NEW YORK-- The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that The Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport, Miss., is one of three finalists in the running to win the ASPCA's $25,000 Community Engagement Award. Other finalists include the Humane Society of Greater Savannah in Savannah, Ga. and Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, Texas. The Community Engagement Award is part of the 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge, a three-month competition where 49 shelters from 33 states and territories across the United States are working to increase lives saved in order to win some of the $300,000 in ASPCA prize grants, including a grand prize of $100,000.
"The Humane Society of South Mississippi saved a remarkable 1,257 animals in just the first two months of the competition," said Bert Troughton, vice president of community outreach for the ASPCA. "But beyond that, they have done an amazing job of rallying their community. They appealed to new adopters by opening the shelter on Sundays for fun events, hosted community events like drive-in movie nights, and enlisted the direct support of the public through their 'Sponsor a Life' campaign."
The ASPCA Community Engagement Award--a $25,000 grant--will be awarded to the $100K Challenge contestant that did the best job of getting its community involved in saving more lives during the ASPCA $100K Challenge. The three finalists were determined based on which received the most online votes on the $100K Challenge website. The ASPCA Community Engagement Award Winner will be selected from the three finalists by the ASPCA Grants Committee based on the number of people the contestant engaged during the contest and the breadth of ways the community helped to save homeless animals.
During the 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge, contestants competed to save at least 300 more animals--during the months of August, September, and October 2011--than they did over the same three-month period in 2010. On November 30, the shelter confirmed to have achieved the biggest increase in animals saved will win a $100,000 grant. The agency that gets the most community members involved in saving animals will win a $25,000 grant, and those organizations that do the best in their regions will receive $20,000. In last year's first-ever ASPCA $100K Challenge, contestants saved a total of 48,779 lives over three months - an increase of 7,362 lives over the same three months in 2009.
It has long been a priority of the ASPCA to create a country of humane communities where there is no more euthanasia of homeless animals simply because of a lack of space or the resources to adequately care for them. The ASPCA $100K Challenge builds on that goal by inspiring shelters and their communities to innovate and act to save more animals.
For more information about the contest, please visit http://challenge.aspcapro.org. To locate a 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge contestant near you, please visit http://challenge.aspcapro.org/challenge/contestants.