A Night of Glitz and Glamour as Animal League America Celebrates the 2016 Get Your Rescue On® Gala
More than 400 guests gathered at The Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan on Friday, November 18th, in celebration of North Shore Animal League America’s 2016 Get Your Rescue On® Gala.
It was a night of glitz and glamour, legendary entertainment, a silent auction, a star-studded "blue carpet", and of course, plenty of our adorable puppies and kittens, all in an effort to raise money in support of our capital campaign for Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center. Named in honor of Howard and Beth Stern’s beloved Bulldog, this 14,000 square foot, cage-free environment will enable us to rescue many more animals by adding a second floor to our existing shelter.
“Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center will make all of the cats and kittens feel comfortable and help adopters to get to know them. As a result, more felines will go home more quickly,” said Beth, Animal League America Volunteer, Foster Parent, and National Spokesperson. “Everyone here tonight is part of this exciting new phase in Animal League America’s future. What a thrilling place it’s going to be! A destination for adopters, visitors, and shelter professionals from around the world.”
Beth and Howard were Honorary Co-chairpersons of the Gala Committee, which included Shannon Abbot, Lisa Alexander, Blair Brandt, Linda Church, Crystal Campo, Scott Guber, Samuel Rudman, Jeffrey Schick, Ken Stolls, and Vin Vergara.
The evening was hosted by actress, comedian, and animal advocate, Pam Stone.
“I’m awed by everything I’ve seen and heard tonight. There’s so much that goes into rescuing, nurturing, and adopting homeless animals, and no-kill is costly,” said Ms. Stone. “Each Pet who finds a home through this tremendous organization is a unique individual who is treated with love and respect. That’s a lot of hands-on care.”
Animal League America President John Stevenson reminded the audience of some of the organization’s proudest achievements in 2016, which included the American Animal Hospital accreditation of our Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center, the opening of the Freed Special Recovery Center, and the groundbreaking of the Don and Karen LaRocca Pet Wellness Center. He also made an exciting announcement about the future.
“I’m delighted to announce that we’ve raised 7 million dollars for Bianca’s Furry Friends, with groundbreaking scheduled for next year!” said Mr. Stevenson. “We’re proud of all our accomplishments, many of which result from our great corporate partnerships, such as Purina and Rachael Ray.”
Hallmark Channel President and CEO, Bill Abbott, was honored for his outstanding work in raising awareness for the plight of shelter pets and promoting adoptions through his far-reaching platform. He was presented with a prestigious Crystal Collar Award, an honor reserved for those who have saved lives and made the world a safer, kinder place for homeless animals.
“Bill Abbott understands that television can be a force for good. As head of Hallmark Channel, he has brought his personal and professional passion for shelter adoption to viewers across the country, generating adoptions and raising awareness,” said Animal League America Senior Vice President of Operations Joanne Yohannan. “We’re so lucky to have Bill and Crown Media Family Networks as partners in our no-kill mission.”
Six outstanding educators, whose vision and leadership has helped the Mutti-i-grees® Curriculum continue to flourish, along with their classroom canines, were also honored at the Gala. Toni Frear (Fenton Charter Schools, California), Billy Jackson (South Side School District, Arkansas), Yooka Dawson (Mercy First Rehabilitation Center for At-Risk Youths, Syosset, New York), Marian Savio (New Haven, Connecticut), Teri Ahearn (Shell Bank Middle School, Brooklyn, New York), and John Holian (Saint Martin De Pours, Uniondale, New York).
After a delicious meal and a few hilarious words by “The Queen of Mean” herself, comedian Lisa Lampanelli, the night was capped off by an amazing performance by Rock ‘n’ Roll legend and Grammy nominated recording artist, Belinda Carlisle. The Go-Go’s lead singer and solo artist performed all of her greatest hits and had everyone out of their seats, dancing and singing along with her every word. It was truly a fantastic ending to a wonderful night.
It was a fun-filled evening as Animal League America supporters got their rescue on at the Mandarin Oriental in NYC, in support of Bianca's Furry Friends. Here are a few highlights from this spectacular event.
Images courtesy Lisa Anselmo, Amy Mayes, Jo Von & Steve Friedman, and Ted Lim.Video courtesy Patken Photography.