Our Board Members
Dr. Zeke Zekoff
Founder + President
Dr. Zekoff founded UPF in 2010 to help fill the need that he saw while running his veterinary practice. Throughout his 40 years of practice, he has worked with a great number of both smaller and larger animal rescues and shelters. Many of those he worked with shared a tireless energy to help animals in need, but they lacked the structure and resources to make their organization flourish.
Having seen this need not being met by larger regional and national organizations, he decided to form UPF to meet these needs. Structured along the lines of other non-profits that use corporate product philanthropy to help those in need, UPF stepped into the gap to meet the needs in the ‘animals in need community’. Dr. Zekoff works tirelessly to promote UPF. He is the primary contact person for every donor organization, and for our shelter and rescue members.
R. Michael Phebus
Michael has a wide range of experience in the legal and financial world. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University, he went on to get a Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law. After various stints with law firms in Columbia, KY, Lexington, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, Michael then taught in the Department of Paralegal Studies, School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. Entering the finance world in 2013, he became a Financial Planner for Prudential Financial. His current position is as a Financial Advisor at Edward Jones Investment. Michael saw United Pet Fund as an avenue to use his expertise to help animals.
Julie Budden, CRFE
Julie is Divisional Director of Development for the Southwest Ohio/Northeast Kentucky Division of The Salvation Army. She is also a Certified Fund Raising Executive since 2012 and has been connecting donors with their dreams since 1996. "When I first learned United Pet Fund's mission, I felt called to become involved. So many animals are in the lesser-known rescues and shelters waiting desperately to find loving homes all over the Tri-State. United Pet Fund is unique because it is a true non-profit, volunteer-driven and community-focused movement dedicated to help those who don't have a loud enough voice receive help and recognition in their never ending work to care for animals in need. Dr. Z's vision of United Pet Fund spoke to my heart as a pet owner and as a lover of animals--its presence is necessary and important--especially to the animals who ultimately benefit from its purpose.”
Tracy is a Clinical Operations Manager for UC Health. She is responsible for the daily operations of a sleep practice in a University setting. She has worked with animal rescues for a long time, but as a previous nurse, has always wanted to also help people. When she came to United Pet Fund as a UPF Member 6 years ago, she was amazed at the work UPF was doing and began to volunteer. Each and every day she has the opportunity to help both people and animals and has found the work very rewarding. “I call UPF my happy place and am thrilled to be part of it.”