neuter programs that have become models for the nation.
His demonstrated leadership prompted Maddie's Fund founders Dave and Cheryl Duffield to hire him in 1999 as Maddie's Fund's first president to pursue the goal of creating a no-kill nation.
As one of the no-kill movement's most articulate spokespeople, Rich has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, People Magazine, Parade Magazine, ABC's 20/20 and Person of the Week on the ABC Nightly News.
He received a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of California Medical Center and earned a law degree at the University of California at Davis Law School.