To donate to Allison, click here!!

Allison Black Cornelius is President and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. She is credited with being instrumental in GBHS winning the contract to take over Animal Care and Control for Jefferson County and the agreements with Alabama Shelter Veterinarians and the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Allison met adversity early on.  When she was only seven years old, she was raped and molested by her Sunday school teacher.  Too small to do anything about it then, she tried her best to forget it.  For years.  She pushed past her trauma into adulthood, developing extraordinary compassion and actively volunteering in Birmingham’s nonprofit community. Twenty years later came Allison’s day of reckoning.  She faced her attacker and told the world what he had done.  Shockingly, more than 50 additional victims of this man came forward.  In a landmark case that drew widespread attention from the national media, Allison put her rapist behind bars and became one of the nation’s strongest advocates for victims’ and community rights.  She spearheaded the passage of Megan’s Law, creating the country’s first Sex Offender Registry.

As CEO of the humane society,  Allison spends the majority of her time serving a staff of more than 80 and the 21,000 animals the organization takes in each year. As plans come together to build a new $30M animal care and control center in downtown Birmingham, she still finds time to speak to national audiences of nonprofit organizations, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies on "how to keep on swimming”.  She advanced her studies at Harvard, and her speaking engagements have taken her to the Kennedy Center, professional sports teams, celebrity foundations, and the White House.

Champion and inspiration of many, Allison has carried the Olympic Torch, trained more than 700 nonprofit boards and raised more than $30 million for charity through her public presentations.  She is guide to thriving nonprofits and rescuer to the struggling, and reminds us by her staggeringly honest example that forgiveness isn’t meant to be convenient – it’s meant to be unconditional.  And it’s key to helping improve the human condition which is the real reason we’re here taking a momentary spin on this planet.

Why have you decided to serve as an inaugural Torchbearer for the JLB?
As CEO of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society I am aware that animal abuse and violence are inextricably linked. I have worked with several Family Justice Centers throughout the U.S. and can speak to their ability to reduce domestic violence and sexual assault in a community. When I was asked to be a part of this effort to build the first Family Justice Center in Birmingham, I could not refuse. I am a survivor of sexual violence and will always be indebted to the people of Birmingham and to the members of the Junior League… all of whom stood by my side and helped me overcome this tragic event. I will never be able to repay the many kindnesses I received but I can pay it forward. The league is an amazing group of women and I am honored they thought I could help.

What/who inspires you to be a Light in our community?
Christ first but on this earth - I would have to say Chris Hodges at Church of the Highlands. I have lived and served here all my life and thought I had seen and heard it all. Pastor Hodges and the Church of the Highlands congregants have accomplished things in our community that had been tried many times. He is living proof that anyone, at anytime, from anywhere can come into a brand new place and do amazing things that have a positive impact on people who are hurting. He (and the dude he represents) inspires me every day.

To donate to Allison click here!!