A longstanding passion and year of planning came to fruition for SportsNet LA reporter Alanna Rizzo when she officially founded and launched Guidry’s Guardian Foundation on the Fourth of July.
Rizzo’s dedication — aside from covering the Los Angeles Dodgers in her sixth season with the team — began with the adoption of a Border Collie mix in 2009. Guidry, the Foundation’s namesake and who sadly passed away recently, was adopted from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Colorado.
“He was four months old at the time, and it just opened a whole new world to me that I didn’t even know existed,” Rizzo told DodgerBlue.com. “It opened up a world that I didn’t know was in such need of rescue and foster and adoption; overcrowded shelters, overpopulation of animals, lack of spay and neuter programs. I could go on and on and on.
“If it weren’t for Guidry, I certainly wouldn’t be doing this, but I’m glad I took that leap.”
All the while covering the Dodgers on what amounted to a second consecutive trip to the World Series, Rizzo began to navigate the arduous process of bringing a foundation to life.
“It took a year to kind of get over the step of being scared and daunted and overwhelmed, to finally launching it,” she recalled.
“It was challenging, but I think it was more daunting than anything. To have it in your mind and on your heart, and then to actually make it happen, was really daunting and challenging. But now the work is actually beginning.”
Up until this July, she relied on a strong social media presence to raise awareness for dogs in need. There were success stories, but Rizzo sought to establish Guidry’s Guardian Foundation for a multitude of reasons, including to benefit donors and ease any potential concerns.
“I wanted to do something formally so people knew they were making a difference but also legally to be correct and I wanted them to get tax exempt receipts and those types of things,” she explained.
“And just to have a legitimate administrative arm behind it, so they knew I wasn’t just taking their money and running away. People are very generous. I wanted to do something that was more formal to where I had one mainstream platform that they could go and donate.”
That’s where Rizzo connected with the Players Philanthropic Fund (PPF), which is founded by former NLF kicker Matt Stover, so they could oversee much of the administrative handlings.
“There’s a lot that goes into it. I kept saying, ‘I just want to save dogs. I just want to save dogs,'” Rizzo said with a laugh. “And then it turned into more of a logistical and bureaucratic situation, as any establishment of a corporation or non-profit is.”
With business matters now in place, the Emmy Award-winner has continued to successfully rescue dogs. One of the Foundation’s recent triumphs was saving a dog from Mexico that had been hit by a car and left on the side of the road.
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SATURDAY SUCCESS STORY & UPDATE 7/20: Remember Grace? She was a victim of a hit and run, left for dead, in Mexico. She had her skull, femur and pelvis crushed…A month later she not only has the ability to walk, but she has regained her sight!! …… ⏩SWIPE⏩ to see how she has progressed and how @4dogsfarmrescue first found her. ⛔Warning: Last video contains sensitive content. She is only getting stronger by the day! Huge thank you to @4dogsfarmrescue for helping her rehabilitation! 🐕 Thank you to all who have already donated and made a huge impact. Visit @GuidrysGuardian to donate to her continued care 💻 Link in bio 📲 TAGS: #GGF | #Rescue | #RescueDog | #RescueDogsOfInstagram | #AdoptDontShop | #Dogs | #GuidrysGuardian | #DogLovers | #GuidrysGuardianFoundation | #SaturdaySucessStory |
Grace had her skull, femur and pelvis crushed. With help from 4 Dogs Farm Rescue, she was transported to the United States and has undergone significant rehabilitation.
“If I save one dog, it was worth all of it,” Rizzo says.
That is accomplished in large part behind donations from gracious contributors. “Every time I get an email from my web developer that says, ‘Thank you for your donation,’ I feel like I’ve won the lottery,” Rizzo gushed.
“To get that email every day, it’s like a jolt. People are making a difference. I don’t want people to think, ‘I don’t make a lot of money, it’s not going to be worth it.” From one cent to $1 million, we’ll take it, because it matters.”
Still in its infancy, Guidry’s Guardian Foundation is largely focused on assisting dogs in the greater Los Angeles area. However, Rizzo has a grand vision to grow its presence.
“While I’m helping Southern California primarily, because this is where I live and this is my community, eventually I see it really big to help pets nationwide,” she said.