Animal Protection Program

Due to the large number of proposals already under consideration, our next window for submitting LOIs will be July 1-July 8 for possible consideration at our September 21, 2024 Board of Directors meeting. Please note the portal may close earlier if 150 LOIs have been submitted. 


Animal Protection Program Overview

The Summerlee Foundation promotes a new ethic toward our fellow beings, supporting efforts to research, rehabilitate, rescue, protect, and advocate for animals. Our grantees give second chances to companion animals and injured or orphaned wildlife, provide refuge and sanctuary for exploited wild and domesticated animals, increase the understanding and protection of wild carnivores, and bring about the demise of policies and practices that abuse animals. Collectively, we alleviate fear, pain, and suffering in animals’ lives, advance and expand the rights of animals, defend the laws that protect them, and create policies and programs to address new grievances against them. Through thousands of grants totaling over $60 million and counting, the Summerlee Foundation is honored to play a small role in the accomplishments of so many passionate, committed organizations in their tireless work to protect animals.

Program Goals

Our aim is to help the most overlooked, underfunded, and heavily exploited animals. The majority of our funding goes to small and medium-sized, lean and agile groups where we believe our contribution can be used quickly and have an outsized impact. We believe in balancing hands-on, urgent, direct care for individual animals with efforts to address the root causes of suffering to affect a more enduring, systemic change. We know we can’t often rescue, adopt or rehab our way out of core problems.


The Americas with special emphasis on those communities that are the most underserved and the most challenged.


  • Cats only in the United States and Canada – The tragedy of cat overpopulation and homelessness in this country results in intense and immense suffering due to disease, starvation, and inhumane practices by some local communities and agencies. Funding emphasis is on sterilization and vaccination primarily in rural or underserved communities.
  • Dogs only in the United States, Latin America or living in First Nations/Native American communities – Emphasis on sterilization, vaccination, and humane euthanasia.
  • Wildlife – Primarily mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and black bears, funding only those programs which protect through ethical-based research and advocacy/educational campaigns.
  • Marine Life – Emphasis on addressing marine mammal issues, health and well-being and anti-captivity (dolphins and orcas).
  • Sanctuary for Captive Wild Animals – Captive wild animal sanctuaries should be verified or accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation – Emphasis on hands-on animal care and well-being (emergency rescue, food, medications, housing improvements).
  • Emergency funding for animal cruelty cases – May be awarded through the Annie Lee Roberts Emergency Animal Rescue Service Fund administered by Greater Good Charities, Denise Bash,

Eligibility & Guidelines

Must be a 501(c)(3) public charity. We do not fund individuals. Animal sanctuaries must be accredited or verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. With rare exceptions we do not fund capital campaigns, endowments, buildings, government entities, organizations with large cash reserves, organizations that do not have animal protection as the primary purpose.

We also respectfully ask organizations to wait 18 months between receiving a Summerlee Foundation grant and applying for another. This spacing allows us to reach more and new organizations rather than fund the same (albeit great) organizations year after year.

Application Process

We strive to make it easy to apply to The Summerlee Foundation, provide funds with the fewest possible strings or conditions (most grants are general support) and then request a reasonable amount of grant reporting, including a simple final report. We want to be of assistance, not a burden.

The first step in the grant process is to submit a Letter of Interest during one of the designated periods prior to our board meetings in February, May, and September. Our grant process is fully online and you can find detailed instructions on the How to Apply page.

Thank You

Thank you for your interest in the Summerlee Foundation and for being an animal advocate. While we celebrate many successes, we must also confront the emerging and expanding threats to our most vulnerable animal populations such as climate change, persecution and exploitation of animals on an industrial scale, wildlife extinction and disease, companion animal abandonment, and intentional cruelty and neglect. The challenges are serious and many. By working together, creatively and opportunistically, with vision and wisdom, we will continue to protect and give aid to the underserved, persecuted, and voiceless.

The Summerlee Foundation is enormously proud of the dedication and achievements of our grantees and congratulates all animal advocates for their vision, commitment, and ability to make a difference in the lives of so many.

Mitchell Fox, Program Director,

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