Monday, June 17, 2013

About the Nonprofit's Governing Documents, Especially the Bylaws and How They Can Be A Powerful Tool for the Organization's Success

The Bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation are the two governing documents that any nonprofit must create when it is being started up, and then it must have on hand as it conducts its business over the life of the organization.  Nonprofit organizations, when they are started, are required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and often states and other jurisdictional governments or agencies to have specific governing documents finished in order to receive official charity or nonprofit status from them (thus being allowed to, depending on the type of nonprofit being formed, perhaps legally raise tax free dollars, among other rights, for example).

As each nonprofit is its own unique entity so must the founding documents be of each organization.  Similarly, each jurisdiction that oversees each nonprofit is different and has different requirements of what the founding documents are and what they must contain.  Research your federal, state, and local (i.e. county, Parish, borough, city, Tribal, etc.) governments and understand what each requires of a start up nonprofit (charity) where the organization is going to operate (the office location and also whatever geographic region the organization's services will be provided) and on what timetable, so you know before you begin.

[Disclaimer: As is true of every single thing included in this blog, in no way is this post intended to be either legal advice, legal direction, or any kind of substitute for consultation with an attorney.  Do not take it as such.  Instead, this post is merely educational: an introduction to what documents govern nonprofit organizations in a general overview, and it gives some instances (not all) in which they maybe either necessary or helpful and how so.  If you need to understand anything pertaining to the law or legal documents, consult with a qualified credible attorney.]

In a general sense, the Articles are a public document stating what that specific nonprofit is accountable to the public for.  In addition to the IRS, all states require that they be filed.  Articles may be called other things (i.e. the organization's Constitution, Charter, etc.) depending on what type of organization the nonprofit is going to form as (i.e. unincorporated association or corporation), but the phrase "Articles of Incorporation" covers most types of nonprofit organizations.  There are many sections to an Articles document, and I am not covering them here, but the IRS is most interested in the Purposes and Powers clauses. The Purposes clause restricts the organization to pursue only those activities it is allowed to conduct according to the exempt purpose, it has chosen to form under, according to the IRS charity code of all of the IRS's charitable organization exempt purposes.  Today, the current IRS exempt purposes are "...charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals...".  Each nonprofit that forms must select one of these as the exempt purpose it is forming under.  As the nonprofit organization is filing as a "not for profit entity", the Powers clause is where the organization promises not to pay a profit to its members, officers, directors, or anyone; and it also promises here that if the organization is dissolved its assets will be disposed of only for tax exempt purposes or to another nonprofit.

Much more relevant to nonprofit operations and fundraising (which is what I focus on in this blog) are the nonprofit bylaws.  Bylaws state how this specific organization will operate internally based on its mission statement and values and they are legal and binding.  They direct the organization's leadership (specifically its board and as appropriate the executive director) on how to conduct the organization's business now and in the future.  So, it is very helpful to work with a nonprofit attorney familiar with drafting nonprofit bylaws and listen to them.  (If you are needing affordable attorney services see WomenOnCall listed (in the right hand margin of this blog) under Other Nonprofit Resources and Sites I Recommend.  It offers volunteer attorney services, to nonprofits among other services).

Bylaws are not required by every state but they are required by the IRS when a nonprofit applies to become a legal charitable entity.  More than just fulfilling compliance requirements, though, bylaws can be a powerful tool if they're created to be clear, on point (based on the mission statement), and focused.  They are ideally backed by sound recent research and deliberation and consideration among knowledgeable and passionate members of the start up.  Well drafted bylaws can enable a nonprofit to operate more efficiently, effectively, raise support (including donations and volunteers) easier and cheaper, and most importantly can assist beneficiaries more effectively than other organizations that do not take as much care when creating their bylaws. 

Bylaws are living breathing documents. They should be reviewed and considered regularly, probably annually, by a nonprofit's leadership.  As organizations grow over time, their leadership grows wiser or keener, or a beneficiary groups' needs change, or something governing the organization's mission changes, and so on - and sometimes so much so that updates or clarifications are needed in the nonprofit's bylaws.  Guess what dictates how updates or changes may be made to a nonprofit's bylaws?  It's current bylaws!  This document may be updated or changed (to a limit - and to understand this consult with an attorney if your organization is considering changing or updating its bylaws).  Any new or updated bylaws, though, must be provided to the IRS for its records of your organization.  So, to save time and money, ideally, submit the updated bylaws to the IRS before the changed bylaws are formally ratified by your board. Get their authorization of the new bylaws before affirming the new draft.  If the IRS has concerns about fundamental differences between the changes and the organization's mission or other key attributes of the organization in comparison to the proposed updated or new bylaws, they will communicate that and then your leadership can go from there.

