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A Look at the ASPCA and its History of Innovations in Animal Welfare

Featured Events Gabelli100 | Jan 28, 2021 |

When Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1866, he knew—despite the opposition he faced from New York City’s elite—that his mission to save animals was an important one. Over 150 years later, the organization has made great strides and become the “wave of the future in animal welfare” on a national scale.

In a Gabelli School Virtual Centennial Speaker Series’ event, titled “Perspectives on Best Practices in Nonprofit Governance,” ASPCA Board Chair Sally Spooner and President and CEO Matthew Bershadker share the history of the nonprofit’s milestones and innovations—from the creation of mid-19th century horse ambulances to its present-day rehabilitation centers, and free food and low-cost veterinary care programs. The event, co-sponsored by the Museum of American Finance, the CFA Society New York and the Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis, underscored ASPCA has vastly improved quality of life for millions of animals and today saves nearly 90 percent of its shelter intakes from euthanasia every year.

Spooner and Bershadker know the importance of a nonprofit’s work in times of crisis, and are working tirelessly to keep pets in homes as the COVID pandemic pushes more and more families below the poverty line. 

“There was a huge philosophical shift where people began to recognize that everyone, regardless of your tax bracket, should enjoy the benefits, the companionship, and the love that comes with sharing your life with a pet.”


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