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Event and awards ceremony brought together leaders from the business, non-profit, entertainment, and animal welfare communities to help raise awareness for domestic violence

New York, NY – November 18, 2016 – On Tuesday November 15th, Urban Resource Institute (URI) hosted its inaugural fundraiser, URI Celebration, at espace ny in New York City to honor people and organizations that have positioned themselves as leading advocates in the fight against domestic violence. The event was emceed by award-winning journalist and WABC-TV Eyewitness News weekend co-anchor Sandra Bookman.

The night began with a pet-friendly red carpet featuring therapy dogs escorting guests into the event, courtesy of New York Therapy Animals, Inc., followed by the unveiling of a new video feature on URI’s URIPALS (URI People and Animals Living Safely) program. URIPALS is the only program in New York City and one of the few nationally that allows survivors of domestic violence to live in a shelter apartment with their pets. The program was launched in 2013 after URI identified and filled an urgent need for domestic violence victims who did not want to have to be forced to choose between their own safety and leaving their beloved pet behind. To date, URIPALS has helped 62 families with 86 pets, including 47 cats, 29 dogs, 8 turtles, a betta fish, and a bearded dragon, escape domestic violence.

The awards portion of the event featured actress and producer Kyra Sedgwick presenting the 2016 URI Leadership in Domestic Violence Award (Individual) to Linda Wolff, a domestic violence survivor, advocate, URI shelter volunteer, and small business owner of CPW Boutique. URI board member Carmen Smith, who serves as Vice President, Creative Development and Inclusive Strategies for Walt Disney Imagineering and Parks and Resorts, also received the 2016 URI Leadership in Domestic Violence Award (Individual). Purina—one of URIPALS’ strongest supporters and partners—was also presented with the 2016 URI Leadership in Domestic Violence Award (URIPALS).

“2016 has been an incredible year for us at Urban Resource Institute, and we are so grateful for the support of advocates like Linda and Carmen who help us make the work we do for domestic violence survivors possible,” said Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “Part of our mission as we move into 2017 will be both to continue our work in providing direct services to survivors and to raise awareness of the importance of creating pet-friendly domestic violence shelters, and partnerships with organizations such as Purina help make it all possible. We would also like to thank our sponsors and ticket holders, whose support allows us to continue the critical work of URI. As many as 48% of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations because they don’t want to leave their pet behind, and it is our hope that we can educate other service providers, politicians, and the public about the importance of allowing survivors to bring their whole families—pets included—with them into shelter.”

To learn more about URIPALS and for tips on keeping the entire family safe in domestic violence situations, please visit www.urinyc.org.

Media Contacts:
Kevin Maloney

Eseohe Yamasaki

About Urban Resource Institute
Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive social services that aid and empower New Yorkers in times of crisis. URI’s programs help victims of domestic violence, the homeless, and other at-risk populations to live in safety and recover from trauma. With a rich 35-year history; deep community relationships; and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York City’s most vulnerable populations. Headquartered in Manhattan, URI is one of the largest providers of domestic violence services in New York City, serving over 1,600 clients annually. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.