Templates exist, of course, of generic outlines of bylaws for any start up nonprofit to utilize as an outline to be filled in by the new organization's key leadership after they meet, deliberate, and determine (clearly and specifically) what the new nonprofit's mission statement is, who or what the beneficiaries are (and why), and how the mission will be delivered to the beneficiaries (or what the organization's programs will be).  Once these paramount organizational principles are finalized and ratified by the board, they become and always remain the backbone of the nonprofit.  As such they are always the first consideration any of the organization's leaders now and forever.  Amid day to day operations questions, challenges, or concerns and while contemplating overarching, oversight, organizational growth and directions, programs, fundraising, and everything concerns or issues that pertains to the nonprofit the mission, the beneficiaries, and the best interests of the beneficiaries and the nonprofit itself are always first - before any personal interest or agenda.  These three fundamental concerns are the raison d'etre for the organization.  As such, these are always first the guiding principle in all decisions for this organization including formulating its governing documents.  These are not any small or minor detail.  These are the reason the organization receives nonprofit charitable status (when it does) and why any entity ultimately seeks assistance from, donates to, volunteers with, or partners with this nonprofit now and in the future.  Before any one's ego, personal agenda, politics, personal insecurities, conflict avoidance, and anything else that this nonprofit's current or future leaders may consider or place first (yes, even before the interests or request of the founder/s) - in professional, nonprofit, best practice, first always comes the missions statement, the organization's beneficiaries, and the best interests of the nonprofit, on its own, and the best interests of the beneficiaries of the nonprofit - always.  A public charity is public.  It is not a private company.  So, personal agendas have no high ranking place in the public interest like the decisions made on behalf of a nonprofit charity.  As such, any nonprofit's mission and beneficiaries and their needs should be studied, understood, deliberated about, suggestions considered, deliberated further, and then clearly defined and ratified by the board before the start up organization creates either its Articles or Bylaws. 

Since a nonprofit's bylaws are "the ground rules for internal operations" (A Nonprofit Organization Operating Manual, Olenick and Olenick, The Foundation Center) what the bylaws will do (and frankly, what they won't do) should be determined before they are created.  Before considering what to include in the bylaws Michael Seltzer in Securing Your Organization's Future advises when about to form a partnership nonprofits should consider the following first but I think it's also terrific advice for those about to create bylaws:

"Legal and fiscal matters take time, but they should be given the highest priority.

"Draft bylaws with extreme care; they determine the rules by which your organization operates and provide the final word in the organizational challenges that inevitably arise over time.  Using boilerplate bylaws may be faster, but working deliberately and seeking advice from managers of seasoned nonprofits is wiser."

I add to Michael's suggestions that day to day policies (i.e. day to day internal operations policies) can be recommended, accepted, and then compiled and kept together (i.e. in an internal policies manual or notebook) and then easily added to or discarded with reason, on the fly, in the future, without having to involve the IRS every time a policy is added or changed, and without having to repeatedly ratify some new bylaws only for an operations policy change.  So, operations policies need not be included in the bylaws.  Operations policies tend to be more under the oversight of the executive director, anyway, and more day to day business so it is probably more efficient and effective that the operations policies as a big binder or as a virtual document be kept in the executive director's office or in their computer and under their purview. 

What are is included in the average set of nonprofit bylaws?  The rules that govern:

"Meetings of members
"Voting members and quorums
"The aspects of the Board of Directors (number of members, length of terms, vacancies, etc.)
"Committees of the board
"Officers of the board
"Provisions for adopting and amending the bylaws"
(Securing Your Organization's Future, Michael Seltzer, The Foundation Center)

None of these topics' governing rules should be added willy nilly - perhaps copied from another organization's or copied from a template.  These procedures are legally binding and will last the duration of the organization's life - hopefully long after you are affiliated with it.  As such, these procedures and rules must be researched, debated, considered, brought to a nonprofit attorney, further debated, and so on until decided upon by the start up's leadership.

