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Michelson Found Animals Joins CAWFC’s Grant Initiative


Annenberg Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, Maddie’s Fund and Michelson Found Animals Foundation partner to fund positive outcomes for homeless pets in California. 

Partnership with California Animal Welfare Funders Collaborative to Award Grants to Animal Shelters

From movies and music to fashion and food, California is a trendsetting state. The recently formed California Animal Welfare Funders Collaborative (CAWFC) is hoping to start yet another trend: organizations working together to provide shelters with the resources they need to make the biggest lifesaving impact.  

 “The desire to save lives is there, but there is still so much room for creative collaboration in order to save as many of the most at-risk dogs and cats as possible,” said Kaylee Hawkins. Pacific Region Director for Best Friends Animal Society. 

CAWFC, a unique model of funders pulling their dollars together, includes the Annenberg Foundation with support from Wallis Annenberg PetSpace, Best Friends Animal Society, Maddie’s Fund and Michelson Found Animals Foundation.  

“Michelson Found Animals’ approach to grantmaking is all about funding opportunities to make catalytic change – and that’s what this collaboration offered,” said Brett Yates, Executive Director at Michelson Found Animals. “We were able to fund groups across the state that came up with innovative ways to address the specific needs of their community and those brought by COVID-19. The concepts that were funded will likely show new paths to care for animals in our communities and we expect them to have great results.” 

“We are thrilled to be a part of this incredible initiative,” said Dr. J.J. Rawlinson, Senior Manager, Community Partnerships & Welfare Initiatives for Annenberg PetSpace. “By collaborating together, the CAWFC is able to make our funding dollars have an even stronger impact in the California animal welfare community.” 

By harnessing data, CAWFC knew which communities and shelters in California had the greatest need for animal lifesaving. In February, CAWFC held a series of summits with qualifying animal welfare organizations across California to offer attendees an opportunity to brainstorm about programming, plus ask questions about criteria and get instructions on how to apply for grants.  

Together, CAWFC has provided $200,000 in grants to animal shelters throughout the state to improve practices and implement creative lifesaving solutions. The funding cycle starts in September 2020 and ends in August 2021. 

“We know this initiative will not only help the shelter animals involved, but the people and communities that love them,” said Mary Ippoliti-Smith, Executive Leadership Team at Maddie’s Fund. “By honoring the human-animal bond and providing resources to help improve on existing animal welfare efforts across the state, we can make a difference, together.” 

For example, Fresno-based Animal Compassion Team received $25,000 to decrease the average length of stay for large breed dogs by 50% during a one-year period and, as a result, will transfer in more large breed adult dogs at risk of euthanasia. 

Like the rest of the country, cats are most at risk in California shelters, comprising 78 percent of shelter deaths. As such, many of the CAWFC grants were targeted at community cat programs such as $15,000 to the Chico Animal Shelter for community cat sterilization to reduce the chronic cat overpopulation and $20,000 to Turlock Animal Shelter to reduce shelter death of cats and kittens by at least 250 via shelter-neuter-return programming. 

Due to COVID-19 and its financial aftermath, Kings County Animal Services was granted $18,015 to provide proactive and targeted owner retention support to 500+ pet parents experiencing economic hardship in collaboration with local social services organizations. 

As COVID-19 has shown, many communities have really stepped up to foster pets. Napa County Animal Shelter was granted $1,700 to equip foster homes of the most vulnerable kitten population with lifesaving supplies, such as heating sources and digital scales, so at least 100 more fragile felines will thrive in their foster homes. 

Remaining grant recipients include City of Tracy Animal Services, City of Santa Clara Animal Services, Fieldhaven Feline Center, Friends of Upland Animal Shelter, Haven Humane Society, Kerman Animal Control, McFarland Animal Shelter, Ramona Humane Society, Riverside County Department of Animal Services, and Sacramento SPCA.