Maddie’s Million Pet Challenge Awarded $7.4 Million Grant to Keep Pets and People Together

MMPC logoThe Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge (MMPC) has been awarded a five-year $7.4 million grant from Maddie’s Fund®, a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals.

The Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge, which launched January 25, 2022, is a collaboration of animal welfare and veterinary experts focused on improving outcomes for all shelter pets and ensuring that pets who already have families will receive the care they need. This program is available at no cost to participants, thanks to Maddie.

“Our goal is for every animal in every community to be assured what we call the Four Rights,” said University of California Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program Director Dr. Kate Hurley. “That means providing every animal with the Right Care in the Right Place, at the Right Time, and with the Right Outcome. This is the new normal communities deserve, and we want to help them get and stay there.”

Many families are facing challenges during this pandemic era without much in the way of a safety net. Housing and job insecurity, evictions, and a fragmented health care system are putting unprecedented stress on families. And for many among the 70 percent of families that consider a pet their member, lack of access to veterinary care is a real concern. Veterinary care is often unavailable due to severe veterinary staffing shortages, impacting the care of pets in the community as well as in shelters.

This collaboration is powered by the University of California (UC) Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, the Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at University of Florida (UF), Open Door Veterinary Collective, and Team Shelter USA. Their experts will deploy to communities across the country to offer free consultations to shelters and veterinary clinics on how to keep pets with their families and out of shelters, as well as teaching veterinary clinics a financially sustainable model that removes cost as a barrier to providing pets with needed veterinary care.

The Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge grew out of the Million Cat Challenge, which addressed the “before, during, and after” for any cat at risk of shelter entry. “The Million Cat Challenge, also funded by Maddie’s Fund, was wildly successful, ultimately more than tripling its goal of saving the lives of one million shelter cats and supporting the adoption of proven cat-friendly methods across more than 1,500 North American shelters,” said Dr. Julie Levy of the Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at UF. “Now in that same spirit we’re inviting shelters and veterinary practices to join us in reimaging community-centered sheltering and care, reserving shelter care for animals with no other options.”

“The combination of the Million Cat Challenge coupled with Open Door Veterinary Collective is an evolution to meet the moment,” said Mary Ippoliti-Smith, Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team. “We have every faith the Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge will create an extraordinary opportunity for animal welfare and our nation’s communities in keeping pets and people together.”

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About the Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge

Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge is a free educational program delivering access to veterinary care through humane, community-centric programming—inside and outside of the animal shelter—to achieve the right outcome for every pet. It is funded by the generosity of Maddie’s Fund. For more information, visit

About Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them much joy from 1987 – 1997 and continues to inspire them today. The Foundation has awarded over $255 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S.

Maddie’s Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility. #ThanksToMaddie.