Also, the bylaws usually include the following articles:

"1. Purposes stated in the charter elaborated in greater detail.
"2. Qualifications for membership, methods of admission of members, rights and privileges.
"3. Membership initiation or admission fees, dues, termination of membership for non-payment.
"4. Rules for withdrawal, censure, suspension, and expulsion of members (including appeals).
"5. Officers' titles, terms of office, times and manner of election or appointment, qualifications, powers, duties and compensation, if any (for each office, respectively).
 "6. Vacancies in offices or on the board of directors: when they shall be deemed to require action, and the method of filling such vacancies.
"7. Voting by the members, including what number shall constitute a quorum.  This may include cumulative voting, voting by bondholders on the basis of the number of bonds held, and other such special provisions, in many states, but not in all.  Voting procedures should be carefully detailed.
"8. Meetings for elections and for non-election proposes, including notice, quorums and agendas (general and special meetings).
"9. Voting qualifications, individually or by groups, proxies, etc.
"10. Directors' qualifications.
"11. Classification of directors into two, three, four, or five classes, each to hold office so that he terms of one class shall expire every year.
"12. Executive committees of the board of directors to exercise all (or certain) powers of the board between board meetings.
"13. Directors' titles, terms of office, times and manner of election, meetings, powers, and duties.
"14. Convention and assembly rules.
"15. Property holding transfer.
"16. The seal: its adoption, custody and method of use.
"17. Bank of depository, and which officers may act for the organization.
"18. Bonding of the treasurer and other officers and agents.
"19. Fiscal details: fiscal year, regular (at least annual) audits of books.
"20. Principal office and other offices.
"21. Books, records and reports.
"22. Amendment methods and rules for the charter as well as for the bylaws.
"23. Principal committees.
"24. Dissolution procedures.
"25. Disposition of surplus assets on dissolution." (Securing Your Organization's Future, Michael Seltzer, The Foundation Center)

After looking over the common contents of any nonprofit's bylaws, you can understand how, as Olenick and Olenick in A Nonprofit Organization Operating Manual say, "While the articles represent promises to the outside world, a group's bylaws are tools of internal accountability. [emphasis theirs']"  Bylaws minimize oversight and organizational confusion and disputes.

Current bylaws should be given to all members for strong internal operations, but too, to new board members and employees at least upon request if not made public on the organization's website in the spirit of transparency (which builds confidence among a nonprofit's current but also potential members, clients, donors, volunteers, community partners, and the community at large).

Bylaws are helpful not just to comply with various jurisdictions' rules to affiliate and then to remain in good standing, organizational development, organizational operations, efficiency, effectiveness, but too, bylaws are helpful in gathering support by demonstrating the organization's professionalism and accountability to itself and therefore potential supporters of all kinds.  The bylaws may seem like a major hoop to jump through, when an organization starts up, but in fact - it can be a very powerful opportunity - a tool for the organization to spend less, avoid some internal bickering, create clarity, create order and leadership and their roles, and so on.  If the time is taken to really ally a new nonprofit's bylaws with its mission statement and its values and a lot of time, consultation, study, deliberation and consideration, and more of those are involved in creating them - the resulting new bylaws will be powerful and enabling.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Grants for Nonprofits Providing Pediatric Dental Care to Under-Served Communities

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post for more information].

"Deadline: August 1, 2013

"Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Invites Letters of Intent for 2014 Access to Care Grants

"The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry launched the Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC) initiative in 1987 with the aim of providing quality oral health care to children in need. To that end, HSHC has announced a call for Letters of Intent from pediatric dental care organizations for its 2014 Access to Care Grants program.

"Through the call, HSHC will award single-year matching grants of up to $20,000 to support community-based initiatives that provide oral health care to under-served children. Priority will be given to successful programs with the potential for replication in other communities, as well as initiatives that have worked in collaboration with other institutions and organizations.

"Funds may be applied to cover the cost of clinic supplies and instruments, patient/parent education materials, take-home supplies (toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.), education and/or outreach to recruit dentist participation in program activities, and/or other activities with clear, direct impact on pediatric oral health care.

"To be eligible, applicants must be a U.S.-based nonprofit organization or local government agency that provides dental services to children in the U.S. or a U.S. territory.  Projects should have pediatric dentist involvement. If a pediatric dentist is not participating, a general dentist must be involved in order to be considered for funding.

