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Challenge Raises $1.5M for U.S. Shelters

It involved 644 animal welfare organizations and thousands of donations from animal-loving people across the country.




(PRESS RELEASE) Michelson Found Animals, a nonprofit committed to saving pets and enriching lives, and NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations (NBC and Telemundo stations) announced that $1.56 million was raised in the inaugural Fund the Shelters Challenge on Crowdrise by GoFundMe, the world’s largest social fundraising platform dedicated to charitable fundraising. The monthlong online competition involved 644 animal welfare organizations and thousands of donations from animal-loving people across the country.

“We’re humbled and inspired by the amazing passion and hard work shown by the organizations involved in Fund The Shelters, along with all the generous, caring people who donated,” said Gary Michelson, founder of Michelson Found Animals Foundation. “We, along with our partners, NBC and Telemundo stations, are committed to helping pets find forever homes and are thrilled to be able to support the incredible work of the wide range of organizations involved in this challenge, all working toward a shared goal.”

“Thanks to the generosity of thousands of individuals and the incredible support of Michelson Found Animals Foundation, animal shelters and rescues are receiving the resources they need to continue their lifesaving programs to rescue and care for pets who are looking for their forever homes. We are thrilled with our first ever Fund The Shelters Challenge and consider it a great success,” added Valari Staab, president, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations.

Through the competition, which was based on the Michelson Found Animals Saving Pets Challenge fundraising model and precedes the return of NBC and Telemundo stations’ fifth annual Clear The Shelters nationwide pet adoption campaign in August. For the Fund the Shelters Challenge, nonprofits raised money for their own organizations, and competed for grants and bonus prizes on Crowdrise by GoFundMe from Michelson Found Animals, with all the money raised going toward life-saving programs for shelter pets. The grand prize winners, which all received cash prize donations are:

  • 1st-The Stray Cat Alliance, which raised $266K
  • 2nd-Friends to the Forlorn Pitbull Rescue, which raised $221K
  • 3rd-Rescued Pets Movement, which raised $146K
  • 4th-Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic, which raised $137K
  • 5th-New York Bully Crew, which raised $68K
  • 6th-PET Rescue (Maine Coon Adoptions), which raised $55K

“We are so excited to have won the challenge. We were able to raise $266,000 in addition to the prize money from Michelson Found Animals,” said Christi Metropole, founder and executive director of Stray Cat Alliance. “This will allow us to save the lives of more than 1,000 kittens, which will have a huge impact in our community this kitten season. Thank you to all the donors and everyone on social media who made this possible.”

Over five seasons of Saving Pets Challenge along with this inaugural Fund The Shelters Challenge, over $8 million has been raised plus $1 million given by Michelson Found Animals in grants, all going to help shelter pets.


Fund the Shelters helped organizations prepare for NBC and Telemundo stations’ 2019 Clear The Shelters pet adoption campaign by raising funds to not only support their programs, but also offset reduced or waived adoption fees during Clear The Shelters Day 2019, Aug. 17. Since 2015, more than a quarter-million pets of all types have been adopted through the campaign. For more information about Clear The Shelters, please visit



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