We believe in making the grant process as easy and efficient as possible for our grantees by understanding that time is the most valued resource for all parties in animal welfare. Our philosophy includes viewing our grantees as partners and as such we are committed to a high level of mutual communication, trust and respect. We have a dynamic process for grantmaking that will continuously be evaluated to remain sensitive to the needs of our partners.


At WaterShed Animal Fund we prefer to make a small number of larger grants to established partners. We feel this will make the greatest impact to achieve our strategic goals. We strive to identify innovative, game-changing programs and people who produce results.

We do not accept unsolicited proposals in any program of our grantmaking. This is to prevent organizations from taking unnecessary time to create proposals specifically designed for the WaterShed Animal Fund. We would prefer your organization spend your time and our time on a quick conversation about your work. We pledge to give you direct and timely information about whether we are a strong potential fit for your organization based on our strategic plan.

An important part of high-level communication between partners is feedback. We desire feedback from our partners to ensure that our process remains grantee-centric.

What We Fund

The WaterShed Animal Fund team has implemented a strategic plan to guide our funding choices. Our current plan has four individual focus areas. We feel that funding programs and projects only within the following four areas will enable us to achieve our strategic goals.

Dog and Cat Homelessness

We fund programs/projects that increase adoption market share, increase owner retention or expand spay/neuter programs in non-traditional ways.

Horse Homelessness

We fund programs/projects that identify solutions, build partnerships and develop strategies to help horses, or programs that increase adoptions or increase owner retention.

Cruelty Issues

We fund programs and projects that work to find alternatives to end inhumane horse slaughter and puppy mills.

Social Movement

We fund projects that elevate animal welfare as a social movement such as data research, case-building, leadership building or coalition building.

Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Weaverville, NC

Oklahoma City Live Release Project

Increasing Placement Capacity in Nonprofit Horse Facilities

Our Process For Grantmaking

Our process is designed to fit with the philosophy of ease and efficiency for our partners. We believe in due-diligence that is appropriate for the size of grant and partner in question. When potential partners are being analyzed as a first time grantee, we will engage a more robust analysis of the organization, the program and the partnership. The same robust analysis will be conducted in a proposal that involves a larger investment with multi-year commitments.

Most importantly, we value people when analyzing an investment. It does not matter how promising a program appears if the right people are not behind it. Once a partnership is established with the WaterShed Animal Fund, we place a great deal of trust in the organization and the people that we are supporting.

We do not have funding cycles or deadlines when applying for grants. We make grants on a rolling basis. We do our best to coordinate the timing of our grant disbursements with the individual needs of our partners.

The team at the WaterShed Animal Fund invites a potential partner to submit a Letter of Inquiry.

If determined that the Letter of Inquiry is a good fit with the Fund’s strategic plan the potential partner will be invited to submit a full proposal.

The Fund will conduct an organizational assessment including meeting leadership, analyzing and assessing effectiveness of current programs as well as analyzing organization’s financials, operating documents and strategic plan.

If the Fund accepts the proposal and a partnership is established, the partners will work together to determine timing of funding, reasonable check points and reporting timelines.


The WaterShed Animal Fund requires all animal welfare groups working with dogs and/or cats to be an active participant of Shelter Animals Count in order to be eligible to apply for a grant.

Shelter Animals Count is a collaborative initiative formed by a diverse group of stakeholders to create and share a national database of sheltered animal statistics, providing facts, and enabling insights that will save lives. Shelter Animals Count was created to give shelters the information they need to streamline their business operations, while at the same time making it possible to get a holistic overview of the animal welfare landscape. By collecting consistent shelter data, and by collaborating with other shelters that are doing the same, our ability to save animals’ lives can be dramatically improved.

The Fund believes strongly in the importance of data collection in order to make real, lasting change in animal welfare. We are committed to our partner agencies that collect this data and the work they are doing to improve the lives of companion animals nationwide.


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