By BRIAN SMITH
Katie Phillips sees it as her way to give back.
Phillips, founder of the Lucy Fund, remembers growing up without a lot of money and not having any pets. Her dad always taught her and her siblings to give back whenever possible. When her yellow lab Lucy became ill and passed away in July 2011, she said she felt pain and anguish she had never felt before.
“I had a really difficult time with this,” Phillips said while choking up. “After Lucy had gone, I made a couple of donations to my veterinarian and told him to use the money to help a family that he could tell needed it. It was his call as to who he would help. Those two opportunities to help others really began the healing process for me.”
With her background in business, she decided to expand her helping other pets and their families by forming a non-profit corporation.
“I went to my husband, a CPA, and asked how I could get a nonprofit organization started to help people who needed the help,” Pjillips, who moved to Texas from Michigan when she was three months old, said. “That’s how The Lucy Fund was formed.”
Phillips says the 501c3 organization hosts a number of fundraisers as well as completes gift baskets and bags with nuts and salsas to raise monies, every penny which goes toward helping the seriously ill animals.
“If we have a bill to pay, like a phone bill or something, we usually take it out of one of our pockets,” Phillips said. “If it’s fundraising for the Lucy Fund, those monies go directly to paying for those pets and families who need it.”
The Lucy Fund works directly with veterinarians. Phillips says some local veterinarians, like Parker County Animal Hospital in Weatherford, have bought on to what the business wants to accomplish. Still, others have been skeptical.
“They have wondered ‘what’s the catch?’” Phillips said. “We tell them there is no catch. You make the decision on whether thanimal needs the procedure, refer the family to us or contact us, do the procedure and we make the payment.”
Phillips said families are asked to contribute what they can, but if there is no way the family can provide funds, The Lucy Fund will fund the procedure. For veterinarians that aren’t on the list, they can contact Phillips at thelucyfund.org to get on the list.
“We want to make this as easy as possible on the families,” Phillips said. “We want to make sure parents never have to come to their kids and say we can’t afford to help our pet or have to decide between feeding the kids or helping their pet.”
Despite her work with a number of organizations, including Big Brother/Big Sisters, Phillips said she finally realizes what her dad was talking about giving back with the Lucy Fund.
“If this is the last thing I ever do, I’ll be satisfied because I know I’m helping families and I’m helping pets,” Phillips said. “I do want the doctors to be the heroes here. They can’t simply give everything away. That’s why we’re here.”
For more about the Lucy Fund and a list of participating vets, visit thelucyfund.org.