Maddie's Fund Policy on Funding Government Programs and Mandates
Maddie's Fund® does not provide funding for government programs, including state and local animal care and control mandates. This policy applies to mandatory spay/neuter laws, as well as to other requirements imposed by federal, state and local legislation. Reasons for this policy include:
Maddie's Fund wants to help the community become an extension of the safety net for animals, not do government's job. Maddie's Fund wants to be a positive force for change by promoting charity, volunteerism, and compassion through support of grassroots organizations and local not-for-profit animal shelters. Our grant dollars are therefore reserved for community projects that provide positive incentives for people to do the right thing and demonstrate their compassion. That's not to say there's not a role - and an important one - for government animal control programs, anti-cruelty and licensing laws, and other legislative mandates. But the enactment, enforcement, and funding of these programs and mandates are the responsibility of government. Maddie's Fund doesn't want to supplant government or become an alternate source of funding for government programs. Rather, we want to put our grant dollars to work to help build healthy community charities capable of extending the safety net of care for animals.
One size doesn't fit all, and no one knows better than the local community what's needed in their hometown. Maddie's Fund believes those who live in a community, its citizens and taxpayers, have the right to determine how best to meet local needs, including local animal needs. Some communities may opt for legislative mandates backed by rigorous enforcement; others may seek different solutions. But this decision belongs to the community, particularly when it involves controversial legislation like mandatory spay/neuter laws. We don't think private foundations, or other private interests, should be able to influence the passage of new laws and "buy" legislation by promising to underwrite government costs. In our view, it's the people in each community who should decide, based on what they know works best in their hometown.
Maddie's Fund is there to fund a growth in animal lifesaving, not provide different dollars to pay for what's already required or being done. Whatever path a community takes to meet animal needs - whether a government mandate or voluntary initiative - the ability to monitor success or failure is vital. But this ability may be compromised if charities step in to underwrite or subsidize government programs, as animal charities are often asked to do. With charitable dollars in hand, budget-conscious officials and legislators can redirect taxpayer dollars to other uses. Overall funding for animals is thereby reduced, and both the government's animal control programs and the charity's independent initiatives stand to suffer - with each side blaming the other for the shortfall. The net losers, of course, are the animals. That's why we think the responsibilities of government and charity should be kept separate and distinct, with each accountable for its own programs.