Don Uyeno

Don Uyeno grew in Westchester, New York in a family with five children and in a middle to upper/middle class home. He went to college at Cornell University for hospitality and was involved with the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. Due to his involvement with ROTC, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army and completed the first three years of his five-year contract in Germany. After finishing the last two years of his contract with the Army in the states, Don returned to Germany. At this point, he worked for the Department of Defense as a civilian for five years and then another three years in the U.S. Embassy. After returning to the states again, he worked several different jobs, working on Long Island and in New Jersey before starting a pet shipping company with a colleague. After many years building the company, Don decided to take the lead and start his own pet shipping company with a colleague. They started a company called Global Pet Relocation that grew over time and now also includes Global Pet Alliance which is made up of Starwood Pet Transport and Pacific Pet Transport. He also has half ownership of LATAM Pet Transport and My Pet Cab LLC. Don feels strongly that, “we need to give back and be active and proactive in helping others.” To fulfill that goal, he took his passion to give back and combined it with his wife Joanne’s passion for mental health to create a nonprofit to provide more resources for mental health called the Uyeno Foundation.

Joanne Uyeno

Joanne Uyeno grew up in Long Island, New York as the youngest of five children. When she went to college, she developed a passion for working with special needs children and got her undergraduate degree in elementary, special education & reading. She also obtained her master’s degree in special education. From there, she spent much of her career evaluating children, establishing IEPs (Individualized Education Plans), and teaching both special and general education classes. The school environment she worked in included homelessness, children of gang members and addictions. The school district did not have the resources or enough counselors needed to handle the type of crisis the children were experiencing. This inspired Joanne to go back to school to get a second master’s degree in school administration. She felt as though that would help her have a bigger impact on more than just the small group she was working with. After Joanne retired and moved to Florida with her husband Don, she decided she wanted to find a way to help provide more mental health services and started working with a nonprofit called Samaritan Health & Wellness. That nonprofit provides family healthcare and counseling with no insurance required to help extend their mental health services. Joanne’s goal is that “no child will ever go without healthcare or mental health services along with anyone else in the community who needs it.” To reach that goal, she created a nonprofit along with her husband Don to provide more resources for mental health. Thus, the Uyeno Foundation was born.