News Item | PAWS Chicago

The Innovative & Impassioned David Duffield

by Alexis Fasseas | Nov 01, 2012

Turning Human Resources into Animal Resources

Transformation begins with a seed of inspiration, followed by the relentless grit of hard work, bringing ideas into action. For David Duffield, inspiration came in a little package of unconditional love – a Miniature Schnauzer named Maddie. 

Duffield knows a thing or two about transformation. The founder of PeopleSoft, he revolutionized business applications, building the first fully integrated, robust Human Resources Management Solution (HRMS). Today, his newest company, Work Day, is transforming the delivery and interface of enterprise business applications in the cloud. But his personal crusade has become the plight of homeless animals and working toward the day when America will be a No Kill nation. 

Through Maddie’s Fund, Duffield and his family’s dedication to homeless pets is unparalleled. Embracing No Kill in its formative days, they have become the movement’s voice, supporting communities across the nation in efforts to end the killing and developing the field of shelter medicine. In recognition of their mission, their achievements, and their vision for what can be, the Duffield Family is the first recipient of the PAWS Chicago Visionary Award.

“I’ve been fond of dogs as far back as I can remember,” Duffield recalls, “but my love for them grew when Maddie came into my life.” The Duffields met and fell in love-at-first-sight with Maddie when she was only ten days old. Duffield reminisces about that moment, “She melted our hearts from the first second we saw her with her sweet ways, her stubbornness, her independence, her intelligence, her spirit and her devotion.” 

Maddie fit right into her new home, doing her part to help the family. “Our early years with Maddie were a time of great stress as we struggled to start a new human resources software company, PeopleSoft,” Duffield said. “Always there offering unconditional love and devotion, Maddie helped us get through the hard times. I’ve always said that Maddie was the lighthouse during this stormy period.” 

After a particularly good day during the formation of the company, Duffield picked up Maddie and made a pledge to her: “If we ever make some money, I promise I will give it back to you and your kind so others can be as happy as we are today.” 

PeopleSoft went on to achieve every start-up’s dream, becoming a household name in the business community, and Duffield made good on his promise. He and his wife Cheryl founded the Duffield Family Foundation in 1994. “The tremendous success of PeopleSoft in the 1980s allowed us to think about charitable giving in a significant way,” Duffield said. “Involvements with local animal welfare organizations sparked our interest in forming a foundation that focused on companion animals.” In January of 1999, the Board restructured the Family Foundation and adopted the name Maddie’s Fund. 

To date, Duffield has given more than $300 million to his family’s foundation in loving memory of Maddie.

The Business of Giving

Duffield’s business philosophy threads throughout his philanthropic endeavors. “In business, I firmly believe that you treat everyone you come into contact with – customers, employees, vendors, students, competitors, and so forth – with the same high regard,” he said. “You never know when someone might pass a kind word along to another who might be influential to your business. It’s a simple ‘what goes around comes around’ philosophy, and our pets share this with us unconditionally every day. These are the underpinnings of the Maddie’s Fund cause and why we want to help find every healthy and treatable dog and cat a loving home.” 

Duffield maintains a focus on the mission of saving lives while incorporating lessons learned in managing and building companies when assessing how best to support the animal welfare community. “Maddie’s Fund recognizes the zeal and passion that animal shelters and rescue organizations have for lifesaving,” he said. “We want to match this level of commitment with the necessary business skills to make animal welfare organizations more efficient and successful in reaching their lifesaving goals.” 

Maddie’s Fund’s own goals are no small feat, with a mission to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals and create a No Kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home. 

To this end, Maddie’s has established several lines of grant-giving, including Community Collaboration Grants, Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathons, initiatives in Transparency and promoting adoption and the all-important lifesaving of shelter medicine.

“Our greatest success has been as a primary spokesperson and as the biggest investor in achieving a No Kill nation,” Duffield said. “Maddie’s Fund was the first to articulate the No Kill Nation goal. People believed that saving all of our healthy and treatable shelter pets was impossible. Now, it’s almost universally accepted, it’s a movement, and it’s happening in communities all across the country.”

Building No Kill Communities

The Duffield family is very hands-on with their foundation. They have spent many a weekend the last two years visiting many of the participating locations in the Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon, which happens each June with an emphasis on adopting out older and hard-to-place pets. “The joy we saw in the animals, as well as the volunteers and the adopters, is the reason we created Maddie’s Fund,” said Duffield. “The hard to place adoptions are particularly moving, like Heidi, a 17- year old blind and deaf dog who had been given up on by previous owners and was adopted by a hospice nurse who totally fell in love with her.” 