"In addition, applicants must have matching funds — either cash or in kind — equal to the grant request amount at the time the application is submitted.

"See the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry site for eligibility and application guidelines."

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Is Your Nonpnrofit Providing Enough Or Too Many Programs? Too, How Does A Start Up Nonprofit Know How Many Programs To Open With?

In the economy that we've been living in for the past six years, it may seem unnecessary to state that a nonprofit need not overextend itself and its operations by offering too many programs or services, but of course some organization do so.

All nonprofit organization provide programs, or services, or products (or some combination of all three) to deliver the agency's mission statement's goal to the intended beneficiaries it serves.  Programs are the crux of the organization's reason for existing, where it either succeeds or not, and ideally where most of each dollar raised is spent.  The programs any organization provides are why it exists and how it delivers what it does to the targeted population it serves.  The key to noticing what is an over-programmed organization is in beginning with answering the following: How many programs does the single nonprofit offer?  How often are is each program offered in a single year?  What is each program's design and intended outcomes?  What is the scope of each program's service, goals, and intended outcomes?  What are the complete budgets for each program (including dollars raised and expenses)?  Staffing and/or volunteers for each program?  Locations?  Overhead expense for each?  Is enough money truly going to be raised this year and next year to confidently operate the organization and all of its programs?  Is there enough expertise and talent on the organization's board and among its staff to be effective in an efficient manner for all of the programs provided?  And so on...

Yours' may be a nonprofit that is indeed offering too many programs and you or other leadership may not even realize it.

How might a nonprofit's leadership be oblivious to overextending how many programs it offers?  Usually it is because a nonprofit's leadership does not regularly evaluate whether each of its programs are relevant, effective, and being operated efficiently (of course not realizing it perhaps because they are new to nonprofit operations oversight, or perhaps because they are not evaluating beneficiaries' needs annually to compare evaluations' findings to the organization's programming planning for the coming year in order to make adjustments as findings indicate are needed, or other possible reasons (anything from an operational culture of not addressing operations issues, to comfort in the status quo, to top-down leadership that is controlling rather than open/listening and collaborative with its team, and so on)).

(To jump to the specifics on how start up nonprofits, specifically, can avoid over-programming, go to the fourth paragraph before the final one, below).

Whether regular oorganizational self evaluation of operations and programs are conducted at all is an indication of a well: managed, overseen, and operated nonprofit (one worthy of any beneficiary's or supporter's confidence in its programming and leadership's abilities to run the organization in a lean but effective fashion).  For this reason and more, regular (usually annual) programs (and operations) evaluations for all programs and operations are professional, nonprofit, best practices.  Findings from regular professionally conducted and tallied self evaluations enables leadership to see what the nonprofit actually accomplished and from this information leadership can begin to determine what is needed to better (more effectively and efficiently) accomplish its mission's goal.  Any organization that conducts regular self evaluations can honestly understand: where every cent has been spent; what the actual outcomes of each program are; what operations, programs, budgeting, and other lessons have been learned and what solutions to those issues have worked and why those were efficient and effective fixes; who (or what) is being actually served and how often; whether the beneficiary's mission-related needs are truly being served; whether the nonprofit is best serving the beneficiary in the most efficient and effective manner possible; whether the organization (per its mission statement and per the beneficiary's real current needs) is relevant or effective; and where growth is needed to be planned into the organization's programming, budget, staffing, and operations; ideally what new board members with which practical experience and skill sets would best serve the nonprofit today and tomorrow given its (board ratified) goals and vision; any organizational policy, programs, and growth planning; and so on.  In other words, there is no reason for any nonprofit (from small and only volunteer run to world-wide and led by some of the most powerful people on the planet at the executive level) to not be self evaluating regularly.  It would be foolish not to.

Also, each possible finding listed above, again when regularly considered based on actual results, provides a nonprofit's leader with the chance to check what the organization's programs are doing (or not accomplishing) against the mission statement, current operations goals, organizational vision and values, and so on (which should have all been formally board developed and then ratified).  Each organizational self evaluation finding provides any nonprofit's leadership (once checked and actual results have been tabulated and reviewed by the leadership) with a current and verifiable picture of all of the organization's deeds (as findings should come from actual tallied program results and anonymous beneficiary survey feedback and demographic data immediately after each and all programs are delivered (usually conducted according to the nonprofit's service's professional field's own best practices standards).  This what is necessary in order to know what's real, what's needed, and where the organization should go or hold back.

