About Us


The mission of Institute of Nonprofit Excellence (INPEx) is to help nonprofit animal shelters and rescue groups save money by sourcing manufacturer and distributor discounts on products needed to heal, protect, and adopt out healthy pets. Shelters United is the latest way INPEx is bringing our mission to life.

We’re a dedicated team of animal shelter experts that have been supporting animal welfare organizations like yours since 1981. You might be familiar with some of the programs we’ve taken nationwide, such as award-winning Zoetis For Shelters, Purina Pro Plan Rally to Rescue, and Homeless Homer Adoption Kits.


A Message from Mal Schwartz

Founder, Shelters United
President, Institute for Nonprofit Excellence (INPEx)

In 1978 I was assigned the responsibility for changing the very negative dynamic between pet food manufacturers and animal welfare organizations and attended my first shelter conference. Little did I know that I would meet some of the best people on earth and have so much fun! I looked forward to every HSUS, AH, or SAWA conference because I had become such good friends with some of the great people who have evolved shelter management to a new level of effectiveness and credibility.

Playing an active role in growing the professionalism of SAWA, I used the INPEx comprehensive database of shelters and rescues to help create the first SAWA Resource Directory. This helped make the fact-based case for the enormous influence that shelters and rescues have on the pet parenting population.

Some programs that I have been instrumental in providing to animal welfare include Homeless Homer® Adoption Kits, PETelethonsTM, Purina Pro Plan Rally to Rescue, Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love, Revolution donation program, and Zoetis for Shelters.

Pets are an indispensable part of my life. When my late wife passed away after 33 years together, I truly believe that Bernie, a lab/border collie mix I adopted from the ASPCA in NYC, saved my sanity. I was chair of the Delta Society (Pet Partners) and taking Bernie through the training and volunteering as a therapy team at the New York-Presbyterian Children’s Hospital gave me a purpose and an anchor to hang on to.

My wife Laura and I live in Carmel CA with good old Bernie, Zephyr a 12-pound Persian, and Thor a 134-pound Great Pyrenees/Collie mix we adopted from the Monterey  SPCA when he was only 75 pounds (who knew?).

The mission of INPEx has always been to help nonprofit animal shelters and rescue groups save money by sourcing manufacturer and distributor discounts on products needed to heal, protect, and adopt out healthy pets. Now with great partners like MWI Animal Health, Virbac and Virox Rescue, we are launching the latest platform to help bring our mission to life.

I look forward to continuing working to support you! If we have met, I hope you will send me a note and remind me of when and where we had the pleasure to connect!!

For the animals,

Founder, Shelters United
President, Institute for Nonprofit Excellence (INPEx)


Meet the Team Advancing the Animal Welfare Cause

With more than thirty years of experience in sales and marketing in the animal products services industry, I know all the ins and outs of “how things work.”

I’m so happy to be able to put all my industry knowledge and experience to work FOR YOU, the animal welfare professionals and volunteers across the country passionately dedicated to serving the most vulnerable animals.

Think of me as your agent. I’m going to bat for you to get you the absolute best possible deals on exactly what you want and need. Since I’m negotiating for you as a large group, I’m able to hit it out of the park every

Go “Team Shelters United!”

Ed Haddad

Shelter Partnership Lead

“I love NEGOTIATING DEALS that save animals!"

Tali Schwartz

Digital Transformation Lead

“I’m using TECHNOLOGY to save more animals"

It’s so fulfilling to wake up every day knowing that I’m harnessing technology to make it possible for animal shelters to love and care for thousands more animals!

Technology makes it possible for Shelter’s United to bring the animal welfare community toge ther to achieve great negotiating power. I love
being able to give hard working shelter professionals and volunteers the
peace of mind and the confidence to know they are stretching their budget
as far as it can go.

I also love that we can easily collect and share tips, success stories, and best practices amongst our community.

Together, we can do so much!

Helping YOU, the people that help animals on the front lines every day, has been my passion and calling for the last 20 years. Thank you for all you do!

I’ve personally helped over 12,000 hard working shelter professionals serve thousands more animals by teaching them about high quality
budget stretching programs like Zoetis for Shelters, Purina Rally to Rescue, and more. I’m so excited about what Shelters United is able to do for you!

Nothing makes me happier than knowing my work directly results in more animals getting the care they need while they await loving forever homes.
It would be my pleasure to support you as well!

Mary Beth Hewitt

Shelter Savings Guru

“Supporting animal shelters is MY CALLING!

Danielle Loughton, RVT


Danielle is a registered veterinary technician for 24 years.  She spent most of her tech career in emergency/critical care and specialty surgery.  She also worked as a sales rep in the veterinary industry for a total of about 18 years working for Midmark and covered the seven states of the west.

She worked for SECUROS, a division of MWI, as a territory manager for Antech Diagnostics. Also as a trainer for the Hills to Home platform and as an inventory manager for a very large specialty practice here in Las Vegas. Now she is a Member Consultant for Shelters United.

She is a mother to two teenage boys, one rescue dog and two ornery cats!

I have been working in animal welfare since 2006 when I started at the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA.  I served as the Shelter Manager for 13 years helping the organization grow in the ever-evolving industry.  I continue to volunteer and foster for the organization that is so near and dear to my heart.  In 2019, I left the shelter world to work for Penn Veterinary Supply as a Territory Manager for 2 years.

Becoming an Enrollment Specialist with Shelters United was the perfect next step in my career combining my passions, animal welfare and saving organizations money!  I feel proud of the work Shelters United is doing everyday by helping organizations save money to save more lives! 

Maggie Rucker

Shelter Specialist

Erika Funke

Shelter Specialist

I am a South Carolina native with a B.S. in Animal and Veterinary Science from Clemson University. I have been in the animal health industry for 10 years. In college, I served as a veterinary assistant for two local veterinarian clinics as well as founder and president of the Clemson Animal Welfare Society. Upon graduating, I accepted a role at Merial in customer care. Shortly after Boehringer Ingelheim’s acquisition of Merial, I was promoted to the sales department.

I am currently an Enrollment Specialist at Shelters United. I am combining my background in sales as well as my passion for animal welfare to make sure shelter professionals are saving money while having access to quality products.  I am a military spouse and mother to a toddler, pit bull mix, and two cats. I look forward to working with you. Thank you for all you do!

Phoebe & Bernie are two of the Shelters United founding members. We take their advice and their belly rubs very seriously.

They each also proudly serve on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Nonprofit Excellence (INPEX).

Phoebe & Bernie

Founding Members & Mascots

“Bark bark BARK!