Petco Foundation to Honor Animal Advocate Hilary Swank at Annual Fundraising Gala on May 3, 2014

Proceeds from the 2014 Petco Foundation Hope Gala will benefit Swank’s animal welfare organization, The Hilaroo Foundation

SAN DIEGO--()--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 Petco Foundation and how you can help, visit

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

About Petco and the Petco Foundation

Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that focuses on nurturing powerful relationships between people and pets. We do this by providing the products, services, advice and experiences that keep pets physically fit, mentally alert, socially engaged and emotionally happy. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,300 Petco locations across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico, including more than 100 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop; nine Pooch Hotel destinations for pet daycare, boarding and spa services; and The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $125 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 400,000 animals every year.

About Hilary Swank

Actress/Producer Hilary Swank is an accomplished storyteller with more than 20 years in the business. Swank has worked with such leading filmmakers as Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan, Mira Nair, Richard LaGravenese, Gary Marshall, Philip Noyce, Brian De Palma, and Sam Raimi. Swank’s upcoming films include "You’re Not You," in which she stars as well as produces through her 2S Films banner, and "The Homesman," which she co-stars opposite Tommy Lee Jones, who also serves as director.

Swank’s breakout role as Brandon Teena in the 1999 drama “Boys Don’t Cry” earned her an Oscar® for Best Actress. Her much lauded performance also earned her a Golden Globe Award and Critics’ Choice Award, as well as New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics, and National Society of Film Critics Awards in the same category. Additionally, the National Board of Review recognized Swank’s work with the Breakthrough Performance of the Year Award, and she earned BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® nominations.

In 2005, Swank won her second Academy Award® for her starring role in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar®-winning Best Picture “Million Dollar Baby.” In addition, she won her second Golden Globe Award and a SAG Award®, as well as the National Society of Film Critics and Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Actress. That same year, she also earned Golden Globe and SAG Award® nominations for her role in HBO’s “Iron Jawed Angels.”

Other credits include starring in and executive producing the fact-based drama “Conviction,” which Swank received a SAG Award® nomination; starring in and executive producing Mira Nair’s “Amelia,” the story of the legendary aviatrix; and “Freedom Writers,” directed by Richard LaGravenese.

Additional credits include LaGravenese’s “P.S. I Love You,” Brian De Palma’s “The Black Dahlia,” “The Affair of the Necklace,” Sam Raimi’s “The Gift,” Stephen Hopkins’ thriller “The Reaping,” Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia,” and Gary Marshall’s “New Year’s Eve,” as well as producing the romantic comedy “Something Borrowed,” the first film produced under the banner of her production company, 2S Films, formed in partnership with Molly Mickler Smith.

Swank’s additional efforts focus on her commitment to animal welfare and rescue. In 2009, Swank participated in the IAMS Home for the Holidays campaign dedicated to placing homeless pets. During the campaign, more than 1.4 million animals found forever homes. She's also been involved with Best Friend's Animal Society for more than a decade and recently become an Ambassador for this organization which works tirelessly on behalf of animals through adoption, spay/neuter programs and education programs for "pet parents." Swank continues her dedication and commitment to animal welfare through the launch of her charity, The Hilaroo Foundation, which will bring youth, who have been given up on, and animals, who have been abandoned, together to help heal one another through Rescue, Rehabilitation, Animal Adoption and Responsibility Training.


Marcus Dockter, 619-237-7718


Marcus Dockter, 619-237-7718