Community collaboration grants are bestowed to animal welfare organizations that come together to develop successful models of lifesaving. “We’ve guided the animal welfare movement toward community problem solving,” Duffield said. “This has gained a great deal of traction nationwide.” He mentions a recent $1.3 million Lifesaving Award to a four-member alliance in Washoe County, Nevada, for creating a No Kill community for the last two years, saving all of their healthy and treatable shelter pets. 

With community collaborations and the annual Adoptathon, Maddie’s has saved 687,400 animals lives through adoption and provided 546,499 spay/neuter surgeries.

Transforming the Sheltering Community

Maddie’s has led a national effort to promote accountability and transparency in animal shelter industry. In so many communities, shelters have kept the massive killing of homeless pets a secret, hidden from the general public. Without full transparency, people are kept in the dark about the true activities in the shelters they are supporting or surrendering their animals to. “In addition to requiring our own community collaborative funded projects to collect and report shelter data, we have offered to pay other communities to collect and report data to promote transparency and accountability on a far broader scale,” Duffield said. “In a continuation of our effort, several national animal welfare organizations are now working on a national shelter database for the entire industry.” (Readers can view the first searchable shelter database of shelter and community statistics at www. 

The next step is building Maddie’s Center in the San Francisco Bay Area. The future foundation headquarters will also be home to a facility for animal care and Maddie’s Institute, a teaching facility. “We don’t call our facility a shelter because it will be an entirely new and groundbreaking concept in animal care looking more like a home or resort than a traditional shelter,” Duffield said. Expected to be completed in 2014, Maddie’s Center will serve as a testing ground for tackling the most challenging issues facing the animal welfare community. 

“We anticipate that our pet admissions will be difficult to place referrals, dogs and cats primarily from animal control shelters,” said Duffield. The initial service will be focused on Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, then spread to other Bay Area communities and ultimately nationwide. But it will also be a national resource with Maddie’s Institute, providing a university-type setting to train the animal welfare community and general public on revolutionizing the status and wellbeing of companion animals.

Shelter Medicine

Perhaps the most innovative achievement the Duffields have made to date is revolutionizing veterinary medicine by developing and supporting shelter medicine education. (Read more about this transformation of shelter medicine on page 12.) Dr. Laurie Peek, Maddie’s board member and Duffield’s daughter, has taken a leadership role as Director of Veterinary Programs. “I never learned about animal sheltering when I was a veterinary student,” Peek recalls. “I graduated from Cornell in 1996 and the first ever course in animal sheltering at a vet school was at Cornell in 1999.” In 2001, Maddie’s funded its first comprehensive shelter medicine program at UC Davis, including teaching, research and service with residency training. “Once UC Davis’ program was funded, other universities developed an interest,” said Peek. They expanded the program, providing grants to veterinary colleges to integrate shelter medicine into the veterinary curriculum, training veterinarians to save the lives of sick and injured dogs and cats in animal shelters. “The goal for our shelter medicine programs is to develop evidence-based information to save more homeless animals,” said Peek. Funded programs have included UC Davis, Auburn, Western University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin, Iowa State, University of Florida and Purdue University. 

“Our funding has helped develop new leadership that will keep shelter animals well and treat those who are sick and injured,” Duffield said. “Shelter medicine is now a recognized and respected field of veterinary medicine, and nearly every one of the 28 veterinary colleges offers varying degrees of shelter medicine training.” 

PAWS Chicago has been a beneficiary of this shelter medicine grant program. When challenges with local traditional shelter transparency created hurdles to Chicago’s application to receive a Maddie’s community collaboration grant, PAWS Chicago reached out to Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine to gauge interest in pursuing a Comprehensive Shelter Medicine grant. In 2008, Purdue received the third-largest grant in Maddie’s Shelter Medicine history, funding veterinary residency and training programs as well as cutting-edge studies. (Read more about the Program and Studies on page 14 and 18.) 

The effect of the development of shelter medicine has resonated throughout No Kill sheltering. “Shelter medicine has had a profound impact on our operations,” said Paula Fasseas, founder of PAWS Chicago. “It is one of our Core Pillars of No Kill, along with proactive adoptions, targeted spay/neuter services and a robust volunteer program. We cannot thank Maddie’s enough for funding our partnership with Purdue and supporting our annual shelter medicine operations, enabling us to save even more sick and injured animals.” 

Truly Visionary 

With the innovation and resources that David Duffield and Maddie’s Fund have brought to the cause of homeless pets, it is not surprising that the No Kill movement continues to gain momentum across the nation. 

In recognition of their many achievements, PAWS Chicago is presenting the David Duffield Family with its first Visionary Award at the 2012 Fur Ball. With advocates like the Duffield Family, there is hope across the nation for homeless pets.