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WALNUT CREEK, CA-A new Animal Rescue Foundation campus in Walnut Creek has gotten a jump-start with a grant offer by a Southern California investment banker. Philip Pitchford, senior vice president for Salomon Smith Barney, has offered a $1 million grant to ARF if the group and the public can raise $2 million by the end of this year.

The money will go toward building a state-of-the-art animal facility in Walnut Creek, which will cost an estimated $17 million. ARF hope to begin construction on the facility this spring. The 38,000-sf facility will include a spay and neuter clinic, a learning center, a dog-training center and administrative offices. It will be a rescue center for thousands of dogs annually. The center will feature a People Connect Center, as well, that will promote the relationship between animals and humans.

The People Connect Center, one of the facility’s features, will host programs that promote the healing power of animals. The 37,700-square-foot center, on the corner of Mitchell Drive and Oak Grove Road, will offer a spay and neuter clinic, a learning center, a dog-training pavilion, and administrative offices. It will serve several thousand animals a year.

Pitchford, who is donating the money in memory of his mother, who was a great animal-lover, will only give the money if the group’s quota is met.

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