Grant Guidelines and Application Process




Please read through the entire grant guidelines and application process before submitting a letter of inquiry (LOI).




- One-year grants between $5,000 and $50,000.  

 - Larger amounts or multi-year grants may be considered, particularly for projects of scale or multi-agency collaborative proposals.   




Humane societies, animal welfare or animal protection groups, nonprofit spay/neuter clinics, wildlife rehabilitation, and nature centers, sanctuaries, museums, zoos and aquariums, educational institutions, or other state or community organizations dedicated to the well-being of animals in our region.  


Organizations in Ohio and portions of the other seven states in the Great Lakes watershed (including IL, IN, MI, WI, Western PA, Upstate NY, and Northeastern MN), reflecting the origin of Mr. Scott’s assets.  The Trust will not consider unsolicited requests from organizations based in other parts of the country, or fund activities taking place outside the USA. 


Preferred initiatives are metropolitan, multi-county, statewide, or regional or involve collaborations among multiple agencies. Requests from small organizations with localized impact are less likely to be funded.



Eligible Organizations must:

  • Be incorporated and nonprofit, with Federal IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
  • Provide evidence of proper financial stewardship and an absence of conflicts of interest involving board members or staff.  
  • Have 100% governing board member participation in annual monetary giving. We also take note of aggregate and average board member gifts in relation to overall group resources.  Organizations that do not have 100% board participation in annual monetary giving should not apply. 
  • Show that project expenses are clearly justifiable as benefitting animals in need.  
  • Only request amounts that are reasonable in proportion to an organization’s overall annual budget. 
  • Pursue a high quality of life for individual animals and improve the situation of significant numbers of animals.
  • Deliver outstanding humane care, in facilities that meet or exceed accepted health and safety standards
  • Have written policies on adoption procedures, on spaying/neutering companion animals leaving the agency, and on conditions for display or release of wildlife, and keep accurate records on intake and disposition of all animals.
  • Have existing resources for “basic” animal sheltering, rescue, and care activities from sustainable sources within their own communities. Shelters and rescue groups will already have the means to spay/neuter animals they take under care, using funds raised from other sources (e.g. adoption fees). 

Previous recipients may apply, although the Trust will not fund any project in perpetuity.




The Trust invites proposals for projects to advance the quality of life for owned, homeless, or wild animals or to address root causes of animal cruelty and neglect. The highest priority is helping organizations go beyond the “basics” with projects that will provide an enhanced quality of life for homeless and suffering animals today and in the future.  The following activities are illustrative of the types of supported projects:


  • Animal Adoption, Behavior Training, and Fostering projects to increase the number and percentage of successful adoptions from shelters or rescue groups, or other non-capital means of expanding shelter capacity.
  • Continuing Education & Training for agency staff or volunteers, to improve the delivery of care (generally in a multi-agency conference or training format), and initiatives to improve and diversify recruitment and retention of volunteers and staff.
  • Humane & Wildlife Education in schools and other community settings, particularly with under-resourced or culturally isolated youth, or adult educational campaigns, such as re: keeping cats safely indoors, getting pets ID’ed and vaccinated, or co-existing with urban-suburban native wildlife.
  • Medical, Rehabilitation, and Wellness Care for Animals, as in initiating the practice of shelter medicine or wildlife medicine at animal shelters or nature centers, improving access to affordable veterinary care for owned companion animals in under-resourced urban/rural areas, or giving special attention to pets of socially vulnerable populations -- lower-income households, domestic violence victims, senior citizens -- or to retirees from racing or other careers.
  • Pet & Feral Animal Population Control through Spay/Neuter programs targeting assistance based on need, generally for owned pets of lower or fixed-income households, for incentive programs encouraging adoptions from public shelters, to help shelters implement a spay/neuter-before-adoption policy, or humanely control numbers of free-roaming community cats or dogs.
  • Equipment directly benefiting homeless or injured animals (matching funds may be required for amounts over $10,000).
  • Information Technology upgrades ($5,000 maximum, limit of one request in 5 years).
  • Other Animal Care Initiatives, such as disaster and emergency planning, preparedness, and response training; special enforcement expenses associated with patterns of animal cruelty in hoarding cases, puppy mill seizures, and dogfighting; projects that celebrate the human-animal bond with companion animals; or wildlife protection focused on native species typical of the Ohio and Great Lakes region, especially involving challenges at the interface between human civilization and the lives of wild creatures. 

Other measures to strengthen organizational effectiveness in providing quality animal care, and other efforts to increase respect for the welfare of animals in society may be considered.


In general, preferred projects help a broad array of companion animals, wildlife, or other types of animals in need. Breed rescues or other narrowly focused groups are less likely to receive funding. Established organizations with proven track records of effectiveness and demonstrating broad community support, rather than start-up organizations are more likely to receive support. The Trust will give preference to projects of scale vs. small projects from the same metro area or county. Agencies that send competing proposals for similar services in a given area may be asked to resubmit a joint request. 





