The Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter
30 Undine Road
Brighton, MA 02135
Animals, History, Kid Friendly, Social Good
What: Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter Groundbreaking Ceremony
When: Sunday, October 1, 2023, at 1pm EDT
Where: Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter, 30 Undine Road, Brighton, MA 02135
(Brighton, MA – August 21, 2023) The Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter – the oldest free-roam, no-kill shelter in the United States – recently embarked on the construction of a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility. In continuous operation for almost 140 years, the historic shelter will host a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new facility, now under construction by Timberline Construction, on Sunday, October 1 at 1pm EDT. Members of the Ellen M. Gifford board, staff, and local officials will be in attendance.
The new $4.1m facility will include a one-story building that will house up to 78 cats – a capacity increase of almost 50% – in approximately 4,000 square feet of space and will feature several large colony rooms, garden-style window perches for cats to sun themselves, and a cutting-edge ventilation system. A grand opening is slated for Spring 2024.
The new shelter facility is made possible by the extraordinary generosity of Marilyn Campion of Newton, a tireless animal advocate and passionate cat enthusiast. Ms. Campion said, “Cats enrich people’s lives in immeasurable ways, including my own, and I consider it an honor to help so many cats live happier, healthier lives. I would like my legacy to be one that galvanizes the next generation of animal advocates, just as Mrs. Gifford’s generosity and commitment to cats influenced me. I am hopeful that the new shelter will generate enthusiasm for donations that would enable the staff and volunteers to care for even more cats in the future.”
Lisa Sacchetti, President of the Board at Gifford and long-time shelter volunteer, said, “This new facility will provide the living space our cats deserve as they wait to be partnered with their future families. It will offer increased adoption capabilities as well as expanded volunteer opportunities and cat food pantry access to Brighton and the surrounding communities. We’re building a world-class shelter that will continue to provide a haven to the most vulnerable cats in the Boston area for many years to come.”
For more information, please contact Groundbreaking Ceremony Coordinator Sandy Reilly at 617-416-2282 or [email protected].
The Ellen M. Gifford Cat Shelter was founded in 1884 through a collaboration of philanthropist Ellen Marett Gifford and Captain Nathan Appleton, a member of a prominent Boston family. His father was a U.S. Representative, and his brother-in-law was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Captain Appleton was an animal advocate and dedicated a piece of his country estate to creating the shelter. Ellen Gifford donated $25,000 to build and operate the shelter and wrote its original mission statement in 1884 – “If only the waifs, the strays, the sick, the abused, would be sure to get entrance to the home, and anybody could feel at liberty to bring in a starved or ill-treated animal and have it cared for without pay, my object would be obtained.”
Originally a haven for all animals, as the character of the neighborhood changed, the shelter changed with it. It first limited its population to cats and dogs, and eventually to cats only. Ellen Gifford’s original mission continues to be honored in many ways. The shelter’s current focus remains on helping stray, abandoned, or abused cats with the goal of finding them permanent homes and families.