Heidi Marston, a tenured executive with plentiful experience directing large, complex teams in the public sector, has been named Director of Pet Placement Initiatives at PetSmart Charities. Each year, some five million pets find their way into shelters, and PetSmart Charities helps connect hundreds of thousands to new homes. The organization recently celebrated the 10 millionth pet adoption since 1994.
In her new role Marston will oversee strategies to build stronger communities by connecting pets to loving homes with a focus on equity and inclusion, opening more access to adoptable pets for all. This includes driving the national adoption strategy through relationships with more than 2,500 animal welfare organizations and supporting adoption events in and with PetSmart stores across North America.
More than 88% of people recognize their pets as important members of the family. Delivering increased access to adoptable pets can help the people they love experience an enhanced quality of life. “Heidi brings both passion and expertise,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “Her knowledge of systemic inequities that create a lack of adoptable pets in some communities promises to improve the supply. Enhancing ways to promote and enhance the human-animal bond is key to fulfilling our mission to make life better for both ends of the leash.”
Most recently, Marston led the response to the homelessness crisis for the City and County of Los Angeles as Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the country’s largest homeless response system. Previously she served in the federal government for more than a decade, where her varied roles included Special Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Director of Community Engagement and Reintegration at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System.
Marston will navigate the relationships with PetSmart Charities’ more than 2,500 animal welfare organizations across North America. She will develop strategies and oversee the management of programs which currently include in-store adoptions at PetSmart retail locations as well as Adoption Prep and Transport Grants. As a member of the PetSmart Charities leadership team, she will provide strategic direction to and management of the Pet Placement team in the United States and Canada. The impact of the programs she leads promises a broad reach.
“My professional journey has consistently illuminated the ways that systems have failed our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Marston. “Working with and alongside people experiencing homelessness crystalized the importance of the human-animal bond. Regardless of our socio-economic situations and background, we know that our pets become a part of our family – no one should have to choose between their animal companion and shelter or food. Joining the Charities team is the perfect moment to translate all that I’ve learned and experienced in a new space,” Marston shared.
PetSmart Charities® is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all who love them. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps nearly 600,000 pets connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all pets and their families. PetSmart Charities grants and efforts connect pets with loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care and support families in times of crises with access to food, shelter and disaster response. Each year, millions of generous supporters help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities directly at PetSmartCharities.org, while shopping at PetSmart.com, and by using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting more than $500 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for the past 17 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of rated charities. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
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