Veterinarian Zeke Zekoff founded United Pet Fund in 2010 when he saw that there was a gap in the level of care that rescues could provide to local animals that needed help compared to what the rescuers actually needed to be able to help them.
Zekoff launched the United Pet Fund (UPF) by establishing it as an organization that offered education to these shelters and rescues before finding that its resources could be best used in other ways.
“It soon became clear that the best use of UPF’s resources, and the real strength of what UPF can offer, goes far beyond education,” he explains. “These individual ‘mom and pop’ rescues simply do not have the time, knowledge, or ability to raise funds and resources that allow them to consistently have the animals they are seeking to rescue and find their ‘furever homes,’” he says.
When it comes to finding these resources and raising funds, that’s where he says United Pet Fund steps in.
“While UPF was first developing its identity, we quickly began to realize that companies were willing and able to donate goods at a greater pace than rescues had the ability to accept them,” he says. “A rescue with a few dozen animals simply didn’t have the resources to accept a tractor trailer full of Eukanuba or Blue Buffalo or other food, even if it was free.”
However, in the five years since its inception in 2012, the United Pet Fund has expanded to fill that gap. It now serve over 85 local and regional members including animal shelters, rescues, and advocacy groups.
“In 2015, we obtained a warehouse facility where we could temporarily store donated goods before we sent them to our members, and in 2016, UPF was able to move through and distribute over 460,000 pounds of dog and cat food, 35,000 rolls of toilet paper, countless litter boxes, discontinued CINTAS towels, dozens of crates, and other odds and ends, all with a retail value of over $1 million,” says Zekoff.
Zekoff adds that as its heart, the United Pet Fund is a “make it happen” organization that uses is resources, business inclinations, connections, and physical space to facilitate donations from corporations, both large and small, to individual animal rescues.
“Ultimately, UPF helps to facilitate the rescue and rehabilitation of unwanted animals, and allows those who do the front-line work to provide more services for more animals, preventing unnecessary euthanasia of animals in shelters by allowing more rescue groups to better provide for more animals than they could alone,” he says.
To date, according to Zekoff, the United Pet Fund has helped nearly 35,000 animals in the Tri-State area.
They took their passion for helping local animals a step further when they hosted their Muttstache Dash on September 17. The event was a 5K run that brought not only pet owners and lovers together, but their animals as well while all the proceeds from the event went to the United Pet Fund.