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Animal Welfare Association of New Jersey

Give to Build a New Home

The Latest From Our Capital Campaign

After an eight month delay due to COVID-19, the demolition of the old shelter finally started on October 19th and was down to a pile of rubble by October 28th. We are so excited to take the next step in the construction of the new 25,000-sf shelter/education center. Watch the demolition video here.

To celebrate this milestone, Susan Beck, a dear friend, and supporter of AWA has committed to match up to $15,000 in donations through November 13th.  Each dollar donated will be doubled. AWA is hoping the $15,000 Match Challenge will raise $30,000 for the capital campaign Building a Place Where Happiness Begins.

We need the support of the entire community to raise the $15,000 to make this challenge a success. A donation of $50 becomes $100, a donation of $250 becomes $500, a donation of $500 becomes $1,000 and on and on. Can we count on your donation?

The new building will include a bright, welcoming lobby with acoustically sound-proofed areas throughout and allow twice the space dedicated to adoption services. AWA projects an additional 1,000 animals can be saved each year due to the expansion. Equipped classroom-style space for public workshops and education programs will allow AWA to expand important services and programs to the pet caring community.

Another step closer to a brighter future for the AWA shelter animals.

We want to thank those who supported AWA with sponsorship and dedication signs in the old shelter building. Even though the old shelter is gone, your generosity will be remembered and recognized in the new shelter/education center. We thank you for being a part of the mission of saving animals lives.

The Animal Welfare Association (AWA) celebrates and delivers “Happiness” every day. Yet, in 2020 it feels like we are in pursuit of happiness.

At the start of 2019 AWA announced our greatest fundraising effort ever undertaken – a campaign to raise $2.5 million toward the cost of a new 25,000 sq. ft. animal shelter and education center which will make possible the expansion and transformation of AWA’s programs and services. The total cost of the structure is $5.9 million.

COVID-19 may have temporarily slowed down our progress toward “Building a Place Where Happiness Begins,” but it did not defeat us.

This September, the remaining portion of the Capital Campaign process will begin. It is called “Paving the Way,” as it happens at the same time as the construction!

As a Builder of Happiness, we would like you to know about a few exciting happenings and upcoming activities.

The shelter is now empty! The relocation of the Pet Clinic and Shelter into their temporary homes is COMPLETE! Check out the staff and animals move into their new home here.

We want to thank everyone who visited the old shelter during the “If I Had a Hammer” events on September 9th and 10th. It was great seeing so many friends and supporters of AWA. The heartfelt messages left on the walls made us cry, laugh, and reminisce. To those strong enough to put some holes in those old walls, we applaud you.

These activities helped say good-bye to the past before moving forward, which we did on September 14th at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new building. We were joined on this special day by board members and the head of the construction team. View photos of both events.

Once demolition begins, the milestones will be in step… construction to Hard Hat tours… and on to the grand reopening in late 2021.

Will you help Pave the Way to Happiness. In the final stretch organizations normally hold fundraising events to engage the public to close the gap between what funds have already been secured to what funds we still need to open the doors in 2021. We anticipate that amount is $500,000. Yet, the impact of COVID-19 means we must find new ways to succeed. It means we will need our community – donors, volunteers, companies, and neighbor – to donate. No amount is too small.

Will you be a Builder of Happiness?

  • Secure one of the remaining Naming Opportunities; don’t miss this lasting chance to have your name or the name of a loved one on a part of the new building.
  • Become a North Paw Wall supporter for donations of $500 or $1,000 – like the North Star, your name will be displayed as a constant testament of your generosity on one of the shelter walls.
  • For a $300 donation your name can be on the Honor Roll Wall that will be displayed in the lobby near the entrance.

Supporting Happiness is easy, you can:

  1. Pledge to give a donation in the coming months (pledges for gifts over $1,000 can be paid over two or three years).
  2. Give a donation today of whatever you can.
  3. Call us today so we can customize a plan around your wishes, contact Ron Delp at 856.424.2288 ext. 150.

I hope you and your family are staying well during this unprecedented time. Yesterday I received an inspiring voice message from a longtime donor who simply said, “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.”

We’re continuing to help animals today while still focusing on keeping our community safe and aiming for that day when we open the doors to a Place Where Happiness Begins.

