What would the gift of a lifetime be for an animal lover? How about a $2 million donation to an animal rescue for them to build a new facility... That's what John Breslow gave his wife Sonia on her 60th birthday. Breslow donated $2 million to the Arizona Animal Welfare League & Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (AAWL & SPCA) to build the new facility, which will make it possible for the organization to rescue more homeless dogs and cats from euthanasia.
The AAWL & SPCA helped Breslow surprise his wife and about 80 of their friends by unveiling her name on the new building at 40th Street and Washington in Phoenix.
“This incredible gift could not have come at a better time for AAWL & SPCA,” said Judith Gardner, President and CEO. “We adopted out more than 3,000 animals last year, but were at the very limits of our capacity. I hope that, when Sonia thinks about this day, her heart will fill with the knowledge that thousands – and I do mean thousands – of homeless animals’ lives will have been saved. These animals will be placed in loving homes because of her, her birthday and the love of her wonderful husband.”
For more than two years, Breslow and the animal welfare organization kept the secret of the adoption center in her honor. He arranged for shuttle buses to bring his wife and their guests from her birthday party to AAWL & SPCA to show her the extraordinary gift. When she and her husband stepped off the last bus to arrive, the banner concealing her name on the building was dropped, and a crowd sang “Happy Birthday.” After champagne and birthday cake, the couple and their friends toured the facility and met some of the animals up for adoption at AAWL & SPCA, which operates the state’s oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter. The couple will also be honored at “An Evening to Paws,” AAWL & SPCA’s annual black-tie fundraiser, next Saturday.
The new adoption center, which opens to the public in April, will allow AAWL & SPCA to more than double the number of dogs and cats saved each year. The organization rescues animals from euthanasia at open-intake shelters, provides any medical care — including spay/neuter, vaccinations and micro-chipping — and places them in new homes.
A picture of Sonia and her dogs will hang in the lobby of the adoption center.
About the Donor and His Wife
The Breslows are part-time residents of Scottsdale. They have three daughters and one grandson. They also have two Chinese Shar-Peis. John Breslow is a minority investor in a group that formerly owned the Phoenix Coyotes NHL team. A hockey enthusiast, John Breslow also helped fund an ice rink at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, which is set to break ground this year. He and his family owned Linweld, a Lincoln supplier of industrial gases and welding goods founded by his father, until the company was sold in 2006. He served as State Auditor of Nebraska from 1991 to 1999.
About Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA
The mission of the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA is to end the unnecessary euthanasia of dogs and cats in our community. Founded in 1971, AAWL & SPCA operates the state’s oldest and largest no-kill shelter. The nonprofit organization provides adoption, resource and education programs that improve the quality of life for dogs and cats and offers support for pet guardians. No federal or state funding is received and all revenue is from private donations and fundraising efforts. To find out more, go to www.aawl.org or call 602-273-6852.