October 21, 2020

Sharon Fletcher, Director of Marketing & Communications

Pleasanton, CA, Oct. 21, 2020—Maddie's Fund®, a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, has presented Kristen Hassen with the 2020 Maddie Hero Award.

The Maddie Hero Award comes with a $10,000 grant for the recipient’s organization, recognizing and honoring the "top dog” in communities that are not only advancing the welfare of companion animals in the United States, but are leading the way with their innovative ideas, progressive thinking and lifesaving actions.

Kristen serves as the Director of Animal Services with Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) in Tucson, AZ, Pima County’s only open-admissions animal shelter. Under her leadership, PACC has saved more than 90 percent of the nearly 20,000 dogs and cats who enter their shelter doors every year. Over the past three years, Maddie’s Fund has awarded a total of $1.2 million to Kristen and her team. In 2017, Kristen spearheaded the nation’s largest foster program with a three-year grant from Maddie’s Fund along with teaching emerging shelter leaders and engaging communities in lifesaving efforts.

"Kristen is a hands-on practitioner, problem solver and, she recognizes the value of bringing great people together to get things done.” said Mary Ippoliti-Smith of the Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team. "She has also become a mentor for animal welfare colleagues and challenges them to be revolutionary changemakers for good.”

At PACC, Kristen has encouraged and challenged her team to develop and test new ideas to get their shelter animals into homes faster. In doing so, they’ve found new ways to help much of the community forgo the need to surrender a pet by forging partnerships with human services. Kristen and her team have worked to meet the needs of their community through innovative programs, such as their pet support call center and community outreach efforts.

"Kristen brings a strong academic and historical perspective to her leadership,” said Amy Zeifang of the Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team. "This, combined with her inventiveness and tenaciousness, has helped lead PACC to become the role model they are today.”

Kristen studied marginalization, gentrification and discrimination in housing while at graduate school. She has used her academic background to help her take a data-driven approach to animal welfare. Kristen’s experience as the Deputy Shelter Director at Austin Animal Center (TX) and Assistant Director at Fairfax County Animal Shelter (VA) has provided the foundation for her work at PACC.

Maddie’s Fund invites you to congratulate Kristen and her incredible team at PACC!

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.