Phase 1-4 Grants

Maddie's® Idea Lab Phase 1 - 4 projects initially evaluate an innovative idea as a Phase 1 grant. If the idea is successful, there is potential for further phases of testing, building upon the success of the initial idea by testing at more shelters and/or rescue groups with varying demographics, over time. Some projects might enter Maddie's® Idea Lab at phase 1 and others will enter at a later phase, depending on the pre-existing work related to the idea.

  • Phase 1 projects support the testing of a new and innovative idea at a single shelter or rescue group, where the idea originated.
  • Phase 2 projects support the testing of the idea at one additional shelter or rescue group, helping you to learn whether a project can be replicated.
  • Phase 3 projects expand evaluation of the idea to three - six shelters or rescue groups, testing the idea at organizations of varying types.
  • Phase 4 projects evaluate the idea at 10 - 30 shelters or rescue groups, expanding the project to less well-resourced and a broader variety of organizations.

Application Period

  • April 17, 2018 - July 16, 2018


Who Should Apply?

Animal welfare organizations and research scientists who are associated with a University, College, or 501(c)3 non-profit can apply for this grant.

How Does it Work?

Fill out the Pre-Application Inquiry Form and submit it to We'll let you know whether it's a project that we might consider funding. Let us know if you need a research scientist or a shelter/rescue group for your project; we may be able to connect you with someone who will be excited about your idea. Then, if invited, submit your completed application by the deadline for our review.

How Much Money Should I Apply For?

Apply for what you need to complete the project. The amount awarded to Phase 1 – 4 grant applicants depends on how many shelters/rescue groups are involved with the project. For Phase 2 – 4 grants, most proposals include funding for the participating organizations. Funding generally ranges as follows:

  • Phase 1 up to $25,000
  • Phase 2 up to $25,000
  • Phase 3 up to $150,000
  • Phase 4 grants are considered on an individual basis.

How Do I Apply for a Grant?

Email your Pre-Application Inquiry Form to  Then, if invited,  submit a complete application to Grant applications are reviewed quarterly, and are due by January 15, April 15, July 15 and October 15 (or the first business day thereafter if the 15th falls on a weekend). Note that if you submit an application before the deadline, it will not be reviewed until after the deadline date.

Grant recipients will be asked to honor Maddie, the little dog who inspired a movement, through their social media and donor recognition about this grant on their website, donor wall, annual report, newsletter or other promotional materials or marketing communications, as appropriate.


  1. Maddie's Fund awarded a Phase One grant to Longmont Humane Society to evaluate a new program to provide foster care for dogs who are shy, anxious, or otherwise stressed in the kennel environment.The program will involve recruiting and training foster caregivers to provide for the care and rehoming of a minimum of 30 anxious dogs and evaluate the dogs' length of stay, return rate after adoption, and dog behavior.
  2. Maddie's Fund awarded a Phase Three grant to Dr. Alexandra Protopopova at Texas Tech University to evaluate the use of a program, already validated at a single site, to encourage appropriate dog behavior when meeting with potential adopters for the first time.This grant will fund the evaluation of this program and it's effect on adoption rates, at several different animal shelters around the country.
  3. Maddie's Fund awarded a Phase Three grant to Austin Animal Services to evaluate a foster program for medium or large dogs who have been in the shelter for 30 or more days.This program was initially evaluated at a single site, and thus was able to apply to the Maddie's Fund Idea Lab as a Phase Three grant proposal.This grant will fund the evaluation of this program and it's the effect of the program on dog live release rate, length of stay, behavior, and the cost of dog care.