It’s a terrific week for rescued animals. Not only did the news break that President-Elect Joe Biden will be bringing the first rescued dog into the White House in January, but there is also a special virtual gala to celebrate those who dedicate themselves to the important work of rescuing animals. The Humane Society of the United States is holding its annual “To The Rescue!” gala to celebrate the brave people who devote themselves to saving animals in a new way this year. It will be held virtually on Saturday, November 14, 2020. Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, spoke to us about this special event that’s dear to her heart.
What inspired the HSUS to start the annual gala?
We started our annual gala in 2010 to celebrate and share with our supporters our victories — saving, rehabilitating, and caring for tens of thousands of animals each year. We couldn’t do the work without the generosity of our supporters and the gala was born out of that idea.
I love everything about coming together to share an inspiring, emotional and entertaining evening with them. That first gala ten years ago exceeded our expectations and continued to grow into an annual signature event featuring and attracting talented artists through the years like Ricky Gervais, Rob Thomas, Sutton Foster and countless others.
Who will be your guests this year?
This year we are celebrating everyday heroes who work tirelessly to help animals in need, without wavering even during a pandemic. These heroes take action in their daily lives by recusing animals in crisis and promoting cruelty-free lifestyles to make collective transformational change for all animals. Videos of these heroes will be featured during the show and acknowledged by our celebrity participants, including the Emmy-nominated, Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong, who is hosting the evening. Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winning performer Audra McDonald will host the pre-show and perform. These two talented women will be a major highlight of the night. Other stars will make surprise appearances during the evening.
Were there any particular challenges to transitioning to an online gala?
We started pivoting our events in April with a livestream concert featuring Rob Thomas, Jason Mraz and Chris Daughtry. We jumped into the virtual world quickly, and we embraced innovative technology and ways of keeping our donors engaged in our work. That event was a great success. Not only did we have three great performers, but we also had other celebrities coming on board to participate like Courtney Cox,