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Animal Friends Alliance’s annual charity benefit, Gala for Animals, netted over $175,000 on March 26 to help support the nonprofit’s cat and dog shelters and community pet resource programs. Nearly 420 guests and over 50 volunteers were in attendance at the “Mardi Paw” themed Gala for Animals, held at the Hilton Fort Collins Hotel.
The event featured a live auction called by Dani Dotterosa and speeches by Animal Friends Alliance board members Kris Cafaro and Jana Dean, DVM, as well as Co-Founder Ali Eccleston, and Co-Founder and Executive Director Sarah Swanty. During the program, Swanty welcomed a special guest to the stage: Tsuki, a pointer mix who received specialized medical care during her stay with Animal Friends Alliance in early 2022. The Gala for Animals raises funds for Animal Friends Alliance’s shelters, including medical treatment for the cats and dogs in its care, and community pet resource programs to keep pets in their homes.
Generous businesses and individuals donated hundreds of items to make the Gala for Animals silent and live auctions a success. With a record number of guests and mobile bidding allowing supporters to participate from anywhere, the silent auction raised over $42,500 for the nonprofit, a new record. More than 20 artists also donated their talents to create the crowd-favorite Magnificent Beast art pieces, cat- or dog-shaped wooden silhouettes, which dazzled guests and led to competitive bidding through the silent auction.
Two businesses and two individuals were honored with the 2022 Above & Beyond Awards for their exceptional commitment and dedication to the organization. The business winners were Horizon Mechanical Solutions and Autumn Parry Photography. The individual winners were Jackie Rohrbacker of Fort Collins and Kelly Little of Windsor.
Since its inception in 2006, Animal Friends Alliance has grown to employ over 60 staff members and has an annual operating budget of $3.5 million. The annual Gala for Animals plays an important role in supporting the nonprofit’s services and mission to provide comprehensive companion animal resources, services, and education to the community to prevent homelessness and promote the human-animal bond.
“We are so proud of this fantastic event that will enable us to help even more animals and people in our community,” said Executive Director Sarah Swanty. “Mardi Paw would not have been as successful as it was without the support of our 34 amazing sponsors, including our presenting sponsors Poudre Pet & Feed Supply, Avoderm, and Natural Balance Pet Foods.”
Other major sponsors included Horizon Mechanical Solutions, Countryside Animal Hospital, Bank of Colorado, Dennis Schick of RE/MAX Alliance, Fort Collins Veterinary Emergency & Rehabilitation Hospital, Four Seasons Veterinary Specialists, Hank’s Pet Food Market, InkWorks, KUNC, OtterCares, Sage Benefit Advisors, and VCA Animal Hospitals.