Local Foundation Will Match $75,000 in Donations to Save Wildlife Animal Rescue After Devastating Fire

Madeira Beach, Fla. – In the wake of a heartbreaking fire that ravaged Madeira Beach’s beloved Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center, The Michael and Robin Lally Forward Foundation announced that it will match up to $75,000 in donations from individuals and businesses, for a total donation of $150,000, to aid in the rebuilding and revival of the essential wildlife sanctuary.

The Discovery Center was home to 258 rescues, ranging from alligators, lizards, small mammals, amphibians, turtles and tortoises, and other fresh and saltwater marine life. The fire, which struck the Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center on July 13th, left the facility in ruins and tragically killed 123 of the exotic animals that resided there.

Sonny Flynn, co-owner of Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center said, “Every animal we lost had a name, a personality and was loved by many. This loss is overwhelming, but I am determined to rebuild.”  Ms. Flynn is also deeply committed to retaining her eight, long-term and dedicated employees. She shared that $150,000 is needed to rehabilitate the necessary habitats to allow the surviving animals to come home and to continue saving new animals in the future. Veterinary expenses for the surviving animals have also been extensive.

 When Robin Lally, President of The Forward Foundation, heard about the fire, she was compelled to take action. “We were deeply saddened to hear about the devastating fire. Our prior work with the center was such a positive experience. We were very impressed by the staff’s dedication to both the animals in the rescue and their community outreach.  My hope is that the outpouring of support from our community and beyond allows them to rebuild, heal, and continue their important work.”

The matching donation campaign to raise the needed funds is set to run from today through the end of September, during which every dollar donated by the public will be matched by The Forward Foundation up to the generous combined total of $150,000. Donations can be made securely through the rescue’s website or by check payable to John’s Pass Rescue, the 501(c)3 arm of the wildlife animal rescue.

The first $10,000 donation in response the Forward Foundation’s offer has been made in the form of new computers and hardware by Odin Gaming, a computer accessories company located in St. Petersburg, FL. This donation, in addition to two other fundraisers created prior to the foundation’s offer, were matched today The Forward Foundation for a total amount of $26,680.

The wildlife center hopes to reopen its doors to the public on Thanksgiving weekend and chose this date intentionally. Ms. Flynn said, “We want to reopen on Thanksgiving weekend because we are grateful for what we had, and grateful for what we have. Words cannot express how fortunate we are to have the public come together to help us.”

Donations can be made online at http://AlligatorWildlife.com

Donations can be made on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/donate/626986562854748/

Donations made by check can be mailed to:  John’s Pass Rescue, 12971 Village Blvd., Madeira Beach, FL 33708


The Michael & Robin Lally Forward Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to creating a better world for all. The Forward Foundation advocates for human equality, animal rights and global community. For more information, contact Robin Lally at robin@lally.foundation.

The Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center’s provides human, professional care for pet surrenders and orphaned native wildlife that cannot be safely returned to the wild and provides education to the public about the natural history, importance of, and ways in which we can coexist with the rich diversity of wildlife in the world. For more information, contact Sonny Flynn at alligatorattraction@gmail.com.

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact:

Robin Lally
President, The Forward Foundation

Sonny Flynn
Co-owner, Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center