Just as important, after each regional (for the geographic region that the organization serves) study or survey - the nonprofit's  leadership should go through the findings if not the raw data (as it pertains to the organization's mission and programs' goals).  If a nonprofit's leadership does not regularly look at the latest anonymous, representative, and as comprehensive as possible data for the demographics and current or coming needs for their beneficiary population - how does a nonprofit's leadership know whether their organization's programs are still relevant and where new current or coming needs lie?

Finally, If an organization only considers evaluations of its programs without comparing those findings regularly to the latest data on the beneficiary population and its current needs - how does the leadership know what programs are still relevant and what new (mission-based) directions the organization may wish to grow into based on newly discovered (mission-related) needs?

So, after actual outcomes, beneficiaries' current conditions and needs, and actual program results are understood - only then can any organization's leadership make clear, informed, and intelligent decisions based on the nonprofit's mission as to what is in the best interest of its beneficiaries and the nonprofit itself. 

For example, if a most recent programs evaluation reveals that, compared to the previous year's evaluation for the exact program, the number of beneficiaries served is way down - something needs to be investigated and likely improvements are needed or the program itself may no longer be effective or even worth delivering anymore (especially if, say, the cost of this program has increased in the past year).

Or if a nonprofit provides a total of five programs and this year all of the organization's programs' evaluations found that all services have been achieving their intended outcomes and goals and efficiently but, say, a never before served age group is no longer receiving these services from a recently and now defunct separate nonprofit (that used to provide the service to them but has recently folded).  In this case, maybe, as this is a newly discovered, current, and currently unmet need among your nonprofit's target beneficiary population that (because it is directly related to the organization's mission) your nonprofit's leadership decides to research and consider providing these (new) services to this additional (and new) age group next iteration or occurrence of the program.

Or, if a nonprofit conducts a program and discovers if is meeting its intended goal and outcomes but could be run more efficiently - perhaps instead of the nonprofit operating vans and busing participants to the program's location (which the most recent evaluation for the program discovered is a growing expense but one that could be easily reduced by half or more) it decides to find a location for the program to be provided next time that is right in the participants' neighborhood, or easily reached by a main bus line, or the nonprofit chooses to drive participants to the program site location but the number of times each program is held, next time, will be reduced by half (compared to this past year) but will be held for twice the duration in time (so, for example, if this year each program was one hour - next year it will be a two hour event that occurs half the number of times it was held this year - effectively reducing the transportation cost to the nonprofit by half).

Of course, there are all other kinds of possibilities but the above are just some examples demonstrating how helpful evaluations are when and organization considers all of its programs.

Of course, no nonprofit should try to do it all.  Yes, we all care about our organization's beneficiaries but the scope or extent to which we can assist is determined by how fast our organization can grow and what direction each organization's leadership deems it should grow in.  No one wants to take unnecessary risks or over-do it.  Why?  It doesn't make for effective or efficient programs or nonprofits.  Further, you want to avoid mission-drift.  You want to stay on mission and remain efficient and effective.

Start up nonprofits, in particular, are often 'guilty' of offering too many programs at the organization's launch.  Often this is more an indication of the agency's leadership's greenness perhaps not knowing how to design programs, or operating a nonprofit organization for effectiveness and efficiency.  Sometimes, though, a nonprofit's founders are simply trying to do too much for the beneficiaries, and overextending and overly-taxing the organization's ability to be effective, successful, and able to fund itself before it even opens the door to the public.  Finally, some start up nonprofits' founders simply do not know what they're doing on one or more fronts (from meeting actual real needs effectively and efficiently, to understanding operations and what a healthy nonprofit requires to operate and then also eventually grow, and so on).

If the organization is finding that all of its programs are successful and are truly needed (no other entity is providing the program or as well) the issue may be funding.  This, unfortunately, is probably more common that not.  Not raising enough can be a sign that the organization has overextended itself programmaticly but it's also possible to look at he situation as one needing equally serious but different attention.  Fundraising must always be planned out (before a given fiscal year) such that the organization will truly raise everything needed in the operations budget for that year (and hopefully a bit more to save or hold for emergency funds).  If, though, a nonprofit discovers through program evaluations that all really is well (intended outcomes are met,the target beneficiaries, themselves, are sharing (anonymously through surveys) that the service is needed, it really helps, and indications are that the need is not going away anytime soon) then there may be a need to address lacking fundraising rather than ending programs.  This is a growing pain just as much as over-programming but just like over-programming must be addressed head on right away.

