Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, ARF is a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, receiving no government funding and supported by donors in all 50 states and internationally. In 2017, ARF earned the highest possible rating – four stars – from Charity Navigator for the tenth consecutive year. Only one percent of charities reach this milestone, and ARF is proud that 87 cents of every dollar goes directly to its programs.
The catalyst for ARF came in May of 1990 during a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees when a stray cat wandered onto the playing field. Tony, then the Manager of the Oakland A's, coaxed the terrified cat into the dugout, secured its safety for the remainder of the game, then took responsibility for placing it with a local shelter. To his dismay, Tony discovered there was not a single No-Kill facility in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. When Tony learned the cat would be euthanized, he and his wife, Elaine, named her "Evie" and found a home for her. His experience with this cat was the genesis for the founding of ARF, an organization dedicated to bringing people and animals together to enrich each other's lives.