Press release: Pet Care Trust
The Pet Care Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes the public understanding of the joys and benefits of pets through education, support, and interaction, is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Lasky of Schiaffino, Lasky & Associates, Inc. as newly elected president and Scott Rabe of Central Aquatics as vice-president. Chris Clevers of Hikari Sales USA, Inc. has been re-elected as secretary-treasurer. Lasky succeeds Rand Kollman of Koller Enterprises, who has served as president for the past two years. Kollman will remain on the board as a director.
Lasky expressed his appreciation upon his appointment by saying, “It is a privilege and honor to have been elected President of the Pet Care Trust. The Pets in the Classroom program has been a passion of mine since joining the WPA [World Pet Association] Board 14 years ago, and why I was so thrilled to join the Pet Care Trust Board 5 years ago.”
Lasky’s experience on the board and knowledge of the program will be an asset to continuing the work of the Pet Care Trust. Lasky commented, “Last year the Pet Care Trust, through its Pets in the Classroom program, provided over 24,000 grants to teachers for classroom pets. We have already issued over 15,400 grants this current school year and are on pace to exceed 30,000 grants and have a positive impact on over 1,000,000 children. To date, this has all been accomplished through the generous support of WPA, PIDA & APPA along with our tremendous manufacturer and retail partners. While these numbers are great, we have only scratched the surface, as there are over 3 million kindergarten through 9th-grade teachers who are qualified to receive Pet Care Trust grants, and we need more industry and outside industry support so that we are able to meet the needs and requests of all teachers.”
Additional changes in leadership include the exit of Steve King as executive director. King, who is president of King Management Group and has been managing the Program since 2011, will be stepping down at the end of the year to take on the position of president and CEO of the America Pet Products Association. Jackie King, executive vice president of King Management group will be the new executive director of the Trust.
Outgoing president, Rand Kollman, said, “We cannot thank Steve enough for the dedication, passion, enthusiasm and motivation he has given Pet Care Trust over the past 8 years. He will be greatly missed by the staff, retail partners, and board members alike. These are exciting changes, and I’m sure Steve will meet the challenges in his new position with his usual optimism and unmatched expertise. The board looks forward to following the success of Steve’s career and are excited for the next chapter of Pets in the Classroom as we continue to support our community of teachers as they introduce students to the benefits of pets.”
Jackie King’s familiarity with the program and experience in association management will allow for a smooth transition in leadership. She commented, “I look forward to working with the Pet Care Trust as its executive director and the opportunity to continue the Trust’s work through the Pets in the Classroom grant program, which provides thousands of children with an opportunity to interact with pets—an experience that can help to shape their lives for years to come.”
Pets in the Classroom is an educational grant program that provides financial support to pre-kindergarten through 9th-grade teachers for the purchase and care of small classroom pets. Established in 2011 by the Pet Care Trust, the program’s mission is to provide school-aged children throughout the U.S. and Canada with the opportunity to interact with pets. Studies have linked classroom pets to a wide variety of educational, emotional, and developmental benefits for students, including improved school attendance, higher self-esteem, stronger empathy and nurturing instincts, and a heightened sense of responsibility. More than 120,000 grants have been awarded since the program’s inception, meaning millions of children have experienced these benefits thanks to the Pets in the Classroom grant program.