The AAEP Foundation History
Dr. Wes Williams
The mission of the AAEP Foundation is to improve the health and welfare of the horse through support of research, education, benevolence, and the equine community.
The AAEP Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 organization, is the charitable arm of the AAEP, founded in 1994. Like its parent organization, is dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. The AAEP Foundation draws on the expertise of world-renowned caregivers and researchers in identifying the needs of the equine, and is unequaled in its ability to identify the most critical health concerns facing the equine population. Founded to unite everyone who is dedicated to improving horse health and well being, we are a dynamic foundation that is dedicated to delivering relevant research, education and outreach to the equine industry. Join us as we bring our vision of helping horses to life.
The Foundation’s roots trace back to a long-time racing enthusiast’s concern for the welfare of retired racehorses. Thanks to her generosity and provisions for charity in her estate, she helped give rise to the AAEP Foundation.
Mrs. Halina Leonard of Chino, Calif., who passed away in 1993, left her entire estate to charities that support the welfare of horses and animals. Her friendship with AAEP member Wes Williams, DVM, helped guide an initial $225,000 gift to the AAEP Foundation in 1994. As the trusted caretaker of her horses, Dr. Williams was able to advise Mrs. Leonard to donate to charitable groups like the AAEP Foundation.
Dr. Williams, an AAEP member since 1986 and now the owner of Lone Star Park Equine Hospital in Grand Prairie, Texas, feels honored to have played a role in opening the door for the Foundation’s original estate gift. While providing care for Mrs. Leonard’s horses, he developed a strong friendship with this gracious client, which allowed him to help direct her estate giving to organizations dedicated to the welfare of animals.
Thanks to Mrs. Leonard’s initial donation, and the many years of loyal commitments from a number of AAEP members, their clients, corporations and others, today the AAEP Foundation is a respected leader in providing help for horses through equine veterinary student scholarships, educational programs, equine research and benevolent projects worldwide. Since 1994, the AAEP Foundation has provided nearly $4 million for education, outreach and research.