My husband Greg’s 2015 death taught me many things – including that none of us is guaranteed another year, month, week, day, or even minute of life. This awareness has led me to rebalance my own life priorities, with a greater focus on what I can do NOW to make a difference in the world.
I established the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund in order to continue supporting the animal advocacy organizations and causes that were most important to Greg and me as a couple – and to which we had donated a total of roughly $40k each year during the last five years of our life together.
I have been financing the Fund, thus far, primarily by selling assets of Greg’s and mine that I no longer need. The next source of financing has been donations from many of you – and I am deeply grateful to everyone who has made monetary contributions to the Fund and/or to organizations I had earlier designated to receive direct donations in Greg’s memory.
I am honored now to share this summary of what you helped me to achieve during 2016 – in memory of Greg, and on behalf of so many animals. Section 1 provides a summary of grants, and section 2 provides a summary of your donations.
I am optimistic that I can continue to operate the Fund at least at its current level – and possibly even at a higher level – in the years immediately ahead.
Section 1: Summary of Grants
I launched the Greg Fund on April 22 (Earth Day) – and from that date through December 31, I made a total of $78,275 in grants to eight organizations. Of this total, I issued $15,550 during Q4 2016, personally matching 2-for-1 the contributions into the Fund that many of you made in response to my matching offer.
Below is information about the eight Greg Fund grantees, in order from largest to smallest grant amount I gave in 2016 – along with information about specific programs the Fund has financed and also helped the recipient organizations to design.
Greg and I were members for more than 15 years, and I of course continue to be an active supporter. Recently, I was a member of the honorary committee for PETA’s January 19 “Animals’ Party“, at which featured speakers included U.S. Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Dan Donovan (R-NY) speaking about animal rights as a bipartisan cause.
This project monitored my horse Charlie while he was still actively racing as Charlie’s Quest, took action to rescue him when it became clear that he was at imminent risk of breaking down on the track, and then provided two months of rehabilitation care prior to my adopting him in September 2016.
Our dog Itchy and horses Henry and Caroline received life-saving care through this Project – in Itchy’s case, for many years – prior to our adopting them. Detailed info about the Project’s recent work here.
During the week when Greg would have celebrated his 53rd birthday, PETA presented its inaugural Gregory J. Reiter Animal Rescue Award. Blog post here.
Greg and I first visited the Northern California farm animal sanctuary and education center Animal Place when we lived in San Francisco in the year 2000, and were inspired thereby to become vegetarian and ultimately vegan.
The Animal Place Food for Thought program initially focused on helping animal shelters to adopt vegan or vegetarian menu policies for their events. I have served with Animal Place in a volunteer capacity since April 2016 – providing a grant from the Greg Fund to set up a new Food for Thought program arm dedicated to wildlife and environmental organizations, strategizing, and assisting with the program’s nationwide outreach effort.
In 2016, as a result of the Greg Fund grant, the Food for Thought program did the following vis-a-vis wildlife and environmental organizations:
- Created an organization database with over 500 entries.
- Conducted outreach to nearly 250 of these organizations.
- Secured endorsements or formal expressions of support from 31 organizations with existing vegan or vegetarian menu policies.
- Successfully guided three new organizations to adopt or formalize vegan menu policies.
Greg and I visited and donated to this Poolesville, MD farm animal sanctuary many times beginning in 2010. What we learned from our sanctuary visits later helped us to prepare for the care of our horses. I have volunteered at the sanctuary on a weekly basis since August 2016, assisting with the care of their 200 rescued animals.
Greg Fund grants, along with direct donations that many of my friends made to Poplar Spring, have helped the sanctuary to provide food, bedding and veterinary care for the animals. Blog post here.
This local organization certified our Middleburg, VA home as a wildlife sanctuary in 2013; I also served with the organization for several years as a volunteer board member and conservation advocacy chair.
I provided two Greg Fund grants to Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy in 2016:
- To provide all-vegan fare for the organization’s 2016 annual member meeting banquet, and thereby help save wildlife in yet another way. Blog post here.
- To help the organization protect “green infrastructure” as Loudoun County works to prepare its next Ten Year Plan. Blog post here.
PCRM has successfully worked with policymakers and industry to adopt alternatives to chemical tests on animals, and to bring plant-based nutrition into medical education and practice. Greg and I began supporting this organization in 2010.
This is a new and innovative 501(c)(3) that provides marketing, design, legal, business, media, and other support to a select number of early-stage companies producing clean and plant-based products.
Greg’s first professional position was in the consumer products group of the investment bank Hambrecht & Quist, which was best known for taking Apple Computer public. With that background, Greg had a lifelong interest in financing for innovative technology – and after he and I became vegetarian and then vegan, we shared a particular interest in innovative cruelty-free food companies. If Greg were alive today, he would surely support the Good Food Institute.
COK exposes cruelty to farmed animals and promotes vegetarian eating. Their research has been highlighted, for example, in the September 8 Bloomberg News article Killing Off American Cows to Keep Milk Prices High. Greg and I began supporting this organization in 2010.
This organization promotes cruelty-free eating. Their main focus is leafleting on college campuses. VO recently expanded to work with communities of color, and to add a department working with restaurants to introduce more vegan options. Greg and I began supporting this organization in 2012.
Section 2: Summary of Donations
From the day I launched the Greg Fund on April 22 through December 31, you contributed a total of $13,648 in donations. Of this total, you contributed $5,193 during Q4 2016 in response to my matching offer, which I personally matched 2-for-1 in grants to the organizations and causes described above.
In addition to your donations to the Greg Fund during 2016, you also contributed a total of at least several thousand dollars to organizations I had earlier designated to receive direct donations in Greg’s memory.
Below is a list of all Greg Fund donors who have authorized me to identify them by name, in alphabetical order:
- Alejandro Aguilar
- Scott Barnum
- Bob Benedict, Northwood Construction Inc.
- Keith Bickel
- Julie Borneman, Watermark Woods
- Hanh Chau, Middleburg Animal Hospital and Family Veterinary Hospital of Stone Ridge
- Judy Cheske
- Shalei Choi
- Nancy Cule
- Jeana Curro
- Maria Di Paolo-Greer
- Ann and Tony Garvey
- Stephanie Gentile
- Matt Giammarinaro
- Laurie Goodman
- Nicole Hamilton
- Stephen Hanchey
- Jason Holstine, Amicus Green Building Center
- Joni and Paul Jablansky
- Rick and Panida Jackson
- Krista Jacobsen
- Marielle Jan de Beur
- Leslie Jay and Larry Seltzer
- Susan R. Johnson
- Jim Jones
- Stephanie Jones
- Nanna Jonsson
- Samuel Kim
- Lisa Kirchenbauer
- Adam and Krisztina Kobor
- Caroline Kuhfahl
- Ilona Lantos
- Cheng Li
- Anish S. Lohokare
- Dan Lynch
- Desmond E. Macauley
- Ryan and Huyen MacMichael
- Brian Maddox
- Mary Martin
- Jessica and Bruce McNair
- Dana Meeker
- Greta N. Morris
- Michael and Jennifer Nardacci
- James E. North
- Diana Ok
- Debbie Pedro
- Sarah Pitman
- Jeanne Roush
- Stephen and Sharon Rowenhorst
- Stephanie Skinner
- Mildred Fletcher “Bucky” Slater
- Sally and Don Snidow
- Sarah and Jeff Steadman
- Yi Ting
- Stephen and Elizabeth Ward
- Charlie Williams
- Lisa Woods
- Gary Zhu