Everyone has causes that are important to them. For my wife and I, those causes center around ensuring the welfare of animals, and protecting the environment. Several years ago we created the Matt & Mari Fund at the San Diego Foundation. Through that we have been able to give to a number of causes that we feel do important work and make a true difference on the lives of animals.
I am very proud to say that 100% of all pre-tax proceeds from the sale of my novels will go to one or more of the charitable organizations highlighted below. Yes, that means every dollar that someone spends on one of my books will go to one of these organizations! We have been involved personally with each one and truly believe in the work that they do.
The San Diego Humane Society
Without question, this is one of the most progressive and well run humane societies in the United States, and ultimately the world. I've was proud to sit on the board of trustees for two years. The CEO, Gary Weitzman, is a true visionary when it comes to animal welfare. He's a driving force in pushing the organization and the community to make San Diego a wonderful place for all animals. SDHS is primarily focused on the welfare of domestic pets, but through their partnership with Project Wildlife they also help in the rehabilitation of injured wildlife. They have the largest kitten nursury in the U.S. (it's completely amazing!) and committed to maintaining zero euthenasia of healthy or treatable animals within San Diego county. Before Gary launched the "Getting to Zero" initiative there were 3,500 treatable animals euthanized in San Diego County. As of July 2015 that number is zero. Mari serves as a dog walker and when we're in San Diego she spends anywhere from 2-4 hours a week walking dogs. She really has developed an affinity to pit bulls. It's a great place, filled with caring and compassionate people, and of course some adorable - and highly adoptable animals.
The Humane Society of the United States
It's easy to want to protect dogs and cats, puppies and kittens. They're cuddly and cute. But without question, from a sheer numbers standpoint, the animals that need the most protection are farm animals. In other words, the animals that we eat. My wife and I both eat meat but we try to ensure that we eat animals that treated humanely and live good lives before their lives up and become food for us. I think it's the least we can do for them. The HSUS pursues their goals largely through attempting to influence legislation. For instance, they were instrumental in getting laws passed to increase the size of crates for chickens, getting the U.S., as well as the UK and other European nations to stop buying harp seal furs and byproducts. They are able to do things on a very large scale and make an influence on the quality of life for millions of animals in the U.S. and beyond.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy brings a unique science-based, non-confrontational and solutions-oriented approach to solving environmental challenges, from figuring out how to sustainably manage scarce water resources to reducing the risk and impacts of catastrophic wildfire.
Over decades, TNC has built a track record of delivering win-wins for people and nature, including helping protect some of the most special and iconic landscapes in our state – places that have been especially important for Nevadans looking to the outdoors. For Mari and me, protecting the Sierra Nevada from the impact of catastrophic wildfires is critically important, and we support TNC to ensure that the habitat that makes the Sierra so special is cared for. Beyond the Sierras though, TNC protects environments and wildlife around the world, including the Amazon and Africa.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
An African elephant is killed every 15 minutes.... think about that. It's a terrible statistic. The vast majority of these beautiful animals are slaughtered just for their tusks. They often leave behind orphaned calfs to fend for themselves in a hostile environment. Without help, these young, innocent calfs are unlikely to survive. That's where the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust comes in. Based in Nairobi, this wonderful organizations saves these beautiful, playful calfs and raises them in their facility. Provides them nutritious food that their mother's would have given them. It's amazing to watch these calfs play with the workers and volunteers. They look like they are always smiling! It's hard not to smile while you watch them. Mari and I have personally visited their organization, seen the wonderful work they do, and have great respect for the dedicated workers who help raise and these wonderful animals. They also reintroduce young adult elephants into the wild and hook them up with a herd, hopefully the herd they originally came from. It's a wonderful organization, and we're proud to support it!