Widely viewed as the father of the ‘no-kill’ movement, Rich Avanzino has had a major influence on companion animal welfare over his 38 years in the industry.

As President of Maddie’s Fund®, Rich directs the family foundation’s $300 million endowment effort to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals and achieve a no-kill nation by 2015. In order to achieve and sustain this no-kill nation, the foundation provides solutions to the most challenging issues facing the animal welfare community through the combined efforts of Maddie’s InstituteSM (research and education), Maddie’s® Adoption Program (foster-based adoptions) and Maddie’s® Grant Giving. Maddie’s Fund has awarded more than $150 million in grants since 1999.

Prior to his work at Maddie’s Fund, Rich was President of the San Francisco SPCA from 1976 to 1999. He led the Society to become the first in the nation to offer an adoption guarantee for every healthy shelter dog and cat, and set in motion the same guarantee for treatable pets, sparking others to follow. In this residency he brought euthanasia rates down to the lowest in any urban centre in the United States and also created adoption, animal behaviour and stray cat spay/neuter programmes that have become an inspiration to others. With the opening of the SF SFPCA’s Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Centre in 1998, he revolutionized animal sheltering by housing dogs and cats awaiting adoption in cozy, home-like settings rather than cages, setting a new standard of sheltering practices now widely emulated.

He received a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, and has a law degree from the University of California at Davis.