CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Second Annual Humane Society of Charlotte 'Women for Animal Welfare' luncheon was almost twice as big as last year's. The event is a chance for the agency to thank the women who give their time and treasure to help the Humane Society carry out its mission of improving the lives of companion animals. Charlotte Skin and Laser was the presenting sponsor again this year.
The 2015 Women of Animal Welfare honoree is Stephanie Rivera. She and her husband Ron Rivera, head coach for the Carolina Panthers, give their time and talents to spread the word about the good work of the Humane Society. The couple has supported HSC through some really innovative fundraising ideas.
In accepting the honor, Stephanie said she spent a great deal of time deciding where to focus her community efforts when she and her family moved to Charlotte. She and Ron chose Humane Society of Charlotte along with two other organizations. "Because," she said, "The money stays here. The funds raised do good work right her where we live."
The Riveras organized the 'Puppies, Panthers and Kittens… Oh My' calendar in 2014. That calendar raised over $27,000 for the Humane Society.
Stephanie also led efforts to publish the "Rescue Recipes Cookbook," which highlighted players and shelter animals. That was a huge success for the organization, raising $40,000 in donations.
After accepting her award, Stephanie wowed the crowd with a surprise donation check of $25,000. If that wasn't enough to have everyone smiling, there would be another sweet surprise. The coach made an unexpected appearance and told the crowd how proud he was of Stephanie's efforts and how much he respects the work of the HSC. But it was his last comment that had the room full of women clapping.
The couple has a rescue dog. Coach Rivera said, "Not only did Stephanie rescue our dog, she also rescued me." And with that the ballroom at Myers Park Country Club gave an audible "Awww."
The humane society offers spay/neuter clinics. They have an iFoster program for volunteers and they just might have a special furry friend waiting for you to give it their forever home!
You can visit their website here.