Pedigree Foundation Grants Available

If you work for or know of a shelter that is doing something innovative to increase dog adoptions, they may be eligible for a $10,000-$25,000 grant from the Pedigree Foundation.


The foundation awards grants to non-profit, tax-exempt animal shelters and dog rescue groups. The application and criteria information are available now and they are accepting them through June 29, 2012.

“For the third year, Pedigree Foundation is awarding Innovation Grants to animal shelters and dog rescue groups that demonstrate real innovation and out-of-the-box thinking for raising awareness, volunteerism, donations and, ultimately, dog adoptions,” says Debra Fair, Pedigree Foundation president. “We encourage communities to work together to support dog adoption and look forward to help fund creative programs.”

The Pedigree Foundation has awarded over $4 million since 2008, and has helped many shelters and rescues make a difference in the lives of homeless pets.

The Innovation Grant is awarded to organizations specifically for programs that increase the number of dogs adopted at that shelter or rescue.

Seven shelters were awarded grants last year. The Oklahoma Humane Society of Oklahoma City, was granted $25,000 to start the “Homeward Bound Transport Program,” which will transport dogs from high-risk situations to safe destinations. Currently, the humane society has finished developing the program and their first transport is set for April 10.

“We are very excited about the first transport,” says Christy Counts, executive director of the Oklahoma Humane Society. “The planned transport will be from Oklahoma City to Minnesota.”

Another 2011 grant receiver, the SPCA for Monterey County, in California, used the money to fund their program, “Take the Lead,” which pairs dogs with high-risk kids who take the dogs through a five-week obedience class.

“This innovative program, launched in 2008, pairs at-risk and incarcerated youth with shelter dogs in need of training,” says Development Director Susan Koza . “While the dogs learn new skills that will motivate adopters, the kids develop a sense of pride when they teach their dogs something new. The children also form deep bonds with their dogs, learning empathy, compassion, and patience as they spend quality time with their assigned trainee and see their efforts rewarded in a well-mannered, affectionate dog. 

“Educators and youth counselors tell us that these children are learning life, leadership, and communication skills as they teach unsocialized dogs how to be great canine citizens through positive reinforcement,” says Koza. “We have received anecdotal evidence that Take the Lead has helped increase grades and classroom participation and has helped introverted children gain confidence in communicating with their peers. And the benefit to the dogs is clear as the dogs are learning skills that will help them stay in their new homes.”

boy with shelter dog. Photo Monterey County SPCA Take the Lead. Monterey County SPCA
Photos From Monterey County SPCA’s “Take the Lead”

Below is a complete list of additional shelters and rescues that received grants in 2011.

2011 Innovation Grant Winners

  • Paw Prints Humane Society of Sedona, Inc. of Sedona, AZ, was awarded $10,000 to help fund the Mobile Adoption Vehicle to help increase adoptions, increase community education and awareness and serve as an emergency evacuation vehicle for at-risk animals in the Northern Arizona area.
  • Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Eatontown, NJ, was awarded $25,000 to help fund a Dog Behavioral Department, which uses positive reinforcement training and enrichment to increase the adoptability of shelter dogs. The program focuses especially on those who come into the shelter with behavioral issues or who develop behaviors as a result of an extended stay in the shelter system.
  • Humane Society of Rochester and Monroe County PCA of Fairport, NY, was awarded $10,000 to help fund the Behavior Modification and Enrichment Program to help dogs change behavior and ultimately find an adoptive family and forever home.
  • Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) of Philadelphia, was awarded $25,000 to help fund “Adopt a South Philly Dog” program, which increases dog adoptions in this densely populated area with few walk-in adoption facilities.
  • Nashville Humane Association of Nashville, TN, was awarded $14,000 for a research program that will evaluate staff training and adoption policies of collaborative organizations that use visual and staff-based experience to identify dog breeds and mixes of those breeds. This program is aimed to increase dog adoption and retention.

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