Celebrating more than 15 years of making a difference for animals, the Petco Foundation will host its sixth annual Hope Gala at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

This year’s event honors Hilary Swank, award-winning actress and animal lover, for her work in animal rescue and commitment to animal advocacy.

Each year, the Petco Foundation gala recognizes individuals or groups who share the foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life for pets and the people who love and need them. This year, Ms. Swank will receive the Petco Foundation’s Hope Award, which celebrates the spirit of hope through a life dedicated to promoting the human-animal bond. Past recipients of the annual Hope Award include Ellen DeGeneres, Betty White and Lily Tomlin.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as an advocate for animals by such a respected organization as the Petco Foundation,” said Ms. Swank. “They work tirelessly every single day on behalf of animals and have such a far-reaching impact through their extraordinary efforts. This Hope Award is a reminder that we all need to individually come together in order to collectively bring hope and make a difference for animals, animal welfare and animal rights. For even one person’s vision and efforts today can have a lasting impact that will make a difference in the lives of these souls for many tomorrows.”

A portion of the proceeds from the event will also go to Ms. Swank’s own animal-welfare organization, The Hilaroo Foundation, which brings together youth, who have been given up on, and animals, who have been abandoned, to help heal one another through Rescue, Rehabilitation, Animal Adoption and Responsibility Training. No soul should be discarded by society and every soul needs someone who cares and believes in them.

“It’s always a joy to celebrate the great work being done in animal-welfare by our friends and partners all over the country, particularly our Hope Award recipients,” said Susanne Kogut, Executive Director of the Petco Foundation. “We’re big fans of Hilary’s, not only for her incredible acting talent, but we’re also inspired and impressed by her passion for animal rescue and her determination to make a real difference.”

Gala attendees will learn about Ms. Swank’s lifelong love of animals, what inspired her to create Hilaroo, and how the organization helps both animals and children in need. Attendees will also learn how the Petco Foundation supports thousands of local animal-welfare groups across the country.

The black-tie-optional event, sponsored by Natural Balance in partnership with Petco, will be emceed by San Diego’s KFMB-TV (CBS) anchor Dan Cohen, and the program will feature a cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, dinner, dancing and entertainment. For the first year, the event will also include a live pet fashion show featuring adoptable animals from the San Diego Humane Society.

In another Gala first, the foundation will announce the inaugural recipient of The Paul Jolly Compassion Award. This award honors an organization, and their leaders, who are dedicated to saving the lives of animals much like Paul Jolly spent his life inspiring and empowering others to help animals in need.

To learn more about the gala, including how to purchase tickets or become a sponsor, click here.

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