Today – I am thankful to the AWA team for coming together and crafting an action plan to ensure quality care to the shelter animals, provide help to people immediately impacted and in need of assistance for their pets, and willingness to work under strenuous conditions. Thank you for allowing us to put our freshly sanitized hands to work doing all we are safely able to do.

You may also be wondering about your generous gift to Building a Place Where Happiness Begins, and I can provide reassurance. Thanks to your support we will be building!

With only weeks away, seeing significant strides in the construction of the building, the countdown to the Demolition Party and Public Fundraising kickoff was happening.

Understandably, we are now looking at early summer, given that moving forward depends on things returning to normal. And we know that raising the remaining funds from many small to medium size donations might be more difficult. But this is when creative and committed people come together and find a way.

What is happening right now?

·  Hale Trailer employees will be on site next week to assemble the trailer that will house the Pet Clinic during construction. The shelter is packing up to move.

·  We’ve applied to the township for a permit waiver to allow us to begin the building process before they return to their offices.

·  The architectural drawings are nearly finished. A&E Construction is tightening their prices; the last piece to complete the bridge-loan application.


In 14 months, more than 200 loyal donors committed over $1.8 million! This is an incredible achievement. The funds you’ve given remain protected from the changes in the stock market and fully dedicated to the new building. Thank you for giving us the foundation to move forward.

Everyone is eagerly looking forward to feeling JOY when shovels are in the ground. When giving your hardhat tour I may be skipping with excitement knowing that behind the new doors will be a building equipped to sustain and grow AWA’s amazing programs.

Inside the new building tucked off the back entrance by the elevator is the “Pet Food Pantry.” When designing the building many donors shared their appreciation for this program and ensured it would have a home so it could expand. Recently, the Pet Food Pantry was happening every few months out of a horse trailer parked near the shelter. On average over 60 pet families or 250 meals are provided each time.

As COVID-19 impact intensified, the inquiries for pet food has increased leading our team to roll out “curbside, no contact, pet food grab bags” for people needing assistance feeding their pets.

Like other lifesaving programs you allow us to do each year, and asked us to expand in the new building, the Pet Pantry is so important. As one recipient says, “I have three dogs and four cats…Several of my pets have health issues. Money can really get tight at times. I’m so thankful that AWA has this program to help us keep going.”

Thank you—for believing in the mission, vision, and work of the AWA. I look forward to updating you when we shoot forward.

Maya Richmond

Executive Director


  • $15,000 Match Challenge – Sue Beck, a dear friend and supporter, has committed to matching donations up to $15,000 raised through November 13th
  • We have raised over $2.0 million
  • We have over 286 committed donors
  • We received $250,000 from Al and Barbara Dragon, our largest donation!

Highlights of the Expansion:

Glass-front “cat condos” will face the main “Cat Wing” corridor, allowing for curious cats and kittens to watch humans coming and going. A glassed-in, outside-facing room will provide flexible space for AWA to have kitten incubators and volunteer care stations during peak kitten season to care for the hundreds of orphaned baby kittens that come in during the summer months.

The AWA Shop will showcase pet-related merchandise as well as handmade treats and toys made by pet therapy participants, Special P.A.W.S. and volunteers.

Our store staff will include volunteers from our youth development & employment partnerships who will have the opportunity to learn job skills.

Life for a shelter dog can be extremely stressful.  To help older or more anxious dogs, AWA will have two rooms called “Real Life Rooms” designed to feel like a warm, welcoming living room.

The open Lobby allows us to accommodate our ever-expanding adoption community and allows more space for our programs and events.

The herbs and vegetables in our Kindness Garden will nourish bunnies and enrich treats for our cats & dogs. Our rabbits and other little fluff balls can fully express their bouncy little selves in the fresh air!

PLUS, we can accommodate more people for our amazing programs like Summer Camp, Reading to the Animals, Pet Therapy, and Special Paws

A New 25,000 Square Foot Adoption Center Means

  • Twice the space dedicated to adoption services
  • Twice the medical space to care for ill or injured animals
  • 1,000 additional animals helped every year
  • A 42% increase in the number of pets housed and cared for
  • 80 additional neonatal kittens saved every year
  • 80 more dogs and cats rehabilitated every year