Below is the introduction of each of the awards during the event, as announced by Karen Kraus, FCCO's Executive Director.

The ACATEMY AWARDS given out during the Furball went to five people who have had a significant impact on the Furball, our signature fundraising event that has given FCCO the ability to help more than 90,000 cats.

Reaching so many cats in need is a year-round effort and we also recognize those who rise to this challenge. We celebrate everyone for their support of our work.

Please join us in applauding those recognized with an ACATEMY AWARD.


The first award of the evening goes to our Honorary Chair, Tom Cramer. Tom is a beloved Portland artist who is best known for his intricately carved and painted wood reliefs, and for his colorful murals. Often called the official Artist Laureate of Portland, Tom is one of the most visible and successful artists in the city.

He is also a life-long cat lover. He appreciates cats for their zen qualities and their profound wisdom and grace. They are an inspiration to him.  I met Tom 20 years ago when he donated to our very first Furball. He has given to every single Furball making him the longest running donor to our auction.

We are inspired by his commitment to helping feral cats…maybe it is because he has a feral streak of his own. I proudly announce Tom Cramer the winner of our first Acatemy Award.


In 1999, just weeks before our first Furball fundraiser, we received a donation in the mail from a new donor. There was a company name on the check that said Artstuff so I called to see if they would like to donate some art to our upcoming auction. I quickly learned that they didn’t have art they could donate, but they could help with graphic design… if we ever needed.

Ever needed? At that point we still didn’t have a design for our invitation and I inquired if this was something they could help with. As they say in the movies…the rest is history.

This ACATEMY AWARD goes to Etta Wilkins Foster and Jeff Foster, who have designed every Furball invitation. 20 years of them….each and every one a work of art.

Etta also designs the Furball signage, the program in your hands and right down to the name tags we are all wearing tonight. In addition Etta designs all the other marketing and fundraising materials we use throughout the year, and even the signage at our building……all as a volunteer.

The Purrfect Pale Ale logo was designed by Etta and the upcoming auction item is another display of Jeff’s incredible illustration talents.

We are so honored to have their commitment, talent and time, that we proudly announce the winner of the next Acatemy Award goes to Etta Wilkins Foster and Jeff Foster.


The Furball brings people together. Friends tell friends about the event and they encourage them to join them in supporting our important work. Each Furball has an Honorary Chair who actively reaches out to their circle and helps grow awareness and support.

One year, the Honorary Chair, Suze Riley mentioned she knew a cat lover who was philanthropic. She offered to send sponsorship information and see if we could get on her radar.

That year was 2003 and that cat lover was Leslie Durst. She sponsored that year….and every year since. And at the Top Cat level every year.

She chaired Furball twice, once in 2004 and again 2016. And she has nurtured the next generation of donors by bringing the Cypher family each year….Jagger and Hayden have grown up before our very eyes.

Leslie’s generosity not only gives us financial backing but it lends credibility in the community and through her support, other donors are inspired to reach a little further and dig a little deeper. Her impact on Furball and FCCO is legendary…..She is an inspiration.

We proudly have her name on the side of our building and I love that she fondly refers to it as Leslie’s Cat House.

It is my humble honor to share that the winner of this Acatemy Award is Leslie B. Durst.


This ACATEMY AWARD goes to the individual who has brought the most cats to FCCO.

This is a person who learned how to trap cats more than 20 years ago and has never looked back. She traps cats for individuals who need assistance and she provides transportation as needed. She has live traps at her home and lends them out to people who have an appointment with FCCO, and she tirelessly teaches each one how to successfully use the traps. On her own she finds barn homes for feral cats who can’t stay where they are. 

She has tamed too many litters of kittens to count. And she has endured all the long hours and heart ache that come with this kind of work, and experienced the joy that comes from knowing a once forgotten feline now has a chance for a better life. Through all this she still never fails to say yes to helping the next cats in need.

In her 20 plus years she has volunteered nearly 6,000 hours and brought to our clinic well over a 1,000 cats. This year alone she transported 100 cats from a single colony in Yamhill.

The cats she helps would not receive care without her assistance and it is staggering to consider the impact this one individual has had.

It is my honor to announce the winner of this ACATEMY AWARD is our very own Wilma Perez-Leon.


Our final award of the evening is a little different from the others. Similar to the Academy Awards, sometimes an individual wins the award. Other times, like Best Picture, the award recognizes everyone’s contribution to the film.

It is the combined efforts of each player that creates the masterpiece. Each job significant… and each one’s involvement varied…. All important.

Tonight we recognize FCCO Volunteers, past and present, for their commitment to improving the lives of cats.

In the room tonight are a very special segment of our volunteer team – the Furball Committee. Many are in the room right now. All who are, please stand. 

The combined years of event planning experience this committee has is stunning. There are multiple members who have worked on more than 16 Furballs! The average is closer to 8. We trust that the energy and enjoyment you experience at Furball stems from their commitment and talents.

A team of more than 20 volunteers are also working the event tonight – please wave or stand. To those working tonight and those not able to be here, we thank you. You volunteer in our clinics, assist in our office, work outreach tables and events, build cat shelters, and the less than glamorous but oh so necessary cleaning of traps….and there are always traps!  We thank you for sharing your time and energy.

I want to also recognize our outstanding Board of Directors. Their dedication and leadership gives our program stability, focus and guidance.

Furball committee member, Lori Boshears, volunteered in our clinics in 1995 and has worked on all 20 Furballs. I invite her up on stage to accept this ACATEMY AWARD on behalf of all FCCO volunteers.

As we celebrate helping more than 90,000 cats, know that it is our volunteer’s dedication that has helped save and improve these lives. We will keep this award on display at our clinic for all to see and enjoy. It is a beautiful reminder we all have a role to play…. and together we tell a story of hope and change.


And the People's Choice Award goes to...


It was a tough competition, but with 33% of the votes the People's Choice Award is awarded to LEROY BROWN.

His story: I’m Leroy and my pals and I were living the life of junkyard cats in a scrap metal recycling facility. A nice woman who works there named Kathy was worried about our safety so she tempted us with food, took us to FCCO for a snip job, then relocated us to a wonderful farm where we have our own digs in the garage and meal delivery. Now we’re happy to be barnyard cats!