I established the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund through ImpactAssets on Earth Day, April 22, 2016.
To seed this fund, I chose to invest all proceeds from selling off the last four collector cars Greg had owned – including the vehicle that somehow, inexplicably, ended his life.
Greg also owned as many bicycles as he owned cars. Most of these I chose to give away to special people in his life. But there was one remaining, that was a bit too serious for our friends – and so I brought it to Greg’s favorite bike shop, Bikes@Vienna, to sell for me. The shop normally sells bikes on 25% commission – but when the bike sold within 24 hours of listing (perhaps it was the coconut based cup holder Greg had installed on the handlebars that gave it such special appeal!), Bikes@Vienna sent me a check for the full asking price, with the note: “Please apply our ‘share’ to Greg’s fund. He will be missed and always remembered here.”
Our horses Henry and Caroline made their own contribution, as well: In June, I began offering their manure for ‘sale’ as garden compost – but actually, instead of direct payment, I asked that any takers make an optional donation to this fund. And when I got my first customer, that is exactly what she did!
In the lead-up to Greg’s June 6 birthday – he would have turned 53 this year – I reached out to everyone in our personal and professional networks to request contributions to this fund. I am proud to report that as of June 30, 2016, a total of $7,590 has been contributed by our friends, colleagues, and other associates.
Along with the donations came such touching notes! Like this, from a former boss of Greg’s:
“Greg was so unique and exceptional, it makes his absence that much harder to deal with. This fund and the work of the fund are a fantastic means to continue some of the great work the two of you started together.”
I am targeting resources from this fund on three animal advocacy areas to which Greg dedicated the most money and energy in life: rescue, veganism, and wildlife conservation. To date, grants out of the Greg Fund have been made to:
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Cruelty Investigations Department, from which we adopted our horses Henry and Caroline and our dog Itchy – and which presented the inaugural Gregory J Reiter Award on June 11, 2016.
Animal Place – which inspired us to become vegetarian and later vegan after a year 2000 visit to their Northern California sanctuary and education center. The grant is specifically to help their Food for Thought program expand to encompass wildlife and environmental organizations.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, which certified our Middleburg, Virginia home as a wildlife sanctuary. The first grant was specifically to provide all-vegan fare for the organization’s annual member meeting banquet, and thereby help save wildlife in yet another way.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to maintaining Greg’s legacy in these ways!
~ Alysoun Mahoney