Grants for Cities: Support to Create More Pet-Friendly Communities

Since 2018, Mars Petcare has offered BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ grants to help cities create or expand programs that provide more welcoming places for people and pets.

2021 grants 

In 2021, recognizing that the ongoing pandemic continued to bring hardships for pet parents, the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ grant program prioritized initiatives that support ending pet homelessness and keeping people and pets together.

Five grants of $20,000 each were awarded to Oakland, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Key West, Florida; Dallas, Texas and Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In addition, a $10,000 Vision Award was awarded to Alexandria, Virginia to help create a pet-friendly housing program and summit.

2020 grant recipients  

In 2020, since the pandemic meant fewer pets might be adopted and more families might be required to surrender pets due to financial hardship, our grants focused on keeping people and pets together.

The 2020 BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ grants were awarded in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, supported by a $100,000 matching grant from Mars Petcare. In total, $200,000 in grants was provided to more than 20 municipal and public shelters, rescues or animal welfare organizations.

See the 2020 recipients here. 

2019 grant recipients

St. Petersburg, Florida, to create a comprehensive education and communications program called St. Pete PAWS Speaks, including an educational mini-parklet (a mini version of the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ parklet) that can be set up at events or trade shows to promote St. Pete PAWS and responsible pet ownership. The city is also refreshing signage with seasonal messaging while providing information on how to maintain a thriving, pet-friendly community.

Dayton, Ohio, to help develop a new generation of pet parents by partnering with Wagtown® to teach the fundamentals of responsible pet ownership to students in the community. Following the local launch, the curriculum will be available nationwide, providing students with information they need to become responsible and caring pet parents.

Key West, Florida, to keep off the streets and out of shelters by offering pet wellness services for free or at a reduced cost for income-qualified pet owners. In partnership with the Florida Keys SPCA, the city is working to ease the financial burden for pet parents in need of routine and preventative care.

2019 grants were administered in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Additionally, in 2019 Mars, Incorporated awarded a grant to the Washington, D.C. Southwest Business Improvement District and Humane Rescue Alliance to create permanent amenities for pet owners throughout the Southwest District. This includes adding things like portable hydration, expanded waste stations, shaded areas, educational materials and signage.

2018 grant recipients

Fort Worth, Texas, to implement “Pets for Life,” a national program that provides pet wellness resources to residents in under-served communities. The program supports those who live in areas that have gone without mainstream veterinary care, and provides free services such as vaccinations, spay/neuter, micro-chipping and responsible pet ownership education.

Richmond, Virginia, to work with Pet Partners on improving human health and wellness through the power of pet therapy. The grant supported an effort to increase much-needed therapy animal teams in the community for programs like hospital visits and support for children’s literacy.

Hallandale Beach, Florida, to establish a Responsible Pet Ownership campaign. Studies show that education drives positive outcomes for health and safety of the pet, pet owners and the community. When people are prepared for pet ownership and understand how to integrate them into their homes – less pets are lost or surrendered which alleviates stress on animal welfare organizations.

2018 grants were administered in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Also in 2018, in celebration of receiving nearly 50 applications from cities across the country in our first year of grants, Mars Petcare made a $1 million NUTRO™ food donation to support all cities that applied


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