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Wells Fargo, Morris Animal Foundation: Partner for pets

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Seeking to improve the lives of animals, the Wells Fargo Health Advantage program recently joined forces with the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF). The financial giant and the nonprofit animal research leader have formed a partnership that not only helps Well Fargo’s clients better afford their pets’ medical care, but also puts a share of the company’s profits toward forwarding the Foundation’s causes: to fund research that helps protect, treat and cure animals.

From Wells Fargo’s perspective

The Wells Fargo Health Advantage credit card program works similarly to a Gap or Macy’s card: participating veterinary practices offer it to patients looking to amortize the cost of their animal’s care over time. The no-interest and low-interest option payment plans allow clients to pay their pet’s bills over time without incurring large fees.

While most banks are getting out of patient financing considering the current economy, Wells Fargo’s Product Manager of Health, Gary Brown, says that Wells Fargo decided to go into the industry completely and brand a national program. “The relationship with Morris Animal Foundation was solely [created] because Wells Fargo is a community bank and wants to be part of the industry by contributing back to worthy causes.”

From the MAF's perspective

The relationship is unique for MAF as well. Paul Raybound, the Foundation’s vice president of gifts and business development, notes that, “Typically a corporate donor will come in with a large gift to support a specific program, but with Wells Fargo, we have an ongoing relationship, receiving a percentage of revenue from their consumer card program each year.” The good news is that it will also help create cross-promotional opportunities. “We can help introduce the Wells Fargo program to the 6,000 veterinarians that currently are donors to our programs, and Wells Fargo can help MAF promote our programs to vets that do not donate to them, so the marketing part of this relationship is huge.”

The MAF: From then to now

MAF Foundation grew from the revolutionary canine nutrition research of veterinarian Mark L. Morris Sr. in 1948, to the world’s largest nonprofit funding research that helps protect, treat and cure animals. In the 1940s, when commercial dog food sickened and killed many pets, Morris set about creating a nutritious diet that would not only sustain, but improve canine life. After Morris’s practices saved the life of a dog belonging to a blind activist, the vet’s treatment became widely sought after – leading him to partner with packing company owner Burton Hill. The pair teamed up to produce Morris’s innovative food, a partnership still visible today through the line of Prescription Diet pet foods manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

It was Morris who led the effort for passage of federal legislation requiring all pet food sold in the United States to be safe and have nutritional value. His legacy, the MAF, funds research for the benefit of all kinds of animals. The Wells Fargo Health Advantage credit card supports the MAF’s mission because it provides veterinarians with another tool for providing care that helps pet parents keep their animals healthy. With this being the joint goal of Wells Fargo and the MAF, the funds from this partnership will undoubtedly lead to the continued research and wellness of the world’s pets.

Credit: Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, V.M.D.
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