January 24, 2019
Categories: Uncategorized
dog with money in bowl

What happens when our upcoming Innovation Grants cycle falls right after the American Pets Alive! (AmPA!) No Kill Conference? A fun twist to the Maddie’s Fund® Innovation Grant application categories!

As a sponsor of the conference, we were recently introduced to the American Pets Alive! Recipe for Lifesaving: The 12 Ingredients Required to Reach > 90%. We’re excited to share them with you and hope you’ll incorporate them into your organization if you haven’t already. In fact, we’re going to incentivize you to do so!

For the February 11 – 19, 2019 cycle of Innovation Grants, we will be focusing on eight of the AmPA! 12 ingredients for Lifesaving, and asking that your project falls into one of them (listed below). You’ll notice that the “ingredients” don’t match our Maddie’s Fund Lifesaving Categories word-for-word, but rather fall within one of them. We’ve provided a chart to show you which “ingredient” falls under which Maddie’s Fund Lifesaving Category, as you’ll still need to specify the Maddie’s Fund category on your application.


AmPA’s Ingredients (your project must fall in one of these categories) Maddie’s Fund Lifesaving Category (this is what you apply for on our Innovation Grant application)
Disease Prevention Innovative Shelter Medicine
Intake Diversion Alternatives to Intake
Population-based Foster Program Innovative Foster Care
Progressive Adoption Policies Removing Barriers to Adoption
Progressive (Return to Owner RTO) Policies Innovative Training, Development & Leadership
Sheltered Community Cats Return to Field
 Immediate Make Ready Removing Barriers to Adoption
Large Scale Transfer/Transport Innovative Partnerships


Please note, we are not offering grants for all 12 of the AmPA! ingredients, only the 8 listed above. Additionally, your project must fall into one of these eight AmPA! categories, not the broader Maddie’s Fund Lifesaving Category (for example, if your application is for Innovative Partnerships, but not a Transfer or Transport Out program, it would not qualify for this round of Innovation Grants). You do not need to attend the American Pets Alive! Conference to apply for this round of Innovation Grants, but of course we encourage you to do so.

Wondering how the Recipe for Lifesaving was cooked up? Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) explained that one of the toughest things about the current lifesaving movement is the confusion that surrounds the huge variety of options in lifesaving programs.

“People are left hoping that if they implement this or that, it will raise their save rate because there isn’t clarity on how to put program options together to get to a >90% save rate.  And most programs don’t have a measurable result that you must achieve in order to determine if your implementation of it was successful or not.”

Dr. Jefferson shared the example that when she first started at APA!, they tried to use lifesaving checklists that had boxes for “foster program” or “volunteer program.” But the reality was that Austin already had those programs and was only at a 45% save rate. They just weren’t achieving lifesaving results.

“Without that measurable part of the checklist, the boxes were checked off and there was no way to talk about the quality or quantity of the programming,” she said. “When that happens, >90% is not tangible and appears to be because of a person’s personality or commitment or even community’s attitude. But the reality is that it is just a mix of programs, with measurable success rates, that all add up to >90%. Anyone can make the mix and make sure they achieve success.”

The AmPA! Lifesaving Recipe is just that. Dr. Jefferson uses a cake analogy to explain further.

“Think about reaching >90% as an amazing cake that has just come out of the oven. It didn’t happen by accident. Someone put together ingredients, in the right measurements, in the right sequence and baked it for the right amount of time at the right temperature.  All of it was under the control of the baker and the recipe was used to instruct so that something important wasn’t overlooked or something unhelpful wasn’t added.”

Following that analogy, Dr. Jefferson and her team have distilled down everything they know about No Kill cities (the cakes) into 12 ingredients in the “cake mix”.

Why? Each No-Kill city has all 12 ingredients.

“There may be other programs outside those 12 that exist but they don’t affect the cake baking (like ‘happy birthday’ writing on top of the cake). That is why we focus on just these 12 ingredients at AmPA!.”

Want to take the analogy further? “Those 12 ingredients can be made by different manufacturers (General Mills Flour or Pioneer Flour) but the measurement of them should be the same. So, if you are adding a program to save Parvo puppies, it doesn’t matter if you use the APA! model or the Philadelphia model or private practice model. The only thing that matters is that those puppies are treated and that the goal of that program is to save at least 85% of the puppies with Parvo.”

Dr. Jefferson says for another ingredient such as Shelter-Neuter-Release (SNR), it doesn’t matter if you use the Community Cat Model, Feral Freedom Model, or SCRAP Cat Model as long as 100% of viable cats over 2 months of age leave the shelter alive. Note that not all cities can do SNR but as long as the cats leave alive through a substitute program like adoption (i.e., a substitute ingredient that serves the same purpose like syrup instead of sugar), it doesn’t matter.

“If each ingredient is quantified and they all are accounted for, the cake should bake.”

Learn more about each ingredient in the American Pets Alive! Recipe for Lifesaving: The 12 Ingredients Required to Reach > 90%, see examples, and get ready for the Innovation Grants window to open on February 11th!

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