Press Release

Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust awards $745,000 to Central Indiana animal welfare organizations

Grants address pandemic impacts, support struggling pet owners

INDIANAPOLIS – (March 11, 2021) When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, Central Indiana animal welfare organizations were hard hit. Mandated shutdowns, reduced operations, staff illness, furloughs and falling revenues stressed organizations even as needs among pet owners surged. Job losses and housing insecurity made it difficult for pet owners to pay for food, basic wellness care or spay/neuter surgeries. With ingenuity and emergency funding, including $295,000 from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Central Indiana animal welfare organizations creatively adapted to safely help struggling owners and pets. Now, the Trust is awarding an additional $745,000 to organizations that are caring for Central Indiana’s cats and dogs and supporting pet owners as the pandemic effects endure.

The Trust awarded $495,000 to major animal welfare organizations FACE Low-Cost Animal Clinic, FIDO, Friends of Indianapolis Animal Care Services Foundation and IndyHumane. The Trust also is providing $250,000 in smaller grants of $10,000 to $25,000 to 11 area organizations, including:

Cats Haven Humane Society of Johnson County
Every Dog Counts Rescue Indy Neighborhood Cats
GSD Rescue Indy Lost Pet Alert (IndyHumane)
Heaven After Hell Rescue Low Cost Spay-Neuter Clinic
Helping Paws Adoptable Animals Paws & Think
Humane Society for Hamilton County

“Our community is fortunate to have so many organizations working together toward the common goal of addressing the changing needs of pets and their families during these uncertain times. With this funding, the Trust is making it possible for our partners to help animals before they ever need to enter shelters, like IACS, while also providing the best chance for adoption for the most vulnerable animals that do wind up at the shelter,” said Katie Trennepohl, deputy director of Indianapolis Animal Care Services.

“In the face of their own incredible challenges, each of these organizations stepped up and adapted their operations so they could safely keep serving Indy’s pets. Because of their efforts, animals at risk of homelessness or euthanasia are remaining with their families, unplanned litters are being avoided, and cats and dogs are receiving wellness care. We are proud to support their great work,” said Trustee Kent E. Agness.

Some adaptations organizations made when the pandemic hit include FIDO establishing drive-thru pet food and supplies pick-up, delivery to quarantined or ill pet owners and working with social workers from several nonprofits to provide pet food and basic supplies for its clients. Though it suspended surgeries for three months, FACE still managed to accomplish over 6,800 spay/neuter surgeries in 2020 after implementing a new software system and launching a curbside pet drop-off/pick-up service for safe client interaction.

After temporarily suspending in-person services, IndyHumane also started a curbside service, which enabled it to resume spay/neuter and other services. In collaboration with FIDO and IACS, it held a free drive-thru vaccine clinic for dogs, treating more than 900 dogs and helping pet owners schedule follow-up low-cost or free spay/neuter surgeries.

While the sporadic shutdowns in services caused a substantial decrease in spay/neuter surgeries and adoptions in 2020, intake at Marion County shelters fell 37% and euthanasia decreased 44%, signaling the increased efforts to help pet owners reduced the number of surrendered and abandoned pets.

The Trust’s recent grant funding is intended to expand organizations’ ability to meet the ongoing demands of the pandemic and begin to return to normal operations. Activities include increasing free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and vaccines, continuing to provide curbside pet food pick-up and delivery, hiring surgical teams to restore staffing, purchasing essential medical supplies and pulling animals from large shelters to provide medical care and prepare them for adoption.

Since 2012, the Trust has invested nearly $7 million in animal welfare in Indiana. To learn more about the Trust’s animal welfare initiatives, visit

About the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life, primarily in Phoenix and Indianapolis. The Trust has awarded nearly $338 million in grants and student scholarships since its inception in 1997. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Teri Walker
Manager of Communications and External Relations
Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust