A Fast Start in Month 1 of the $100K Challenge pays off

In the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, 50 shelters from across the country compete to break their own records at saving animals' lives. The shelter that saves the most additional dogs and cats in June, July and August of 2013, compared to the same time in 2012, will win the grand prize of a $100,000 grant to help them save even more lives. All told, Challenge shelters will earn $600,000 in grants to support continued life-saving.

The Fast Start grant recipients below each earned $5,000 for leading their divisions with the highest increase in lives saved at the end of the first month of the Challenge. How did they do it?

Division 1: Humane Society of Pinellas in Clearwater, Florida increased lives saved by 153 in June. Their "Pick Me! Project" lets adopters pick their own adoption fee, which is only part of their strategy to reach 999 adoptions in 90 days!

Division 2: Texas Humane Heroes, in Leander, Texas secured two local sponsors to host two separate free, fun and festive Mega Adoption Events. They proudly reported 82 adoptions during their Kick-Off event and a total increase in lives saved for June of 192.

Division 3: Canyon County Animal Shelter, in addition to reduced adoption fees for the whole first week, added a local radio personality to the mix in order to get the publicity needed to bring more people to the shelter – thereby savings 267 more animals this past June.

Division 4: Citizens for Animal Protection credits their Pet-a-Fair kick-off event for getting them off to a great start with a record 217 adoptions! They enlisted lapsed donors to sponsor fee-waived adoptions. Won't those donors be thrilled to know their support saved 232 more lives in June and also resulted in more life saving funds being awarded to their shelter? What a wonderful circle of giving and life-saving!

Division 5: Riverside County Animal Services achieved an amazing 309 additional lives saved in June 2013 as compared to June 2012, thanks in part to their Park N Bark event. The community event included a classic car show, live band and free pet adoptions all day at both shelter locations.

During the month of June, Challenge contestants saved a total of 18,336 lives – that's an increase in lives saved of 4,380!

—August 2013