California-based organization Maddie’s Fund recently launched a $1 million grant program to support rescue and foster efforts of animal shelters nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 1994, husband-and-wife team David and Cheryl Duffield started Maddie’s Fund—named after the couple’s beloved dog—with the mission of investing in no-kill shelters and providing happy and healthy homes to companion animals. The new Pet Foster Care Stimulus Grant Program—applications for which are open until April 17—will give shelters and rescue organizations up to $20,000 to help support and expand foster care programs with food, medical care, supplies, and staff time, along with a portion of funding dedicated to supporting foster families with telehealth veterinary services through Best Friends Vet Access. 

“We hope our grant will allow more shelter animals and humans to have the opportunity to experience the benefits of foster care,” Amy Zeifang of Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team said. “With more people staying at home and working from home, foster care is the natural answer. Foster heroes have stepped up across the country and we want to help them.” 

Amid the ongoing pandemic, many shelters across the country are reporting record fostering and adoption rates, including New York City locations of Muddy Paws Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society where applications to care for companion animals have increased 10-fold as New Yorkers began to self-isolate in March.