Marge Lundquist, Tama Lundquist, Tena Lundquist Faust
Animal nonprofits in Houston work daily rescuing, fostering, spaying, neutering, and adopting tens of thousands of the city’s animals to prevent them from being euthanized. These are dedicated groups of citizens concerned with the welfare of all animals.
Houston PetSet (HPS) is a 501 © (3) umbrella organization devoted to making a difference in the lives of animals by providing grants to animal welfare-related nonprofits in the Greater Houston area. As well as providing critical funds to the organizations that work in the trenches, HPS works with strategic partners with the goal of ending animal homelessness and alleviating animal suffering. It is HPS’s belief that the animal homelessness crisis in the community is a problem that can be solved.
There are a number of ways the organization achieves its goals. One is byraising funds and awareness through special events, including the Annual Fierce & Fabulous Soirée, which is held each September. Last year, because of Hurricane Harvey, the group made thedifficult decision to cancel the event and concentrate on the welfare of the animals that had been affected by the disaster. During that terrible time, the organization was uplifted by the donations
it received locally and from around the world.
Through strategic investments in local efforts, HPS empowers animal welfare and rescue organizations to alleviate the suffering of homeless and at-risk animals and to seek long-term solutions to animal overpopulation, neglect, and cruelty. Because of its diligence, HPS has bestowed over $2.5 million directly on dozens of charitable organizations. This important funding is granted to registered 501 © (3) nonprofits to promote a long-term solution, alleviate immediate suffering, and provide one-time transformation grants.
Recently, CKW LUXE was honored to speak with Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist, co-presidents of HPS, about the organization’s beginnings, accomplishments, and plans for the future.
CKW LUXE: HPS does remarkable work. Please tell our readers what motivated you to begin this organization.
Tena Lundquist Faust and Tama Lundquist: Tena and I actually did not start this organization but thought the model allowed for those who could not work on the front lines of rescue to contribute to the efforts of those working in the trenches.
We know that rescuing homeless animals in Houston doesn’t leave time for fundraising. When faced with the choice of saving a dog or kitty who is in desperate need, and fundraising, it often comes down to the immediate need of pulling a dog or kitty from the streets and getting them the necessary care. This is where HPS fits in and can support these efforts.
CKW: Without your organization, what would the outlook be for the nonprofits you assist and the animals they care so much about?
TLF and TL: When we look at the grant applications from our rescue partners over the years, we know that the largest portion of funding goes to veterinary costs for sick and injured animals. Without the support of our donors, so many of these animals would not get the care they need. We also know thousands of pets would still be in the Houston rescue “system” because they would not have been transported to other states and placed in forever loving homes. HPS has been working on a solution to solve animal homelessness. We hope that looking at a strategic solution and creating a collaboration between the private and public sectors gives the thousands of rescuers hope that they will see real improvements soon in the landscape of animal welfare.
Tena Lundquist Faust and puppy
Just one of many rescued cats
CKW: It would be interesting for ourreaders to know which of your manyaccomplishments with HPS you aremost proud of.
TLF and TL: Although we are veryproud of having granted more than$2.5 million in critical funding, I thinkwe are most proud of the awarenesswe have raised around the homelessanimal crisis in Houston. We are alsoproud of (and very grateful for) thepartnerships we have in Houston.From educational programs withCrime Stoppers and their Safe Schoolsprogram to being a founding memberof the Harris County Animal CrueltyTaskforce, we have built relationshipsto strengthen our impact in the community.When looking at other successfulmodels in the United States, welearned collaboration was key in thelevel of impact. We are also glad thatwe were able to grant almost $300,000to animal welfare organizations afterHurricane Harvey.
CKW: As you look toward the future,can you tell us some of the things youhave planned and some of the outcomesyou would like to see for theorganization?
TLF and TL: We have six pillars ofimpact that we’ve identified in our strategicplan. We will continue to work inall six areas with specific focus on spay,neuter, and transport for 2019. Whenwe look at our research, we know thatwe must continue to move homelessanimals to other parts of the countrywhile providing low-cost spaying andneutering to reduce the number of unplannedanimals in our city.The number of animals euthanizedeach year in the greater Houston areais a burgeoning financial, environmental,and social strain on the city. HPS cares about this issue and works tosupport everyone on the front linewho attempts to avoid this fate forthese helpless creatures. The organizationbelieves that through its fundraisingefforts, partnerships, and workwith other animal nonprofits the problemwill eventually be solved and thesuffering will end.