Were you at the American Pets Alive! conference this past weekend? If so, you probably heard about the Avanzino Leadership Award, Maddie’s Fund®’s new national leadership award named after the Dog-father himself, Rich Avanzino. This award recognizes outstanding leadership in the animal welfare community – and we interrupted the opening session to present the award! Because what better way to honor the recipient than surprising her at her own city council meeting, and then again at her organization’s national No-Kill conference?
If you haven’t already, please join us in congratulating Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of 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. The award comes with a $25,000 grant for Austin Pets Alive!
“Dr. Jefferson was the overwhelming choice as Maddie’s Fund’s first recipient of this award.” said Amy Zeifang of the Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team.
Of course, we wanted to make sure the presentation of the award was just as special as the award itself. This meant surprising her with it at her city council meeting, and having the Mayor proclaim Saturday, November 5, 2016, as Dr. Ellen Jefferson Day. And, since Rich Avanzino couldn’t be there to personally hand the award to Ellen, he did the next best thing – created a (surprise) video to play during Ellen’s opening session at the American Pets Alive! conference.
You can watch the video below and read the full press release.