One for All
The World Pet Association’s Good Works program is designed to benefit the entire pet industry.
I don’t have to tell you the pet industry is distinct and, in many ways, extraordinary. The passion and enthusiasm pet retailers display—by virtue of what we do each and every day—is infectious. Part of that is an overwhelming desire to do good; to help pets and their owners, give back to our communities and contribute positively to the overall industry.
About 10 years ago, the World Pet Association (WPA) established its Good Works program. Not many people know this, but the proceeds from all WPA events—SuperZoo, Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference, Aquatic Experience and America’s Family Pet Expo—are donated right back into the industry through this program. In the decade since the program started, we’ve donated more than $3 million to a variety of organizations. And we’re not done giving—not by a long shot.
Our focus on animal safety and well-being is at the center of everything we do as an organization. To support all aspects of the pet industry—from pets to owners to retailers—proceeds from all our events are donated to key organizations and non-profits, including: Pets in the Classroom, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI), Coral Restoration Foundation, National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Pet Leadership Council and Project PIABA.
These organizations support the pet industry, the people who work in the pet industry and the pets (and owners) that are at the center of everything pet professionals do. The resources provided make a real impact—both in our communities and for pet retailers.
• Pets in the Classroom helps teachers obtain classroom pets to enhance learning and build self-esteem for nearly two million children.
• HABRI provides scientific research that shows the benefits of pet ownership on human health.
• The Coral Restoration Foundation supports offshore nurseries and reef restoration programs for threatened coral species and empowers coastal communities to follow suit.
• NAIA funds initiatives focused on animal welfare, strengthening the bond between humans and animals and promoting responsible animal care.
• PIJAC supports animal care, environmental stewardship and pet advocacy. The organization also pioneers education programs for pet owners, the pet industry and government entities.
• The Pet Leadership Council’s leadership initiatives promote responsible pet ownership and pet owners’ rights. More than 20 company leaders from all segments of the industry focus on fostering research, development and training and promoting a better understanding of the pet industry.
• Project PIABA’s programs promote the environmental and social sustainability of the Amazonian aquarium fish trade.
In June, to further foster community engagement at a grass roots level, WPA launched a “Show Us Your Good Works” photo contest on social media. Pet retail or service operations posted photos or videos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram that showed their business doing charitable, give-back or cause-oriented “good works” in their community using #WPAGoodWorks. A winner will be announced at SuperZoo during the networking reception on August 2. The business that submits the top entry will win $1,000 donated in its name to a charity supported by WPA.
The participation of our attendees and exhibitors each year at SuperZoo and other WPA events helps keep the pet industry healthy and active. Most importantly, it gives all of us in the pet industry additional opportunities to share our love of pets and our passion for giving back.
Doug Poindexter is president of the World Pet Association.