Dr. Rae Ann Van Pelt Joins the Board of Directors of The Wingspan Project


The Wingspan Project’s Board of Directors

I’m excited to announce that I have joined the Board of Directors of The Wingspan Project.  The Wingspan project is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to making mental health and related services available to under-served, marginalized, and/or disenfranchised people.  Our name is reflective of the scope and breadth of our initiatives.  These initiatives span a number of areas related to mental health and well-being, including the support of the human-animal bond.

Franklin’s Fund Initiative

I’ve teamed up with a wonderful group of mental health specialists to help oversee one of The Wingspan Project’s initiatives, Franklin’s Fund.  Franklin’s Fund recognizes the value of the human-animal relationship in enhancing and maintaining mental health.  It is common for people with mental health issues to depend upon the loving, unconditional bond that they share with their pet.  Due to various circumstances, these loyal companions may not be receiving the healthcare necessary to lead a good quality life so that they may continue to be a vital part of their pet parents’ lives.  Franklin’s Fund provides financial and other resources to people who otherwise would not be able to maintain their relationships with their animal family members.  Our goals are to keep those animals in their pet parents’ care and maintain quality of life for both animal and human.

Jeff Levy – Founder of The Wingspan Project

Jeff Levy, psychotherapist, social worker, and founder of The Wingspan Project, has been a client of Family Pet Animal Hospital since we opened almost three decades ago.  Franklin, a Poodle mix, was adopted by Jeff shortly after Franklin had undergone surgery to amputate one of his rear legs. Franklin’s strength, perseverance, and gentleness even in the face of such a life-changing event – the loss of a limb – amazed Jeff.  As one can imagine, Franklin needed a fair amount of medical care.  Because of Jeff’s experience with Franklin, as well as his observations of his clients who are strengthened by their relationships with their animal family members, Franklin’s Fund was born.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of providing veterinary care to Franklin as well as many of Jeff’s other furry family members.  I am incredibly grateful to Jeff for the opportunity to be involved in The Wingspan Project.  Although Franklin has passed, his memory lives on through the important work of Franklin’s Fund.

Additional Initiatives of The Wingspan Project

Franklin’s Fund is just one of many ambitious initiatives of The Wingspan Project.  We enact our mission through a variety of programs targeting different segments of the population we serve.

  • Access for All (AfA) provides and subsidizes direct mental health services to those who may have financial and/or logistical constraints that limit/prevent access to such services.
  • Violence And Loss Organizational Response (VALOR) provides support for individuals and organizations experience violence or sudden or traumatic loss, such as the death or injury of a client or colleague.
  • Franklin’s Fund (FF) supports people with mental health needs and/or physical disabilities and their relationships with their animals/pets.
  • Young Professionals Network (YPN) supports the growth and development of early career individuals committed to working with historically marginalized groups and communities.
  • Valuing Difference Awards (Sponsored by Live Oak, Inc.) provides financial awards to graduate students or activists whose work recognizes the consequences of privilege.

Supporting The Wingspan Project’s Efforts

For more information and/or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please click the image below.  Because we are just beginning our efforts with The Wingspan Project, we greatly appreciate general donations to the organization.  However, if a specific initiative speaks to you, the donation page allows you to earmark your contribution for your program of choice.


Contact Us

Family Pet Animal Hospital


1401 W. Webster Avenue Chicago, IL 60614

Clinic Hours

Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM, Sunday: Closed