November 3, 2016

Sharon Fletcher, Director of Marketing & Communications

PLEASANTON, CA--(November 3, 2016) - Maddie's Fund®, a national family foundation based in Pleasanton, CA, awarded the first annual Avanzino Leadership Award to Dr. Ellen Jefferson of Austin Pets Alive! for her outstanding leadership and significant achievement in lifesaving.

The award is named after Rich Avanzino, the father of the no-kill movement, and recognizes outstanding leadership in the animal welfare community. It will be presented along with a $25,000 grant to Austin Pets Alive! for demonstrating significant achievement in lifesaving, showing the courage to look beyond the status quo and making bold decisions to improve the lives of dogs and cats, and being a champion of the no-kill movement.

"Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director, Austin Pets Alive!, embodies these qualities and more," said Amy Zeifang of the Maddie's Fund Executive Leadership Team. "She was the overwhelming choice as Maddie's Fund's first recipient of this award."

In 2008, Dr. Jefferson stepped in as Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! in an effort to expedite achieving no-kill in their community. She formed collaborative ties with Austin Animal Center and Austin Humane Society. Together, the organizations brought the entire city of Austin to a greater than 90% save rate, and became the largest no-kill city in the U.S.

In 2012, Dr. Jefferson helped San Antonio Pets Alive! to implement the no-kill programs that were proven successful in Austin and helped drive the live release rate from 30% to 80% in 12 months.

Moving forward, the Avanzino Leadership Award will be awarded to one person each year through peer nominations. The nominations will be accepted in July/August with an announcement of winner in September 2017. Animal welfare practitioners are invited to nominate their choice for who best embodies the qualities of the Avanzino Leadership Award, and are encouraged to join the Maddie Network for updates.

About Maddie's Fund

Maddie's Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to their inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them much joy from 1987 – 1997 and continues to inspire them today.

The Foundation has awarded over $275.7 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S.

Maddie's Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility. #ThanksToMaddie.