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Animal Rescue Foundation began with Oakland A’s ballpark stray cat

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Nominated for 2023 Kickin’ Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year Award presented by 51FIFTY

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., May 9, 2023 – The catalyst for Animal Rescue Foundation came on May 7, 1990 during a televised baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. In the middle of an inning amidst cheers from spectators, a stray tortoiseshell cat looking for food and shelter dashed around the field. 

Tony LaRussa, then manager of the Athletics, coaxed her gently into the A’s dugout where she would spend the rest of the game, exhausted from her ordeal. LaRussa and his wife, Elaine, a life-long animal advocate, discovered there wasn’t a shelter which could take the cat. The LaRussa’s took the cat, named Evie after A’s owner Evie Haas, under their wings and ultimately were able to place her in a permanent, loving home.

The experience awakened the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame manager and his wife to the desperate circumstances in under-resourced public animal shelters and the plight of homeless dogs and cats – and inspired them to act. Less than a year later, they co-founded ARF to rescue dogs and cats before they ran out of time at the shelters.

The Foundation is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader for its unique, dual mission of People Rescuing Animals … Animals Rescuing People.” With 47,000 adoptions and counting, it also strengthens the human-animal bond through life-changing programs for children, seniors, veterans and under-resourced members. The ARF’s Walnut Creek, Calif. headquarters is a 37,700 square foot animal care facility and community center.

The Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation is among five nominees for the 2023 Kickin’ Doorz Down Philanthropist of the Year presented by 51FIFTY. The Kurt Busch Foundation; the Kevin Harvick Foundation; The Jimmie Johnson Foundation and the Steve Mariucci Family Foundation also have been chosen as this year’s finalists.

The Award’s winner will be announced June 8, 2023 during the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame’s induction gala, presented by World Wide Technology Raceway. The Thursday night event will be held at Sonoma Raceway’s Turn 11 Club, as part of the track’s NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and NASCAR/ARCA Menards Series weekend.

Previous Award winners are Mike Curb (2021) and the Sonoma Raceway Speedway Children’s Charities Chapter (2022).

“Tony LaRussa’s foundation, for more than three decades, has been a difference maker on several levels,” said Ken Clapp, Chairman and CEO of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame. “Thousands of adoptions have made a big difference to animals and their human families. The foundation also is a leader showing how the private sector can meet a community need.

“The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame is proud to count Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation among its charities.”

The Knockin’ Doorz Down Philanthropist of The Year award was brought to life by Carlos Vieira, a business man, an entrepreneur, a retired racecar driver, a father and a philanthropist. Carlos Vieira has spent years of his life living the madness, in which he has overcome obstacles and adversities throughout the years to become the success he is today.

And with that success he has been given opportunities to help others along the way. He founded the Carlos Vieira Foundation in 2010 and began the great works of helping families living with autism, mental illness and drug addiction, through programs such as Race For Autism, Race 2B Drug Free and the Race To End The Stigma campaigns.

Vieira captured all of this in his book Knockin’ Doorz Down, released in 2020, the real life story of breaking through the darkness of addiction and finding redemption. He continues to live this life of philanthropy and is actively encouraging others to follow suite. This award is a representation of that mindset. To put others first, to lift others up and to always do what we can to help when help is needed.

“Wealth isn’t just about dollars. We all have time, talent, and creativity, all of which can be used for positive change. Share your blessings in whatever form they come and to whatever level you have been blessed,” Vieira said.

About the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame:

The West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame was conceived in 2001 as a means of recognizing significant contributors and contributions to the sport of stock car/motorsports competition. The mission of the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame is founded to preserve history and heritage of the important role west coast stock car and motorsports figures have played in the sport’s development and continuation and to recognize, through annual enshrinement, of outstanding individuals and groups within the sport such as, but not limited to, designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, race track owners, promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media.

The Hall is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, dedicated to supporting a variety of organizations and groups from coast to coast. During its tenure, the Hall has raised more than $700,000 in the past five of its 22 years for youth, health and safety, hospitals, animal rescue, military and other charitable causes.

For more information on the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame visit: www.WestCoastStockCarHallofFame.com

Media Contact: 
Owen A. Kearns
okearns@bak.rr.com
661-342-2983

About 51FIFTY

51FIFTY is power! Power to overcome, power to persevere, the power to set your life on the course of success. When you’re faced with the challenge’s life throws at you, you focus and do what is needed to go beyond what is required. Stand up, stand firm, believe, make it happen and live through the madness, knockin’ doors down along the way! 

51FIFTY represents the lifestyle we choose to live, to have confidence in ourselves, to not let anyone or anything stop us, to overcome all adversity. We choose to be who we’re meant to be. We help others with empathy, compassion and honor. We see a world that is destined for greatness when we lift each other up rather than tearing each other down. 

We choose to help, focus on community and inspire those around us. We are 51FIFTY!

Contact:
Jason VanDusen
51FIFTY Enterprises
jvandusen@51fiftyltm.com
925-980-7673