Finding government grants for non-profit animal rescues can be difficult because precious few government grants are available to animal rescue organizations. However, if an individual knows where to look, some government programs do include grant opportunities for non-profit animal rescues and shelters. Rescues interested in receiving government funding should research the specific requirements of each grant opportunity to ensure that the rescue qualifies for the grant and that the purpose of the grant meets the needs of the rescue.
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture has a grant program called the Rural Development Housing and Community Facilities Program that provides funding for essential community facilities, including public and private animal shelters or rescues. Funds in this program can be used for constructing or renovating facilities, purchasing necessary equipment and other projects vital to the operation of the facility. This funding is available to communities with populations under 20,000, with priority given to organizations serving small or low-income communities. Rescue centers should contact the area USDA Service Center for information about this grant and help in determining whether the rescue qualifies for funding. Applications can be found and filed with the service center. The amount of the grants offered vary by need and available funds; grants are awarded year-round.
Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program
Rescues dealing with wildlife animal rescue may qualify for funding through the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS). The NRCS's Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) was established as a voluntary program to encourage improving wildlife habitats in the nation. WHIP provides technical assistance as well as a cost-share assistance program with the participant of the program. To qualify for this program the rescue must be involved in meeting the program's priorities listed on its website, which include restoring declining or important native fish and wildlife habitats; protecting, restoring, developing or enhancing habitats to benefit at-risk species; and reducing the impact of invasive species. If the rescue qualifies for WHIP, the cost-share assistance of the program can cover up to 75 percent of the cost of working toward these priorities. To inquire about this grant and to obtain an application, the rescue should contact the area USDA Service Center.
Other Government Grants
Animal rescues or shelters may qualify for other government grant programs and funding depending on the specific mission of the rescue, the location, animals in the rescue and the type of work in the community the rescue does. State and local government agencies may be able to provide funding for specific areas or for specific purposes. Federal programs may also allow rescues to qualify for funding, such as the United States Bureau of Land Management's Nature-Based Youth Outings Program, which provides funding to organizations that encourage youths to engage in outdoor activities, including equine rescues that involve youth as volunteers or that provide educational programs in horse care or riding lessons.
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