Widely viewed as the father of the no-kill movement, Rich Avanzino has had a major influence on companion animal welfare over his 39 years in the industry.
As President of Maddie's Fund®, he focuses the family foundation's $300 million endowment in three major areas: grant giving, hands-on animal care, and research and education.
Prior to his work at Maddie's Fund, Rich was President of The San Francisco SPCA (Sf/SPCA) from 1976-1999. Under his leadership, the County became the first community in the nation to offer an adoption guarantee for every healthy and treatable shelter cat and dog, sparking a nationwide movement.
In 1998, he revolutionized animal sheltering with the opening ofSf/SPCA's 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, foster, animal behavior, 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, in March 2015, Rich was named to Dog Fancy's list of "45 People Who Have Changed the Dog World" and was awarded the Assisi Award by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council in 2014. 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.
Rich and his significant other, Marti, currently share their home with a 14-year old Shitzu named Bri, who he adopted from Oakland Animal Services, and a previously abandoned 14-year old Maine Coon named Puddy.