AWA receives $250,000 donation towards new building

In order to better serve both animals and community pet owners, the AWA is looking to build a new animal adoption center next to it’s existing Veterinary Clinic

In an effort to continue its goal of providing care for incoming animals, the Animal Welfare Association’s board of directors announced in November the launch of a $2.5 million capital campaign.

The campaign’s goal is to construct a new 15,000 square-foot shelter and adoption center at the Voorhees site, thus completely changing the landscape of the nonprofit’s ability to take care of animals and work with the community.

AWA donors Albert and Barbara Dragon pledged $250,000 to the AWA’s capital campaign earlier this year toward funding a modern animal adoption center. In recognition of the Dragons’ generosity, the lobby of the new shelter will be named the “Al and Barbara Dragon Lobby.”

“Al and Barbara’s gift will inspire other AWA friends and animal lovers to join the ‘Building a Place Where Happiness Begins’ campaign,” AWA board member and Capital Campaign co-chair Lynn Fryckberg said in a release about the donation. “These are the kind of magnanimous gifts that generate excitement, as well as participation from other equally loyal friends. Without a doubt the remaining funds will be raised in 2019.”

The Dragons adopted their dog, Winston, from the AWA years ago, helping nurse him back to health after he came to the AWA severely underweight and also fighting pneumonia. From the moment Winston entered the Dragons’ home, he has been their loving, loyal friend.

“He is the best companion Al and I could have hoped for,” Barbara shared. “He overcame his past, and today he is a certified pet therapy dog. We appreciate what AWA does for the animals and are proud to be AWA adopters, volunteers, and donors for over 30 years.”

The anticipated building will expand upon existing areas, such as increasing feline capacity by 40 percent, while also doubling canine capacity, but also create new areas to provide additional care opportunities for animals, such as creating specific rooms for ill dogs and the addition of “get acquainted” rooms for interested owners to meet with animals in a safer, calmer setting.

“We are going to be able to house more animals,” Executive Director Maya Richmond said. “In particular though, the space is designed to house and properly care for more needy animals.”

The AWA continues to save cats and dogs in both the local area and from around the world. The housing of these animals in the same central location or room can often create troubling environments, for example, dogs in need of behavioral therapy before being adopted.

In the future, dogs will have a designated location to de-stress after arriving at the AWA before being on the adoption floor.

“A lot of the space we’re putting in place is going to give them the proper environment to get well,” Richmond added.

The AWA also has other problems with its current building, according to Richmond.

The new building will fix existing problems with regulating temperature to appropriate levels for animals from extreme heat or cold, open up space for existing and new humane education and volunteer programs through the nonprofit, provide a neonatal room for newly born orphaned kittens and much more.

Overall, according to the AWA, the new 15,000 square-foot building adoption center will open up the opportunity for twice the available medical supplies for ill or injured animals and twice the amount of space for adoptable services. Additionally, storage for the AWA, which is currently mostly in overcrowded sheds, can be moved indoors to help better separate and store food, blankets and other supplies.

Another important aspect for the AWA with the new building will be increased space for community events for educational purposes and training rooms for new owners to help those in need of assistance with their pets.

Overall, the AWA is looking to provide both animals and the community with a greater ability to help than ever before with the addition of a new, modern animal adoption center.

“What we look at after 70 years of service is that we’re part of the community,” Richmond said. “Saving animals is the core of what the AWA was founded on; it was founded on the concept of improving the care and condition of companion animals. It’s about the community and what they need.”

AWA anticipates beginning construction at the start of 2020, with the new center opening its doors in late 2020. Since announcing its campaign, the AWA has raised more than 50 percent of the campaign’s goal of $2.5 million, but still needs additional support to reach the project’s price.

To take a tour of AWA, learn more about the AWA’s capital project, or to make a capital

campaign gift, please contact Gina Guida, director of development at (856) 424–2288, ext. 101, or email