How was 400 Paws, Inc. started?
I am a huge animal lover and have had pets all my life. My mom and grandma started me out in the world of animal shelters at the age of 12. We volunteered at the local animal shelter every Tuesday & Thursday and participated in numerous fundraising events throughout the years. After being involved for so many years and seeing the incredible amount of homeless, abandoned and abused animals, I knew I wanted to do something to make a difference.
So many animals die each year from abuse, abandonment, a horrible existence in a puppy mill or simply their time is up at the shelter. No one wants them… they are tossed aside like trash. Luckily many shelters now have adopted a no kill policy, but that means there are many animals that need care and need to get adopted to make room for new ones. I have had my eyes opened in the last couple of years to the amount of sadness animals experience. It’s unfair and they deserve so much more out of life.
After much thought and praying about what I could do… 400 Paws was born. Our organization helps animals have better lives and hopefully find their furever home. The most needed item in any shelter or rescue in money. With extra funding, shelters and rescues are able to care for more homeless and abandoned animals. Getting them off the streets, out of the hands of cruel humans, providing medical attention, a warm bed, food, clean water and a little unconditional love is all these animals ask for.
I think my grandma would be proud that I have continued her legacy for helping animals. I know she’s in heaven looking down as she takes care of all the little furry ones that have crossed the rainbow bridge. And to carry on the tradition of helping animals, my incredibly sweet grandson, Cole. He wants to be a “petrinarian” when he grows up and work in the Vet Hospital at Auburn University. Im one proud GeeGee!!
Who are members of 400 Paws, Inc.?
Members are individuals that wish to help provide for animal shelters and rescues in the surrounding counties. Each member pays a membership fee of $400.00 each year. 100% of your donation goes to help fund animal shelters and rescues. As a member, you will have voting rights for the qualified applicants that you choose to receive the awarded funds. The organization(s) with the most votes will receive the funds. Even if your choice does not win, the animals win because your donation goes toward helping them.
I want to be a part of this organization but I don’t have $400.00 right now.
We accept payments on a monthly or quarterly basis to best suit your budget. You can also be a Furry Friend Member, which only requires a donation of your choice to help cover administrative cost. We also have a memorial or Needy Paws Fund donation category for whatever amount you choose.
How many organizations are awarded each year?
The Board of Directors makes that determination before the application process begins. We take into consideration the needs of the organizations, number of applicants and the amount of donations we have collected to make the determination.
What communities and what organizations are included?
Our focus is on the following counties in Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Walton and Okaloosa. Any non-profit animal shelter or rescue that provides for animals (whether it be dogs & cats, equine or wildlife) can apply.
What are the requirements of the applicants?
We have an application process and each organization must follow our guidelines. They cannot be funded by federal or local government and they must be a recognized non-profit, tax-exempt organization under IRC section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service. They must have a specific purpose for the awarded funds. We will also follow up and keep in touch with these organizations to verify the funds are being used within our guidelines. They must also be a no-kill shelter.
How do members vote?
You will be mailed an overview of each applicant around February 12th along with a voting ballot and instructions of how many applicants you can vote for. As a member, you will vote on the applicants you wish to be awarded funding. The deadline for voting is March 1st. The Board of Directors tabulates the votes and announces the winners at an awards ceremony, to which members and all applicants are invited.
How does 400 Paws pay for expenses and administrative cost?
We do not have paid employees and we try to keep our cost as minimal as possible. We accept donations at the Furry Friend level and memorials to help cover these costs. If all expenses are paid at year-end and there are substantial funds left from these donations, we will, by vote of our Board of Directors, transfer these funds to the award total or use for our Need Paws Fund.
What is the Wish List?
Every organization that applies may include a wish list of items they need throughout the year. We encourage our members to review these lists, contribute when possible, and help spread the word.