Remembering Sherry Chappell Cooper’s Animal Welfare Legacy

Sherry Chappell Cooper is remembered for many things, and not least among those is compassion and adoration for animals. Whether it was dogs and cats in need of new homes, elephants in need of sanctuaries or big cats that need habitat protection – she wanted to help.

Sherry was born and raised in Orlando and an active member of the community. As a member of many local groups including the Junior League, the Rosalind Club and the Council of 101 at the Orlando Museum of Art — it was her love of animals that drove her legacy. She spent time in Africa on safaris to experience the exhilarating and humbling feeling of being around the beautiful wild animals. She had a special fondness for zebras, elephants and most of all cheetahs. For a period, Sherry also got actively involved in supporting elephant sanctuaries in the United States that provide a comfortable safe haven for these magnificent animals. Closer to home, Sherry was an ardent supporter of dogs and cats in need.

In addition to her compassion and caring, Sherry also had a sharp wit. Throughout her life she owned many King Charles Spaniels, which are known for their friendly and affectionate manner. One of her Spaniels she decided to name Oliver, a nod to Oliver Cromwell who played a leading role in bring King Charles I of England to trial and helping to transform England into a republican commonwealth. This story often brings a chuckle to those who hear it.

Sherry Chappell Cooper’s portrait with her beloved King Charles Spaniels.

Before she passed away in 2018, Sherry set up a foundation with the purpose of funding animal welfare programs. One thing that was very important to her was supporting local organizations in her community. Her widow Fenimore wanted to honor that sentiment and made a call to Pet Alliance. After spending time with staff to determine the best way to support the organization, Mr. Cooper decided the foundation would make a general gift. Understanding that sometimes the hardest thing to raise money for at a nonprofit organization is the day to day operations, Fenimore and his family decided to make a gift of $200,000 from the foundation to support general operations. 

This remarkable gift helped make this year the most successful fundraising year in Pet Alliance’s history. Through Sherry’s generosity, the foundation is helping support the more than 7,000 dogs and cats that will enter our shelters this year. We are honored to be a part of Sherry’s legacy.