Minnesota's Animal Humane Society receives $3 million donation, its largest ever

The Animal Humane Society announced Friday that former Toro CEO Ken Melrose gave the Minnesota-based organization a $3 million donation, the largest gift it has ever received.

The donation is a big first step in the Golden Valley-based nonprofit’s goal to construct a new adoption and animal care campus in St. Paul.

“This generous gift recognizes the important place animals hold in our lives and our communities – and it will help us advance the way we protect and care for animals in need for decades to come,” AHS President and CEO Janelle Dixon said in a statement. 

The homeless animal shelter helps more than 100,000 animals and their owners in Minnesota each year, including sheltering more than 22,000 animals. It is the largest organization of its kind in the state and AHS says it places more than 94 percent of its animals into the community each year.

“Animal Humane Society is one of the most sophisticated and forward-thinking humane organizations in the nation,” Melrose said in a statement. “I am excited to invest in their vision for the future of animal welfare.”

According to the nonprofit, Melrose has long been a supporter of AHS. He helped support the group’s first public spay/neuter clinic and he gave a 2011 gift that helped AHS sterilize more than 90,000 owned animals. He also donated to help develop two public veterinary centers that serve pets of people in need.

AHS receives no government funding as it is a private organization, so it relies on donors like Melrose to keep up its work.

Melrose is the former Chairman and CEO of Toro, a Bloomington-based company.