How can a brand new nonprofit organization that is going to begin operations, let's say, in six to twelve months from now plan out its operations and growth so that it knows whether the number of or scope of the programs it plans to serve will not be overextending the nonprofit (without having the benefit of conducting programs or organizational self evaluations yet, of course, as it is not yet operating)? 

Any start up nonprofit's founders must be listening and learning and learning and listening and then more of both.  They should be networking, surveying for the geographic region that will be served what similar and related other nonprofit, for-profit, and government agencies are operating and what they are doing for the target beneficiary population, they should also be reading recent pertinent professional studies' findings, reading recent surveys' demographics findings that pertain to the target beneficiary population, and studying what similar other nonprofits that operate elsewhere that have been operating successfully meeting their mission's goals well are doing (or not doing), and more.  The learning curve of any start up nonprofit's founders is steep and ongoing.  They must listen and absorb and they must trust reputable experts.  Professionals with impressive, qualified, and ethical reputations, experience, and credentials in different pertinent fields must be brought on board as either volunteers or board members to be consulted with in designing the organization's mission, to plan out fundraising, develop the nonprofit's bylaws and basic values and policies, and to allow them to design programs.  Once the dream team is assembled (the founders or start up team) people must be trusted to carry through on their assignments and not micro-managed, but rather enabled to do what they need to do.  The result of all of this professionalism is that the true picture of the actual field and what is going on at the moment in the region as it pertains to the new organization's mission and its beneficiaries current but not yet met needs can be best (and in the cheapest fashion) determined.  Where there are unmet needs that match up with the organization's mission and only there is where the new start up should begin considering and studying which programs to provide and how often and for whom.  A nonprofit that wishes to succeed and then grow only need open shop with one program.  If it can sustain them and guarantee effective success for the beneficiaries than more than one is fine if the start up nonprofit has say conducted a fundraising feasibility study and determined from it that the interest in supporting a specific program(s) exists.  In other words - even start up non-profits must have development plans (even before opening the doors) that is truly going to cover all operations expenses for the coming year.  Too, there is no point in replicating other nonprofit organizations' programs especially if those nonprofits are providing real results.  This would not only be a waste for the community but it would be a shame for the beneficiaries who likely need real help regarding a related but different as yet unmet need.  No one finds a nonprofit relevant that is not serving a population that has a real need or not meeting that need effectively and efficiently (from beneficiaries, to donors, to community partners, and so on).

The best way for any organization to know whether it is providing the right number of programs or services for its organization is for it to annually look at its beneficiaries' real current need (that relates to the nonprofit's mission), and regularly evaluate each of its programs and consider all findings and then also compare current findings to current needs and intended outcomes with results.  The organization may not be ready or able, yet, to address all of the beneficiary population's needs that exist that directly relates to its mission statement but that's fine.  It does not have to.  No nonprofit can do it all because no nonprofit can do it all effectively and efficiently.  What any nonprofit does have to do is be able to afford and sustain its successful programs that are actually providing needed results effectively and efficiently today and the organization has to be staffed and run such that it will be able to provide this quality again tomorrow and in the future.

Grants for Animal Shelter or Rescue Nonprofits That Collaborate, Promote, and/or Increase Awareness of Dog Homelessness

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this blog post for more information].

"Deadline: June 30, 2013

"Pedigree Foundation Invites Applications for 2013 Innovation and Operation Grant

"The Pedigree Foundation is accepting applications for its 2013 Innovation and Operation Grants program from nonprofit animal shelters and dog rescue groups.

"Innovation grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 will be awarded to organizations that have successfully deployed creative animal shelter or dog rescue programs. Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to provide financial aid to shelters and rescue groups to help fund basic operating needs.

"To be eligible, applicant organizations must be a tax-exempt nonprofit shelter or rescue group,organizationally stable, and able to demonstrate an ability to collaborate/partner within the community to promote, educate, and/or increase awareness of issues that contribute to dog homelessness.

"See the Pedigree Foundation Web site for eligibility and application guidelines."