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Grant Essentials

We have put together some basic grant information to help you ensure that your organization is eligible to apply for funding, as well as frequently asked questions, application guides, and definitions. We hope this information is helpful in preparing to apply.

Eligibility Requirements

Please make sure you are familiar with the following requirements before applying:

  • Organizations must be a part of the Best Friends Network
    • Click here to see if your organization is already a network partner.
    • If your organization is not yet a Network partner, you must apply to become one by Friday, September 16 at 7:00 PM EST
  • Programs must be implemented within the United States.  
  • Awarded grant funds must be spent within a one-year period. 

Data Reporting Status

Read the reporting requirements carefully. 

  • If you are a shelter or rescue with intakes and outcomes, you must be up to date with reporting through July 2022.
  • If you are a spay/neuter group, intake prevention group, transport-only group or other group you will need to submit your 2021 annual stats using this form prior to submitting your application. 

Please note that during an open grant cycle, our response time to emails and voicemails is significantly delayed. We ask that you take the time to ensure you meet all requirements and that you plan for those items you need us to verify. Since we are unable to fast track applications for partnership or respond to urgent requests during this time, we appreciate your understanding.

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Checklist & Application Guides

These guides are intended to assist you in submitting your application and ensuring you have completed all the required steps.

Save Them All Checklist & Application Guide

No-Kill Excellence Checklist & Application Guide

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Are projects implemented in and/or impacting U.S. Territories eligible for grant funding?

  • No, at this time our grant opportunities are not open to U.S. Territories.

Can I apply for both an STA and NKE grant?

  • Yes, if your organization and project meets the criteria, you can apply for both grant types as long as the projects are different.

Can I apply for a grant if my organization has another Rachael Ray Grant in progress?

  • Yes, you can apply, but we will consider the following:
    • Progress made to date- are you on track to complete your open project on time?
    • Grant progress reporting compliance for both monthly (as applicable) and quarterly reports.

How do I know which grant type my organization should apply for?

  • See our chart to help guide you in making a decision. Still have questions? Connect with your regional team

What does it mean get the data for impacted shelter(s) if I’m not the shelter impacted? 

  • This means obtaining the intakes and outcomes stats for January to July of 2022, broken down monthly, for any shelter(s) other than your own that will be impacted by your project.
    • If funded, you will be required to provide these stats for each impacted shelter, broken down monthly, for the remainder of 2022, as well as for the duration of your grant project. 
      • Click here for additional information on recipient reporting requirements. 

I have the shelter data. How do I tell who to focus help on?

  • Talk to shelter leadership, they will know who it is they’re struggling to help.
    • Seek to understand what it is they need or don’t have that if they did, would provide a specific population of cats or dogs live outcomes when possible.
  • You can also look at the Shelter intake and Shelter euthanasia numbers. Ultimately the goal of the funding is to see less of a specific population of animals euthanized for preventable matters.
    • Who is being euthanized currently and why? OF those animals euthanized for lack of space/time/resources or support, targeting a project to provide such elements is what this grant opportunity is seeking.  

Do I have to provide data for both cats and dogs if my project will only impact one of the species?

  • Yes, in order for us to calculate the impact of your project on the lifesaving gap at your own shelter or impacted shelter(s), we need monthly data for both cats and dogs.

Can I still apply if I’m not able to get an impacted shelter’s data? 

  • We cannot fund projects that impact shelters for which data is unobtainable, but we might be able to assist.
    • If you are running into challenges with obtaining data from an impacted shelter(s), please reach out to your regional team for guidance.

When will grant decisions be announced?

  • We anticipate announcing decisions in early 2023 via email. 

Who can I contact if after reviewing all of the grant information on the website, I still have questions?

  • For questions about your grant proposal or challenges with obtaining data from a shelter, please reach out to your regional team.
  • For questions about eligibility requirements or accessing/using our grant management platform, please reach out to Lisa at

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Live Intakes: Live cats and/or dogs admitted to a shelter.

Live Outcomes: Cats and/or dogs who leave a shelter alive through adoption, return to owner, transfer to another organization for adoption, or any other lifesaving. program.

Other Outcomes: Cats and/org dogs who did not leave the shelter alive.

Lifesaving Gap: the number of cats and dogs who would have had to be saved last year in order to achieve the 90% save rate threshold. 

  • The calculation we use to determine lifesaving gap is:
    • (Shelter Deaths* + Lost in Care) – (Live Intakes x 10%) 

                       * Shelter Deaths = animals euthanized, killed, or died in care 

Impacted shelter: A shelter, other than the recipient, whose save rate or lifesaving gap will improve as a result of a project's funding.

Kitten intake diversion support: Organization or agency provides alternative to shelter intake for shelter without means to provide care for positive outcome opportunity. 

Targeted TNR: projects such as funding to provide an alternative for community cats in lieu of shelter intake (where the org facilitates surgeries and return, avoiding the cat entering shelter OR  an organization that assists a shelter with a positive outcome pathway for community cats in the shelter (facilitating pull, surgeries, and return). These are examples of TNR activities having a direct and measurable reduction shelter killing.

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