The Vanderburgh Humane Society has received a $25,000 Rachael Ray Save Them All grant from national animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society. The grant will help the VHS expand their foster care program!
They applied for funds in October 2020 and were notified of their award earlier this month.
“We have had a foster program in place for many years, but it was always managed by assorted staff members with a multitude of other duties,” says Amanda Coburn, VHS Development Coordinator. “Taking a look at our annual population data, more than 35% of our total intake – including all cats, all dogs, every species & age group we take in – is typically kittens under 6 months of age. 27% are neonatal kittens under 2 months of age! So, more than a third of our animal intake is this one specific, vulnerable population… and yet we have never been able to have a full-time staff position dedicated solely to foster care placement for them. Thanks to Best Friends, that is changing!”
The funding has allowed the organization to promote a current longtime employee, Vanessa Brown, into the new full-time Foster Coordinator role. Brown will handle all foster family recruitment, onboarding, and training, and oversee the medical and socialization needs for shelter’s population of animals in foster care. (The organization does have a few other full-time and part-time job openings. Interested applicants can see open positions here:https://www.vhslifesaver.org/news/work-at-the-vhs.)
As a grant recipient, the VHS had to identify a measurable goal for the foster care program expansion. They have committed to pulling 250 additional cats & kittens from Evansville Animal Care & Control in 2021, utilizing primarily foster care. Officials with the shelter say they are already well on their way to that goal. Big plans are being made to recruit foster families for “Kitten Season 2021” starting this spring. Anyone who may be interested in fostering any kind of animal, but litters of kittens in particular, can find information at http://www.vhslifesaver.org/foster!
The Vanderburgh Humane Society is an active partner in Best Friends Network which offers help and support to animal rescue groups and shelters that save lives in their communities.
The Rachael Ray Save Them All Grants is a grant program, administered by Best Friends and funded by The Rachael Ray Foundation™, that provides grants to shelters for euthanasia reduction initiatives. The Rachael Ray Foundation helps animals in need and is funded by a portion of proceeds from each sale of Rachael’s pet food, Nutrish®.