Here is our application for an innovation grant from Petco Foundation

(Please keep in mind that we are asked to address certain topics in our appeal.)




Two things are absolutes in companion animal rescue, companion animal fostering, and companion animal transport: These dedicated souls are short on MONEY and short on TIME. Chappy & Friends aims to fix those problems in a unique way with a concept has been proven in many other walks of life. Chappy & Friends has as its vision thousands of grass roots individuals and groups rising up to address the needs of homeless, abused, neglected, and injured companion animals. Chappy & Friends will launch, nurture, and sustain these “projects” by creatively “lending” our 501(c)(3) status to non-501(c)(3) individuals and groups working to improve or to solve the plight of these beautiful creatures.



Chappy, the inspiration for Chappy & Friends, is an 11-pound Havanese-Poodle. He was a breeding dog in a TN puppy mill for 5 ½ years. After adopting and getting to know Chappy and his special needs, I wanted to do something innovative, new and exciting to help animals like him. I drew on my background in Finance and Entertainment and recognized an area that was not well developed for animals. That area is fiscal sponsorship.



As a brand new nationwide fiscal sponsor for animals, Chappy & Friends steps in to free up the folks on the front lines of animal welfare to focus on what they do best: HELP ANIMALS. How do we do this? We offer a 501(c)(3) umbrella to those that don’t have the time, the money, or the inclination to start and run their own tax-exempt organization. Once a project comes under our 501(c)(3) umbrella, the project gains the ability to raise money in a way that allows its donors to take tax deductions. It also allows the project to apply for grants. (Grant makers invariably require applicants to have 501(c)(3) status.) Chappy & Friends projects don’t have to form or manage a board of directors. There is no expensive 501(c)(3) to apply for and there are no 990 reports to file with the IRS.



In my work in NY theater, I had come across a fiscal sponsor that helps individuals and organizations in the arts get off the ground. That organization is Fractured Atlas. They serve about 4,000 active projects at this moment. Last year their projects raised a total of about $23 MM. That is a pretty remarkable number. Remember, these are not well-established people and groups, they are grass roots! They are oftentimes sculptors or filmmakers creating a one-off sculpture or a low budget film. They may be a brand new theater company producing their first play or musical. Fiscal Sponsorship is a proven concept in the arts and in local and regional communities across the country.


I looked at this and saw this concept as directly applicable to those doing humane, front line work for companion animals. People or groups wanting to be involved in rescue, foster, transport, spay-neuter, or even advocacy programs, but NOT knowing where to turn to get their start. Could fiscal sponsorship actually ignite the dreams of thousands of individuals and groups that want nothing more than to put their passion for companion animals to work?



I did an extensive search of the fiscal sponsor concept as it applied to animals. There were no nationwide fiscal sponsors dedicated solely to helping animals. Yes, some local and regional fiscal sponsors are willing to take on animal welfare projects, but they also are willing to take in a broad variety of other community projects. They have no expertise in the companion animal welfare arena. Working with rescues, foster programs, transport groups, spay-neuter, and other groups in service of companion animals can be tough sledding. Compassion fatigue can set it. It helps to have experience in the field…



…experience like that of Robert Bills, our founder. Robert’s mission in life is to save as many animals as possible. This mission came to full flame after Robert adopted Chappy. He began extensive networking of animals on Facebook, he drove in transports, he donated to animal organizations big and small, and he fostered a pit bull named Lance. (Robert nicknamed him, “Fancy Pants Lance” and made up business cards to help him get adopted.) He took classes at the Humane Society Academy on Humane Education. He still volunteers at the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago where he works in Humane Education. He has had 2 dogs, 5 cats, and a cockatiel. Robert, as a former Finance academic at major universities, has familiarized himself with research into the problems causing companion animal euthanization rates to be so high. He is particularly fond of the comprehensive solution outlined in Getting to Zero, by Peter March that describes the success in New Hampshire in dramatically reducing euthanization to near zero. (So low is the homeless population, that people queue up to adopt animals arriving by transport from high kill areas.)



We just got our 501(c)(3) status in October. It took another month or so to figure out how to legally accept donations in all 50 states. Our website is finished, state-of-the-art, and looking good! ( Chappy & Friends is now seeking projects. We need money to get the word out about the services we can offer those helping companion animals. That is the reason for our innovation grant application. We are truly ready to hit the ground running.