Service dogs provide invaluable assistance for those who work with and depend on them. These dogs include assistance, therapy and search and rescue dogs. Each dog requires months of special training and care, which can cost a training organization $22,000 or more, according to 4 Paws for Ability, which helps match dogs to applicants in need. If you raise fund for or run a service dog training organization, you can seek grants to help your endeavors.
Service Dog Training Grants
Charitable groups provide grants specifically to organizations who train service dogs. The Assistance Dog United Campaign provides grants to improve your assistance dog program's training efforts; applications are available yearly from April to May and are due by May 31 along with a complete proposal. Include your budget, goals, methodology, objectives and potential outcomes in your proposal. A similar group that offers grants of up to $7,500 annually to service-oriented dog training organizations is the Planet Dog Foundation. This group provides grants to nonprofit assistance, service and therapy dog training organizations. To receive a grant, your organization must be accredited by a group such as Pet Partners (formerly the Delta Society) or Assistance Dogs International. The foundation accepts letters of intent, which are reviewed before it requests a more detailed proposal from your nonprofit group.
Animal Welfare Grants
While not specific to service dogs, some animal welfare organizations provide grants to groups that promote animal adoption and welfare. The Regina Bauer Frankenberg Foundation provides grants to organizations that promote animal welfare, adoption and training in the New York City area. You must submit a proposal to the foundation by July 31; decisions are made by the end of the year. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provides grants that support animal welfare and donated nearly $7 million to charities across the United States in 2010. The organization requires financial paperwork, including a recent 990 form, budgets, timelines and price quotes for any equipment as part of your application and proposal.
Both public and private organizations provide grants to a broad range of community groups, including service-animal training groups. Some, such as the Albertsons Community Partners Challenge, involve a national contest to award a grant of up to $25,000 to an organization that gathers the most votes from among its Albertsons Community Partners Program members. One of its categories is animal welfare, and participants must be a nonprofit group. The Build-A-Bear Workshop also offers grants specific to animal welfare and the training of therapy pets for nonprofit organizations. Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000, and applications are accepted from March to the end of August annually.
Service Dog Training Coalitions
Encourage your service dog training organization to join a group such as Assistance Dogs International. This coalition of nonprofit training groups for assistance dogs sets standards for training and assists its members in obtaining funding for their training endeavors from groups such as the Planet Dog Foundation. Another such organization is the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, open to all dog trainers and dog training organizations. The IAADP provides guidelines for dog trainers, who must meet the minimum standards to join. Dogs trained by your organization must have at least 120 hours of training over a six-month period. Membership in these and similar organizations gives you a chance to network with other training organizations and find out about potential sources of funds and grants for your group.
Most grant-making organizations will only give funds to established, nonprofit dog training groups registered with the Internal Revenue Service. When writing proposals, make your points clear, keep all information factual and organize your presentation. If you are turned down by a grant maker, politely inquire as to the reason; most organizations allow you to reapply at a later date. Stay active in your community to network with local animal shelters and rescue organizations that can assist you in applying for grants by providing you with a professional reference; they can also be a good resource of rescue dogs to train for your program. Create a website for your organization that can accept donations from private individuals as an additional way to raise capital.