Meet the animal lover behind the company that's impacting so many lives in so many ways around the globe.
Jeffrey Wolfe co-founded CrowdRise—the world's largest fundraising community—along with Robert Wolfe, Shauna Robertson, and Edward Norton (yes, the actor). CrowdRise proved to be so good at helping people raise money for awesome causes that Mashable and Forbes named CrowdRise one of the "best online fundraising websites." They also made it to Barron's "Top 25 Best Global Philanthropist"—coming out ahead of Oprah! Celebrities like Sean Penn, Seth Rogan, Ian Somerhalder, Sophia Bush, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde and Will Ferrell have all used CrowdRise, as well as organizations like The NYC Marathon, Boston Marathon, Ironman, Red Cross, UNICEF.
We at Cuteness believe that there's just something special about pet people (call us biased), so it's no surprise that an animal lover stands at the helm of a such an awesome fundraising community. Read our short interview with Jeffrey as he reflects on the joys of being a "crazy animal lover" (his words, not ours!).
Are there any animal welfare projects on CrowdRise that are especially near and dear to you?
I'm a huge fan of Pixie Project, an animal rescue and adoption in Portland run by a close friend. They've used CrowdRise for years to help fund their amazing work. They inspire me every day.
Who was your first pet and what's your fondest memory of them?
The first was a yellow lab, Wheatley, named after famed Michigan running back, Tyrone Wheatley. Wheatley went on every backpacking and road trip with me and my friends. She was tireless. Carried the water and loved it. We once got lost at night in northern Michigan (below freezing temps and barely a sliver of moonlight). We had no lights [as we] didn't expect to get lost! Wheatley took over. She'd run ahead and come back to get us, over and over and over. She led us right back to our tent. All instinct. What a fantastic dog.
Tell us about your current pet.
I lost my 9 year-old ridgeback, Maximus, about a year ago. Tough stuff. We had a fantastic run together and I'm so thankful. He went everywhere with me. Never a more loyal, loving dog. I have a ridgeback puppy now, Miggy, after Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera. A 90-pound puppy. He's a beast! Sweet as can be and the fastest, strongest dog on the beach. Great combo. When he knocks over my kids, he probably feels bad about it.
If we asked Miggy to describe you, what do you think he would say?
Overbearing. And stop taking so many pics. And do you really need to keep all those pretzels for yourself? And sorry for chewing off every knob in your car. They were there.
How has being a pet owner influenced who you are and how you view the world? Have your pets taught you any valuable lessons?
Unconditional love and loyalty. There's nothing like it when that bond is formed. If you're not one of those "crazy animal lovers" (the ones that other people definitely find a little weird), you won't get it. But if you are, you know exactly what I mean. I am not myself if my dog isn't by my side, and I love that.
If you could spend an entire day hanging out with a wild animal in its natural habitat, which would you choose and why?
I've done it. Not by choice. Grizzly bears in Alaska. As frightening an experience as I've ever encountered. I was in exactly the wrong place, between a mother and her cubs, at night in Denali National Park. My friends and I just assumed it was over. For real. Can't ever truly explain it but we got very lucky.