Who We Are

Aurora Velazquez, senior strategist

Aurora Velazquez with cat aurorav@bestfriends.org

A career animal welfare professional, Aurora has spent the better part of the last two decades in large, open admissions animal shelters, where she focused on increasing lifesaving through operational excellence and inclusive practices. She’s also spent time as a national level partner, helping organizations navigate grants processes and grow donations to support their missions.

As Chief Operating Officer at Animal Care Centers of NYC, Aurora was instrumental in piloting and expanding both the community cats and surrender prevention programs, critical to reducing intake and increasing lifesaving at that organization. While serving as Executive Director at ACCT Philly in Philadelphia, she led the organization to its highest live release rate ever, 92%, while spearheading massive facility improvements including upgrading all primary animal housing, finishing a multi-million dollar adoption center, and securing the funding and approvals for construction of the facility’s first dedicated isolation space for canine infectious diseases.

Aurora covers the states of New York, Maryland and Kentucky.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Aurora still calls the state home and lives there with her husband, Alex, their dog Uncle June, indoor cats Elliot and Monty, community cats Rick and Jimothy (and assorted others), and parrot, Fran. She’s an avid reader, true-crime podcast enthusiast, and plant-mom.