We’re thrilled to present the 2020 Maddie Hero Award to Kristen Hassen for her innovative ideas, progressive thinking and lifesaving actions. The Maddie Hero Award recognizes and honors the “top dog” in communities that are advancing the welfare of companion animals in the United States in creative and bold ways. The award is presented with a $10,000 grant for the recipient’s organization.
Kristen serves as the Director of Animal Services with Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) in Tuscon, 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.