Long Beach resident creates platform to coordinate the efforts of animal advocates, activists and lovers

Anyone who cares about animals gets upset by the ads, news articles and social-media posts describing mistreated and neglected animals. Animal advocate/activist Teri Gray has become upset to the point of sounding a clarion call to those who want help or need it through LUFA World. The emerging website serves as an appeal to every rescue, shelter, sanctuary, TNR volunteer, legislator and animal lover to join a meet, greet and united-action network for animal welfare.

“When it comes to animals, I’ve always had a real passion for their well-being,” Gray said. “I can’t stand that they have no voice. And I see how many people love them. I wanted to start a platform and elevate the conversation in a way that could be heard. If we have a place for all of us—volunteers, contributors, activists, we can get more done.”

Lufa’s core value, as stated on the website, is “to turn the many individual voices and actions of animal lovers, advocates, and organizations into a powerful unified voice to make real change in the world of animal well-being.” Like many successful entrepreneurs, Gray works toward making a go of her formidable project through her particular talents and skills. She’s an old paw at matching up job candidates and employers, having cofounded a staffing agency, PeopleSolutions Healthcare Staffing, Inc., in 2010. If it’s raining cats and dogs and every other bird and beast, it makes sense to have a functioning umbrella, and that’s how Gray envisions LUFA World.

“I see the power of information, and its potential to help is great,” she said. “If we really knew how much great stuff is going on around animals, I think it would be inspirational to the public. Wouldn’t it help if we can find it in one place?”

LUFA World is free to join, and members immediately become part of an active process to get things done for animals. Nonprofits, rescues, volunteers and other active animal advocates can register themselves or their organization. Multiple resources for activism and funding are developing a presence on the website, and a social page for members invites interests and interest groups, events, vents, experience with pets and wild animals, and safety and health tips.

LUFA World focuses mainly on efforts in Gray’s hometown of Long Beach and includes Los Angeles, too, but its reach is extending nationally and hopefully globally. General goals include developing an accessible social-media platform that creates awareness by uniting rescues, legislators and other animal advocates; building a national advocacy group for animal-welfare legislation; and attracting donors to provide financial support for animal services. Members can access a foster-care directory, particularly for senior citizens for whom “forever” might not be a long time but would welcome a series of short-term furry companions; a registry of veterinarians for rescues wanting to reach areas of need; means of involvement in pet-welfare legislation; an interactive nonprofit directory; and monthly profiles of selected rescues, shelters and sanctuaries. A section for children is planned as well.

light-haired woman with black-frame glasses and wearing a periwinkle shirt covers a humane small animal trap with a towel. She's kneeling in an area of dirt and grass.

One LUFA project that’s particularly dear to Gray’s heart is the TNR Coalition of Greater Los Angeles County. Gray has trapped, fixed, vaccinated, and released or adopted 80 cats in her neighborhood so far, and she wants to establish a collective of other volunteers who do the same. Photo courtesy of Teri Gray.

 

To help with the competitive battling that rescues go through for funding, Gray hopes to generate a single pot for profits and funds for ladling out money for any shelter or rescue with an identified need.

“I can’t give out grants because I’m a corporation, but we have a nonprofit portal, and I have run nonprofits,” Gray said.

Gray admits that getting all the ducks into the lake and swimming has had its challenges. Her biggest challenge is driving members to the platform. She’s reached out to several nonprofits and the response has been slow, but she feels that over time, there will be a big enough base to start monetizing the organization. Gray wants to create revenue through webinar fees, merchandise and events. Investors, she said, are out of the question.

“I won’t give any human a nickel of profit,” she said. “It’s all going to animal welfare.”

LUFA World sounds like a huge bite to chew, but Gray has the appetite of a tiger. Her supporters agree.

“Teri has been a great asset in helping with the TNR effort, and she’s an advocate for other rescues and individuals to get funding and needed resources for us to continue solving the overpopulation problem,” said Zazzy Cats cofounder Roni Naccarato. “It’s been an amazing experience working with Teri. The LUFA program will hopefully gain serious momentum to further help the plight of homeless animals.”

“I have massive ideas that are doable, and in my heart, I want to accomplish all by next week!” Gray said. “It’s hard to go so slow!”

two cows rub heads on a grassy area. Text reads "Linked Up for Animals" has a new social-media platform dedicated to all things animals. Join Today! A little graphic of an orange hand linked with a green paw is beside it.

Graphic courtesy of LUFA World.

 

LUFA World’s Fundrazr page will be accessible here for a short period. Donations are also accepted on their website.

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”
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