UPF Board Members
Dr. Zeke Zekoff, DVM / Founder and 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.
Julie Budden, CFRE
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.”
Martha L. Clark
After spending nearly fifty years in nursing as a student, an aide, or a Registered Nurse, Martha retired. Before retirement, Martha had been a volunteer with Ohio Alley Cat Rescue and Clinic (OAR). Since Martha enjoyed her work with OAR, she decided to continue and become more involved. Her involvement included taking on a position as the Chair of their annual OAR Garage Sale. In a search for more suitable space for an Indoor Garage Sale, she met Dr. Zekoff.
In working with Dr. Zekoff, Martha noticed Dr. Zekoff’s dedication to animals and UPF’s members. She thought being a UPF volunteer would further expand her involvement in caring for all animals. In Martha’s experience, every organization, in order to remain viable, needs to develop a fund-raising committee. Since she had been involved in fund raising already, it was a natural fit,
Personal: Martha has been married 54 years to her husband, Barry. She holds the following degrees, all in Nursing: Associate Degree and Bachelor’s Degree, Miami University; Master of Science Degree, Wright State University. In addition, she has been awarded countless honors over her many years of nursing that reflects on her dedication to whatever she takes on.
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.
I have worked with animal rescues for a very long time, but as a previous nurse, I have always wanted to also help people. When I came to United Pet Fund as a member 6 years ago, I was amazed at the work they were doing and started to volunteer. At UPF I get the opportunity to help both people and animals and have found the work there very rewarding. I call UPF my happy place and am thrilled to be a part of it.
Personal (Current position): Clinical Operations Manager UC Health－Cincinnati, OH
Responsible for the daily operations of a very busy sleep practice in a university setting. Education and training: 1997 Associate of Applied Science: Nursing, Illinois Valley Community College － Oglesby, IL