The AKC Humane Fund
A new way of saying, "I agree, I belong, I support."
Over the years, the sport has missed out on numerous gifts and contributions because AKC structure does not allow a tax incentive for donors. That scenario changed in 2007 with the creation of the AKC Humane Fund, Inc.
The AKC Humane Fund is a not-for-profit organization that aims to bring together all dog lovers who are committed to responsible dog ownership. Its first program will be a breed-rescue grants program for parent clubs and parent-club designees.
If the word humane conjures up thoughts of the animal-rights agenda, that’s no surprise. It is a term they want to own. But why should they?
Humane means “marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals.” AKC constituents’ compassion for animals is second to none, and the AKC Humane Fund will embody the strong emotional conviction to the animals we love.
The Fund’s mission is to unite a broad spectrum of animal lovers in promoting the joy and value of responsible pet ownership through education, outreach, and grant-making.
The money raised will create educational programs for adults and children, and provide grants to organizations that support dogs and the people who love them. Educational programs may include a Hall of Fame for our sport, a national award program for dogs that change lives for the better, and other programs that inspire us to do all we can for dogs.
The development of all of these worthy activities will depend on the success of the Humane Fund and the level of support it attracts.
Something Bigger than Ourselves
Many times we hear people say they are “members of the AKC” because they own a registered dog or subscribe to the AKC Gazette. While we know this is technically not true (because only clubs can be AKC members), we also know that people have a yearning to belong to something bigger than themselves that reflects their values. That is why communities of all kinds (including clubs) exist. This new independent entity will allow the Fund to solicit tax-deductible donations in order to champion specific causes as well as offer membership in the organization to those who donate.
The AKC Humane Fund will reach out to dog lovers and will broaden its constituent base by forging relationships with owners who do not go on to breed or exhibit their dogs. Membership in the Fund will be like most charities, in which a donation is considered “membership”—a way of saying, “I belong,” “I agree” or “I support your mission.” The Fund will give a diverse group of dog lovers an emotional connection to others who share similar values when it comes to the human-canine bond.
In 2007, the AKC Humane Fund, Inc., officially registered as a charity in all 50 states and filed a successful application for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Late that year, the Fund began accepting inaugural membership pledges by inviting clubs, individual fanciers, and others to be the founding members of this important organization and help bring its mission to life.
When the Fund was launched, the American Kennel Club donated a wall in its headquarters to serve as the Fund’s permanent wall of honor for Founding Members. Founding Members are honored with a personalized plaque to mark their donation of $1,000 or more. (Donations of any amount are welcome and acknowledged on the Fund’s web site.) These individual plaques state the member’s name as well as additional information as requested by the donor, such as “in honor of” a particular friend, club member or dog, or “in memory of” a lost loved one.
Within less than a year of the Fund’s formation, nearly a 150 individuals, clubs, and corporations have come forward to join the organization as Founding Members. The first parent club to stake its claim on the wall of honor was the Clumber Spaniel Club of America. The first individual donor to join was AKC Delegate Ann Lettis (Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America), who made her contribution to the Fund “in honor of all dogs.” Several AKC Breeder of the Year honorees have chosen to honor friends, family, and foundation stock with their own plaques for the Wall of Honor. These include Founding Members Wayne and Jean Boyd, Rivergroves Great Pyrenees; George and Kathy Beliew, Imagine Chows; Dr. John and Susan Hamil, Quiet Creek Bloodhounds; Barbara Miller and Susan Kipp, Max-Well Norfolk Terriers; and Catherine B. Nelson, Pennywise Dandie Dinmont Terriers.
The first corporate donation came from Pfizer Animal Health, which supported the Fund in the name of its National Canine Weight Check campaign in February of this year. In 2009, on the Sunday before Westminster, Bonhams will again invite the dog fancy to wine and dine in the company of exquisite dog art at the annual “Barkfest at Bonhams” charity brunch. All proceeds will benefit the AKC Humane Fund.
A series of remarkable paintings featuring sheepdogs, and a rare book, were donated to the AKC Humane Fund by Founding Member Mona Berkowitz. These marvelous works are on display at the AKC.
On your next visit to the American Kennel Club, you may see even more art and collectibles donated from the fancy to the AKC Humane Fund. The Fund is pleased to be able to provide this new opportunity to bequest items for display at the AKC, for the first time with a tax deduction to the donor.
To all our new Founding Members—and those considering joining—thank you for your support.
If you would like to become a Founding Member acknowledged with your own personalized plaque, or to make a contribution of any amount, please contact Daphna Straus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-696-8243.