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Celebrating Compassion: Highlights from HSU’s 2023 Wags to Wishes Gala

The Humane Society of Utah (HSU) was thrilled to host our annual Wags to Wishes Gala on Saturday, November 11th, 2023, at the luxurious Little America Hotel. It was a night of celebration and enchantment, thanks to the incredible support of our presenting sponsor, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. The Gala is the pinnacle of HSU’s fundraising calendar, an evening to celebrate our accomplishments and the incredible compassion of our donors and sponsors.

Embracing Firsts and Celebrating Advocates

From the beginning, the 2023 Gala stood out as a night of ‘firsts.’ Renowned reality star, author, and animal welfare advocate Lala Kent dazzled as the event emcee. She held the audience captive from start to finish with her trademark charm and wit. Moreover, this year’s Gala marked the debut of HSU’s new Executive Director, Alexis Pagoulatos. We are thrilled to begin a new era of leadership under her experienced direction. The Gala was the perfect event to introduce Ms. Pagoulatos to our most esteemed donors, sponsors, and community supporters. 

Amidst this night of glitz and glamour, we took the opportunity to recognize some of our biggest champions for animal welfare. The first annual Charitable Giving Award recognized Mountain America Credit Union for their outstanding support year after year. The first annual Legacy Award honored the late Curtis Lipke, who left a remarkable gift to the Humane Society of Utah after his passing. Both awards are a testament to the compassion and generosity of the community that surrounds us.

Paw-fect Stars on Stage: From Struggle to Stability

What Humane Society of Utah Gala would be complete without the true stars of the show: the animals! A heartwarming doggy runway show featuring HSU alumni, was a highlight of the evening. As these precious pups took to the stage in front of an adoring audience, we shared their touching journeys from adversity to long-lasting companionship. Their tales of transformation are a testament to the impact of our collective efforts. 

Inspired by these stories of hope and resilience, the Gala attendees opened their hearts and their wallets. Generous contributions poured forth during the program, lighting the path for even more stories of success and healing. 

Gratitude for a Record-Breaking Evening

The collective dedication of our staff, volunteers, and attendees culminated in a night to remember. Together, we raised nearly $250,000! This astounding success will empower HSU to help Utah’s homeless pets even more heading into the new year. 

As the curtains closed on this remarkable evening, our hearts swelled with gratitude. To everyone who contributed, attended, and supported our mission: you are the driving force behind our lifesaving work. We eagerly anticipate the years to come and the continuation of our cherished partnerships. We hope you all will join us for another fantastic Gala in 2024 and another opportunity to celebrate our shared devotion to the animals!

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