Capital Campaigns and facility improvements: Due to limited funding availability, the Trust is not accepting proposals for capital campaigns or other facilities improvements. 


Basic care of animals: “The basics” cover (among other things) companion animals’ daily physical needs, usual medical care, shelter upkeep and utilities, and staffing costs to carry out these activities. 


The Trust will not fund individuals or government agencies, or for general operating support, for films or other media, for activities related to litigation, legislation, political candidates or ballot issues, for deficit reduction, or for endowments.  


The Trust will no longer consider unsolicited proposals for activities of National scope or significance or from organizations located in communities and states outside the Great Lakes region.  Preselected National organizations whose activities provide direct benefits to humane groups and animals in Ohio or the Great Lakes region may continue to receive funding.





Prior to beginning the application process, please submit a one-page letter of inquiry (LOI) by email only to the Executive Director, Karen Kannenberg at The LOI must include:

  • Brief organizational summary including mission, year it was established and annual operating budget. 
  • An outline of the proposed project.
  • Approximate cost of the total project.
  • Amount to be requested from the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust.

LOI’s should be submitted well in advance of the next upcoming deadline to be considered. Ms. Kannenberg or another representative of the Trust will reach out within 7-10 days to discuss your LOI before you are approved to apply.


The Trust has three deadlines each year for proposals. Applicants may apply at any of these dates. Please request funding for only one project in your proposal. Normally only one proposal will be considered from a given organization each year.




Once your organization has been approved to submit an application, complete proposals should be sent ELECTRONICALLY only to Ms. Kannenberg at  and consist of one copy of each of the following:


  1. Transmittal letter with authorized signature/contact information for the head of staff or governing board.
  2. A concise proposal narrative stating the qualifications of the organization and the principal project staff or volunteers, a description of the project concept, goals and the steps involved in its implementation, eligibility criteria and numbers of beneficiaries, the roles of other organizations involved, a timeline for completion of the project, and the means by which you will evaluate its results. (For the content of Spay/Neuter or TNR proposals, see the additional instructions below.)
  3. Project Budget showing itemized expenses, all sources of support and revenue, and the time period covered. Indicate whether these amounts are committed or anticipated. Explain how you will continue the project beyond the end of our grant.
  4. A completed copy of our "Organization Fact Sheet" (see below), including data on programs and animals cared for during the previous year.
  5. The complete IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status determination letter for your organization. The award of any grant will be subject to our verification of this status and our customary regulatory review process.
  6. A list of your organization's officers and trustees and the total dollar amount of their annual monetary gifts. To be eligible, 100% of an organization's governing board members must have made a monetary contribution to it during the past year. Organizations that cannot meet this standard should not apply.  We also make note of aggregate and average board member gifts in relation to overall group resources.  Please include a copy of your conflict-of-interest policy if one has been adopted by the board.
  7. Your annual report, and membership brochure, if you publish them.
  8. The organization's current and previous years' budgets, its most recently available IRS Form 990, AND an independent outside Audit (for agencies with incomes of $500,000+) or Review (for agencies with incomes of $250,000-$499,999) of annual financial statements.  Organizations not required to file an IRS Form 990 should send copies of their annual financial statements.
  9. Letters of support or other information that may support the request. Multi-agency collaboratives should have a letter or memorandum of understanding from each agency. In-school education programs must have a letter signed by the superintendent or principal authorizing your visits.

Download "Organization Fact Sheet" (MS Word).

Download "Spay-Neuter & TNR Instructions" (PDF).

A representative of the Trust will contact you by phone to discuss your proposal.  Circumstances warranting, a site visit may be arranged. Other parties may also be consulted concerning your project.  All application materials become the property of the Trust and cannot be returned.




Grantmaking decisions are the responsibility of KeyBank's Discretionary Charitable Trust Committee, which meets three times a year to consider applications.  Deadlines for receipt of full proposals are as follows:              


 January 15, 2023      March 2023
 May 15, 2023   August 2023
 August 15, 2023   November 2023


Proposals received after each deadline will be held until the next grant cycle.   Grant awards will be announced within 7 business days after each distribution meeting.     




If your project is awarded a grant you will receive a letter with the terms and conditions of the grant, which you should countersign and return to the Trust. 


Shortly after the conclusion of the grant period (or earlier, if all monies have been expended), grantees are expected to provide: 


  • A brief (1-2 pages) written narrative report on the activities supported by the grant, impact on the welfare of animals in the community, and the prospects for carrying on this work using other resources. 
  • Metrics on project performance should be included where appropriate, and photographs are appreciated. 
  • A separate one-page accounting of the use(s) of the Trust’s grant funds. 

Grant reports must be submitted prior to submitting another application to the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust. If a project is not completed prior to an application deadline, please contact the executive director to discuss an interim report at