Grant Guidelines

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Getting Maddie's Money

A step-by-step plan

In 1998, fur flew when Cheryl and Dave Duffield, PeopleSoft Founder and Board Chairman, announced their intention to establish Maddie's FundŽ and give away more than $200 million dollars to help save this nation's homeless cats and dogs. But getting the money hasn't been as easy as many animal organizations thought. This step-by-step plan is designed to make the process clearer so that more groups can get funded; more lives can be saved.

1. Review guidelines
2. Make a directory
3. Set up a meeting
4. Meet with working group; decide key issues
5. Gather data/fill out preliminary application
6. Meet with Maddie's Fund
7. Finalize goals
8. Determine implementation strategies
9. Complete Maddie's Fund Adoption and Spay/Neuter applications

1. Review guidelines. The first step is easy. Make sure you're eligible for funding. The Maddie's Fund web site has downloadable Funding Guidelines and Instructions; current Preliminary, Adoption, and Spay/Neuter Application Forms; and a series of Frequently Asked Questions that are all important "must reads." Hard copies can be requested by phone (510.337.8989), by fax (510.337.8988), or by email ( By reading the guidelines and reviewing the application materials, you find out exactly what Maddie's Fund will and won't support. For example, Maddie's Fund will support rescue organizations linked in community-wide collaborations with private veterinary practitioners, traditional shelters, and animal control agencies. Maddie's Fund will not provide money for shelter construction, humane education programs, or emergency funding. A note to remember: Maddie’s Fund will not depart from the Guidelines. You will not convince Maddie’s Fund to support an individual organization’s operation or any other very admirable or worthwhile effort if it falls outside the Guidelines.

2. Make a directory. Next, put together a comprehensive, animal organization survey, complete with contact names, phone numbers and addresses of all the animal groups in your area. Include traditional shelters, animal control agencies, rescue organizations, breed or feral cat rescue groups, shelter auxiliaries, the veterinary medical association, private veterinary hospitals, spay/neuter clinics, etc.

3. Set up a meeting. Once you've established your directory, invite every single group to an exploratory meeting to discuss the various organizations' level of interest in applying for a Maddie's Fund grant. (Even if you don't go forward with a Maddie's Fund grant, this meeting can lay the groundwork for effective community collaboration.) If your local animal control agency or traditional shelter refuses to even discuss the possibility of participating in a Maddie's Fund grant, it's unlikely you'll be able to proceed. Maddie's Fund grants are dependent upon the cooperation of all traditional shelters and animal control agencies.

Once at the meeting, present an overview of the Maddie's Fund criteria, answer questions to the best of your knowledge, compile a list of organizations who want to proceed with a grant request, and set up another meeting.

4. Meet with working group; decide key issues. The participants at the next meeting will probably be your core collaboration of rescue organizations, traditional shelters, animal control facilities and private practicing veterinarians. Now the work begins in earnest. Actually hammering out the project and each group's role within it can take several months, and entail many meetings. Some communities have used the services of a facilitator to help them run meetings or help coordinate the project. Even so, some groups may get frustrated and drop out. Don't get discouraged! Getting as few as three or as many as thirty groups plus veterinarians to work together as a team is no easy task. Issues to decide: There are a lot of key issues the group must decide: an adoption guarantee lead agency to administer the adoption component, a VMA lead agency to administer the spay/neuter component, the target community, the project goals, implementation strategies, and grant distribution plan. A word about the target community: The target community can be a city, a county or a state. Some groups have considered the idea of having one county and bits of others as their target community. This sort of gerrymandering can get overly complex; it's better to stay within more clearly defined boundaries. The most critical thing to remember about the target community – don't bite off more than you can chew. It's better to start small and succeed than to start big and fail.

5. Gather data/fill out preliminary application. Data gathering is generally taken on by the lead agencies since these organizations will be in charge of tracking statistics and compiling progress reports throughout the life of the project. This process in and of itself can be laborious, time consuming and frustrating. Many shelters don't keep detailed statistics. The busy schedules of shelter workers and veterinary hospital staff make data gathering even more difficult. In addition, most shelter workers aren't used to collecting the kind of information Maddie's Fund asks for (e.g., numbers of healthy, treatable and non-rehabilatatable deaths as defined by Maddie's Fund Guidelines). But once the data is collected, it will serve as an invaluable tool to help organizations meet their goals.

Once you've gathered the data, use it to fill out the Preliminary Application, which should be sent to Maddie's Fund as the first step in the application process.

6. Meet with Maddie's Fund. Once your completed Preliminary Application has been sent in, Maddie's Fund will be happy to meet directly with your group to answer any and all questions and to help you prepare your final Applications. The preferred way for Maddie's Fund to meet is by conference call, but in some cases Maddie's Fund staff will consider traveling to your community. Please note: Maddie's Fund will not be able to meet with groups unless all of their data for the Preliminary Application has been gathered and submitted.

7. Finalize goals. Part VII of the Adoption Application shows you how to establish your adoption and death reduction goals for the grant, and footnote 1 of the Spay/Neuter Application explains how to calculate your spay/neuter goals for the grant. The Applications also take the guesswork out of how much money to ask for. The formulas, estimating guides and calculations tell you how to use the statistics you've gathered to develop baselines, above baseline targets and goals, and how much money Maddie's Fund will provide for your project. Remember: in order to get funding from Maddie's Fund, you must be able to reach the goal of eliminating the deaths of healthy dogs and cats in your target community within five years. You may find out that the numbers of healthy deaths in your target community are so high, getting to the goal in five years is impossible. In that case, you'll have to put your Applications aside for now while you implement strategies to reduce the numbers. When you progress to the point where the goal is achievable in five years, you can apply for a Maddie's Fund grant. Please note: Maddie's Fund money is designed to help take programs to the finish line; it is not designed to tackle intractable problems in troubled communities.

8. Determine implementation strategies. Now that the goals have been established, the group needs to figure out how to reach them! Brainstorm ideas that will provide direct and immediate results. The plan should fit within your community's resources, abilities and values. Consider the strategies of other successful organizations and check out the Maddie's Fund web site to look at the Applications and Progress Reports from other funded projects. "No-Kill News From Around the Nation" and "Is There A No-Kill Blueprint" are other helpful articles on the Maddie's Fund web site. All of this should help you create a Business Plan that's right for your community.

9. Complete the Maddie's Fund Adoption and Spay/Neuter Applications. What once looked daunting and unfathomable, the Maddie's Fund Applications, are now a piece of cake. The adopton guarantee lead agency should fill out and send in the Adoption Application, and the local, regional, or state VMA should fill out and send in the Spay/Neuter Application. Both applications must be received for your project to be considered. Keep in mind: even if you are accepted for funding, Maddie's Fund may work with you for several more months to finalize the details of the grant. These details will ultimately be placed in a written agreement that both parties must sign.