There were smiles all around on Wednesday when a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization received a huge check worth $100,000.
Red Paw Emergency Relief Team secured the top donation from NRG Gives, a program implemented by Philly-based energy supply company NRG.
The program, which began in 2016, allows NRG employees to nominate three local nonprofits. The public then has eight days to vote on the charity they want to receive the top donation. The nonprofit with the most votes receives $100,000.
Red Paw, this year's winner, is an emergency services nonprofit organization catered toward pets struck by fire or other disasters in Philadelphia and parts of Eastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.
"We're still in shock. The amount of money is mind-blowing," Jen Leary, Red Paw president and co-founder, said. "We're a small organization with a lot of ground to cover, so this donation is huge."
The Red Paw team was surprised with the large check at the Philadelphia Fire Academy, where Leary works.
The organization, which was officially added to the city's Emergency Response Plan, is run by firefighters and works in conjunction with public and private disaster relief organizations to provide emergency assistance to animals, including search and rescue, emergency transport, veterinary care and temporary shelter.
According to Leary, Red Paw plans to utilize the large sum to purchase a much-needed second emergency response vehicle, along with some search and rescue equipment.
"We're grateful to NRG and everyone who supported us," Leary said.
The two runners-up in this year's NRG Gives, College Possible Philadelphia and Canine Partners for Life received $20,000 and $10,000 donations, respectively.