The Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund helps rescue individual animals, while also supporting programs that fundamentally change the way we humans interact with all animals. The COVID pandemic has highlighted why this change is a matter of survival for us all.
I am honored to share this summary of what the Fund achieved in 2020 – in memory of Greg, for animal well-being, and for people too.
In calendar year 2020, the Fund issued a total of $73,350 in grants to the following non-profit organizations, while also partnering with some on program development:
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
- White Coat Waste Project (WCW)
- Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary
- Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
- Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary
- HOWS Project (Houses of Wood & Straw)
Below are details about the Greg Fund’s 2020 grants to these organizations, followed by a shout-out to the many generous individuals who donated into the Fund during the calendar year.
1 – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — Animal rights organization — Norfolk, VA and worldwide
a – The Fund was a major supporter of PETA’s Campaign to Protect Racehorses for the 5th consecutive year. 2020 achievements included:
- On December 27, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was signed into federal law with an omnibus government funding package. PETA‘s 2013 investigation resulting in our joint rescue of Charlie’s Quest, and its campaign to end racehorse drugging which this Fund has long supported, helped propel this outcome. (See Washington Post editorial board: Horse racing has outlived its time.)
- In July, a harness-racing bettor received $20,000 in a precedent-setting PETA-backed lawsuit, for loss of winnings when a doped horse won a 2016 New Jersey race. The lawsuit put trainers and owners on notice of the price to pay for drugging horses.
b – The Fund was a major supporter of PETA’s Community Animal Project for the 5th consecutive year. 2020 achievements included:
- On July 1, a new Virginia anti-tethering law went into effect, mandating shelter for outdoor animals in temperatures under 33°F or over 84°F, or during severe weather warnings; and increasing the minimum tether length from ten to 15 feet. This law was passed after years of work by PETA’s Community Animal Project, which this Fund has long supported — and is now being used as a model for other states.
- In September, the documentary Breaking the Chain premiered. Executive-produced by award-winning actress Anjelica Huston, the film highlights the work of PETA’s Community Animal Project in impoverished Virginia and North Carolina communities.
c – In June, I presented PETA’s 5th Annual Gregory J. Reiter Animal Rescue Award to Julia Novak, for 10 years of volunteer work that included fostering rescued animals with special needs (including Itchy, who Greg and I later adopted); helping PETA’s Community Animal Project in the field; and coordinating vigils for factory-farmed pigs at a Smithfield slaughterhouse.
2 – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) — Health organization saving lives through plant-based diets and ethical research — Washington, D.C.
PCRM and the Exam Room have tackled COVID risk factors — and associated social inequities — with daily news and tips on healthy plant-based eating. They have confronted the source of COVID by backing legislation to close live animal markets, fought the disease spread by calling for protection of hard-hit slaughterhouse workers, and promoted new vaccines and treatments through human-relevant replacements for outdated animal tests.
In October, I gave the interview “What Will Your Legacy Be?” for the program, sharing my story of life with Greg, his legacy, and why everyone should start planning a legacy today.
3 – White Coat Waste Project (WCW) — Watchdog group working to stop taxpayer-funded animal experiments – Washington, D.C.
In June, White Coat Waste launched its Cut FDA Red Tape campaign to end an outdated U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandate that forces drug makers to conduct fatal experiments on thousands of dogs and other animals every year. This campaign builds on WCW’s earlier success in ending an FDA nicotine experiment on monkeys — including one named Gregory — and releasing the survivors to sanctuary. This Fund contributed to White Coat Waste in 2020 for the 4th consecutive year.
4 – Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary — Refuge for farm animals and wildlife — Poolesville, MD
Poplar Spring held its annual 5k fundraiser in May, going virtual for the first time. The Fund contributed for the 5th consecutive year, helping to care for more than 200 rescued cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, and other resident animals.
5 – Woodstock Farm Sanctuary — Sanctuary for farmed animals and advocate for veganism and animal rights — High Falls, NY
Woodstock launched its Dairy Truth campaign in June, introducing a rescued dairy cow named Jo at Meetjo.org. Jo has inspired thousands to take the dairy-free pledge — better for cows, the environment, and human health too! The Greg Fund contributed to Woodstock in 2020 for the 3rd consecutive year.
6 – Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary — Refuge for retired lab monkeys and ex-pets, and advocate for captive primates — Gainesville, FL
In February, Jungle Friends opened its “almost wild” habitat for 26 squirrel monkeys – including one named Gregory. The monkeys had been released from a US FDA nicotine study, through the work of a White Coat Waste Project coalition that included the Greg Fund.
7 – HOWS Project (Houses of Wood & Straw) – Advocate for outside dogs – Charlottesville, VA
In May, HOWS became its own 501c3, after helping thousands of dogs and other animals for twelve years. The Fund contributed to help HOWS with field work providing dog houses and supplies, and with advocacy to educate the public about outside dogs’ plight.
While the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund has been financed since 2016 primarily through the assets Greg left behind, it has also expanded its reach through donations from people like you! In 2020, the following generously contributed:
1) Direct contributions to the Greg Fund: Scott Anderson, Jeana Curro / Benevity Community Impact Fund, John Elliott, Nancy Ertel, Shannon Gilmore, Rob Haworth, Anita Herrera, Nancy Hughitt, Joni Jablansky, Stephanie Jones, Keith Kemplin & Julie Mahoney, Malita Kim-Schultz, Adam Kobor, Ilona Lantos in memory of Chris Lantos, Caryn Laurion, Joshua Levine, Middleburg Animal Hospital, Kelly Molino in memory of Isabella Auer, Greta Morris in memory of Lois Herrmann, Michael Nardacci, David Red, Jesse Singh, Sally Snidow, and Kim Sturla.
2) Contributions to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine fundraisers which the Greg Fund matched: Monique Bilezikian, Alka Chandna, David Cherry, Graca DaCruz, Simone G de Lima, Jacob Eliosoff, Nancy Ertel, Heidi Feller, Mary Sue Fields, Julie Germany, Chuck Gordon, Rob Haworth, Nathan Herschler, Nancy K Hughitt, Stephanie Jones, Steven Kehrli, Christine Kestner, Kirsten Krivoshia, Debbie Kula, Ilona Lantos in memory of Chris Lantos, Rachel McCrystal, Katie McHenry, Iman Moussa, Jim North, Julia Novak, Diana Tyrrasch Ok, Emily Perryman, Sarah Shepard, Linda Deviney Sieh, Jenny Teed, Yi Ting, Daisy Warin, and Betsy Leonard Wason.
3) Contributions to a Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary fundraiser which the Greg Fund matched: Helena Antonowitsch, Anthony Bellotti, Noelle Callahan, Alka Chandna, David Cherry, Nancy Ertel, Rob Haworth, Stephanie Jones, Christine Kestner, and Malita Kim-Schultz.