The sizeable sum came from an insurance company chairman and his wife, who adopted an abused dog and her five puppies from Alaqua.
FREEPORT — Alaqua Animal Refuge is $1 million closer to a new home.
The animal rescue organization announced Tuesday that it received a $1 million gift for its new facility on 100 acres about a quarter-mile east of the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center on State Road 20.
The gift was made by Ryan Jumonville, chairman of United Networks of America, and his wife Raven, during Alaqua’s 8th annual Sip N Shop on April 6 at Emeril’s Coastal Italian in Miramar Beach.
Alaqua founder Laurie Hood said she was "absolutely stunned" when she heard about the donation.
"Ryan and Raven have been supporters of our mission in so many ways, including opening their home to animals in need from our organization," she said in a statement. "I am deeply grateful and almost without words about the significance of this gift, as we are just now officially launching our capital campaign. We are extremely blessed to be the beneficiary of such tremendous kindness and generosity.”
The Jumonville's gift will be dedicated to the construction and naming of the new welcome center and adoption building. The welcome center will be the entry point for adopters, tours, school field trips and fundraiser events.
United Networks of America provides managed care products that reduce health care costs to clients such as insurance companies, universities, federal and state governments, school systems, large employers and more. The Jumonvilles and the company are involved in philanthropy across the country, according to a press release from Alaqua.
"Alaqua Animal Refuge holds a special place in our hearts," Ryan Jumonville said in a statement. "It is where we adopted an abused dog named Bella and her five mischievous puppies. We got to know Laurie, and her passion for helping animals in unsurpassed."
Hood said Alaqua’s "Second Chances Start Here" campaign goal of $15 million "reflects the building of a facility that Walton County and Northwest Florida can be proud to call their own."
Alaqua wants to build a facility that Hood hopes will be a model for animal sanctuaries around the world while providing educational opportunities for students.
For more information on Alaqua, visit www.alaqua.org.