2018 Program Highlights


The Petfinder Foundation gave 433 grants of cash and product, with a total value of $590,410, to animal shelters and rescue groups in 2018, including:

  • $28,250 to help adoption groups cope with natural disasters;
  • $75,000 in emergency medical grants to save homeless pets from life-threatening illness or injury;
  • $84,614 to enable shelters to conduct life-changing dog playgroups that reduce dogs’ stress and increase adoption rates; and
  • $75,000 so that shelters could waive or reduce adoption fees to help their hardest-to-place pets find homes.

In addition, we are committed to helping adoption groups fundraise using the reach of Petfinder.com, the world’s No. 1 pet-adoption website, and distributed $49,635 toward the care of individual pets through our Petfinder.com-based Sponsor a Pet program.


Quality of Life
Improving the quality of life of pets while they are in shelters or in the care of rescue groups makes them happier, healthier and more adoptable. The following 2017 grant programs fall within this category.

Dog Playgroup Grants: $36,000 (mentorship) and $48,614 (play-yard renovation)
We once again partnered with Dogs Playing for Life, which teaches shelter staff and volunteers how to conduct safe dog playgroups that have proven to be remarkably effective at reducing length of stay for shelter dogs by decreasing stress behaviors and allowing staff to get a more accurate assessment of dogs’ personalities. We provided grants to enable staff at 36 shelters to attend mentorship training sessions, and renovation grants to help nine shelters get their play yards up to DPFL’s standards for safety and effectiveness.

Adoption Options in Action Grants: $30,000
Adoption Options, run by Petfinder.com, is a series of free conferences that educate shelter and rescue-group staff and volunteers in the placement, promotion, training and enrichment of pets in their care. AOs in Action grants were available to Petfinder.com members that attended an Adoption Options conference in 2018 and needed financial assistance in order to implement the programs or practices presented there. Grants ranged from $500 to $2,110 and were awarded to 27 adoption groups.

Emergency Medical Grants: $75,000
These grants assisted shelters and rescue groups caring for pets who needed special veterinary care in order to become adoptable. Grants from this program were used to cover expenses that fell outside of day-to-day care such as spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations and routine exams. Examples include emergency amputations, tumor removals, and skin grafts. Grants up to $1,000 were awarded to 83 shelters.

Orvis Animal-Care Grants: $18,000
Thanks to a donation match from the Orvis Company, the Petfinder Foundation was able to provide 22 shelters and rescue groups with grants of $500 to $1,000 to help support their dog-adoption efforts. Orvis grant funds were used to buy enrichment items, improve kennel facilities, and provide veterinary care to dogs awaiting forever homes.

Senior Pet Adoption Grants: $60,000
Senior pets are consistently some of the most difficult for adoption groups to place. These grants are designed to eliminate barriers to adoption by allowing groups to reduce or waive adoption fees and pay for veterinary care and/or special food after the pet is adopted. Grants of up to $1,000 were awarded to 72 shelters.

New Year, New Home: $75,000
Funded by Purina, these grants are used to subsidize pet adoptions via waived or reduced adoption fees. Subsidized adoption fees help harder-to-place pets, such as seniors, bonded pairs and pets with special needs, find forever homes. Grants of up to $2,000 were awarded to 37 organizations, helping 3,466 pets get adopted.

Cat Enrichment: $24,000
While dog-enrichment programs are becoming more common in shelters, cats suffer from kennel stress and boredom as well, and keeping their minds active and allowing them to engage in instinctive behaviors such as hiding, chasing and scratching reduces anxiety and increases adoptions. We gave cat-enrichment grants of up to $1,000 to 26 shelters.

Disaster Relief: $28,250
In 2018, the U.S. experienced a volcanic eruption in Hawaii, Hurricane Florence in the Southeast, and devastating wildfires in California. The Petfinder Foundation rushed grants out to shelters and rescue groups so that they could move adoptable pets out of the path of disaster and open up space for vulnerable strays, as well as lost pets and those whose families had lost their homes or been forced to evacuate. After the worst was over, we continued to provide assistance to help damaged shelters rebuild and provide treatment to injured animals.

In total, we awarded grants ranging from $500 to $4,000 to 11 shelters in Hawaii, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida and California

We also administered these grant programs in 2018:

Sponsor a Pet: $49,635 to 572 organizations
KONG product grants: $16,788 (1,200 KONGs) to 69 organizations
P.L.A.Y. pet bed product grants: $21,120 (400 beds) to 30 organizations
Petfinder.com Annual Member Survey grants: $2,500 to three organizations
Petfinder.com Animal Care EXPO grants: $2,000 to eight organizations