The story of FACE Foundation and the man that helped start it all, Howard Finkelstein

Since 2006, thousands of animals have been saved by FACE Foundation. Countless families found themselves in a very scary place, confronted with having to euthanize their pet because they couldn’t afford the cost of emergency veterinary care. That situation changes in an instant when the families are connected with FACE. Their beloved pet receives the veterinary care they need, saving the pet’s life, and keeping a family whole. We continue our mission with significant growth on the horizon and with great optimism, but not without acknowledging one of the co-founders of the FACE Foundation, Howard Finkelstein, and his instrumental role in FACE’s success. 

It started when Howard and Dr. Keith Richter (a veterinarian and FACE co-founder), along with co-founder Cini Robb, started a conversation about their mutual love for animals. Howard asked a question that many ask, but few follow with such extraordinary and heroic action; “What can I do to help?” A very honest conversation about a sensitive subject matter followed. One that was affecting pets, pet owners, Dr. Richter, and his fellow veterinarians, the problem of economic euthanasia. 

In 2006, San Diego had (and still has) hundreds of animal rescue organizations, animal shelters, and humane societies, but none of these organizations were funding emergency veterinary costs for pet owners that could not afford the lifesaving care. This was not only heart breaking for the innocent animal, the family that loves their pet, but also the veterinarians who had to euthanize a treatable animal because of the owner’s inability to pay the bill. A tragedy for all involved. 

Howard Finkelstein, a seasoned and successful attorney with an unwavering passion for animals, was moved to a point action. He and Dr. Richter, along with Cini Robb, would start an organization that would fund lifesaving, emergency, veterinary care for pets, thus keeping families together. In 2007 with Howard’s help, the 501c3 process was developed and filed, a Board of Directors was created, and a journey started that has now saved the lives of thousands of pets began. 

Over the last 16 years, Howard, along with his wife Lorin, helped guide FACE through legal obligations and challenges, and helped steer FACE to being a healthy and impactful organization.  He has always been an avid supporter of our mission and has been a champion of connecting FACE with others that could help grow the organization. He has helped lead the Foundation with profound wisdom, compassion, and with remarkably generous financial support. Howard is a rare, authentic advocate that placed the mission and the Foundation before many other priorities in his life. 

FACE now hosts a Community Outreach program in addition to its Save-a-Life program, and young, future animal advocates have begun their animal welfare journey through FACE Foundation’s education programs. We hope that through these programs, the ripple effects will inspire young people and grantees to give back in a way that would make Howard proud of his legacy. 

In 2022, Howard left the Board of Directors. He will always be our co-founder and “thank you” will never be enough. He has left a profound impact on so many, and we look forward to ensuring his mission continues to grow and save more lives for decades to come.