[Mar. 10, 2021: Matthew Leimkuehler]
MuttNation Foundation — a nonprofit co-founded by Miranda Lambert that aids human's furry and four-legged best friend — announced a $250,000 donation to pet shelters in 50 states this week.
Each shelter receives a surprise $5,000 as part of the organization's annual "Mutts Across America" campaign. Agriculture retail chain Tractor Supply partners with the perennial country superstar in offering funds to shelters or foster-based rescue groups throughout America.
"While the pandemic really opened people's hearts and homes to adopting and fostering in record numbers, shelters were unable to hold their regular fundraising events, which left a big gap," Lambert told The Tennessean via email. "We know that these funds will help shelters continue to provide a great environment for their pets, employees, volunteers and the communities at-large that they serve."
MuttNation vets qualifying shelters based on adoption rate, volunteerism, community presence and more, Lambert said. Her mother and MuttNation co-founder, Bev Lambert, works alongside nonprofit board members to determine who receives funds.
Friends of Williamson County Animal Center represents Tennessee this year (Lambert, a dogged pet owner, hasn't visited Friends yet, but plans to this year, she said). Still, MuttNation launched "Across America" — described by Lambert as a "cornerstone program" — to reach shelters outside of her native Texas and Middle Tennessee home.
"Mutts Across America resonates with all animal lovers because it shines a light on the special work that these outstanding shelters do in their communities," Lambert said. "And, this year, thanks to Tractor Supply's generous support, we've been able to increase our grants ... which is amazing. A quarter-million dollars in grants — that will help a whole lot of mutts."
Like these kind of stories? Get The Brighter Side of News' newsletter.
And the program has reached 350 shelters since launching in 2015. "Mutts Across America" donations total more than $1.25 million, according to MuttNation.
"One of the most special aspects of the program is that the shelters selected receive their grant as a surprise — they don't know it's coming until they receive the check or read about it in the paper," Lambert said.
The donation comes during a monumental week for Lambert. The singer-songwriter announced her new collaboration record "The Marfa Tapes," due out in May; she confirmed she'll become the first woman to open a Lower Broadway bar in her name; and she performs Sunday night at the annual Grammy Awards, where Lambert scored three nominations.
Launched by the Lamberts in 2009, the MuttNation Foundation promoters animal shelter adoption through financially supporting rescue groups, hosting events and offers positive reinforcement for those helping a pet find a "forever home."
Mutts Across America 2021 recipients
Heart of Alabama Save Rescue Adopt – Alabama
Straw for Dogs – Alaska
Arkansans Assisting Homeless Animals (AAHA) – Arkansas
Friends for Life Animal Rescue – Arizona
Sally’s Rescue – California
Great Pyrenees Rescue and Sanctuary – Colorado
Double Dog Rescue – Connecticut
Grass Roots Rescue – Delaware
The Farm Dog Rescue – Florida
Angels Among Us Pet Rescue – Georgia
Kaaawa K9 Rescue – Hawaii
Idaho Humane Society – Idaho
Hope Rescues – Illinois
Heaven After Hell Rescue – Indiana
A Heinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, Inc. – Iowa
LL Dog Rescue – Kansas
Tyson’s Chance – Kentucky
Rescue Rehome Repeat – Louisiana
Rescue Charlie’s Friends – Maine
Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter – Maryland
Sweet Paws Rescue – Massachusetts
AuCaDo: Australian Cattle Dog Rescue – Michigan
Pawsitivity – Minnesota
Dixie Adoptables At Lucedale Animal Shelter – Mississippi
Needy Paws Rescue – Missouri
RezQ Dogs – Montana
12 Hills Dog Rescue – Nebraska
Churchill Animal Protection Society – Nevada
Conway Area Humane Society – New Hampshire
Castle of Dreams Animal Rescue – New Jersey
Sunflower Sanctuary Animal Rescue – New Mexico
Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue – New York
Humane Society of Union County – North Carolina
Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue – North Dakota
Canine Collective Ohio Dog Rescue – Ohio
Second Chance Animal Sanctuary – Oklahoma
Three Rivers Humane Society – Oregon
Home At Last Dog Rescue – Pennsylvania
Heart of Rhode Island Animal Rescue League – Rhode Island
Concerned Citizens for Animals – South Carolina
Hopeless To Homes Animal Rescue – South Dakota
Friends of Williamson County – Tennessee
Friends of Marshall Animals – Texas
Rescue Rovers Dog Adoptions – Utah
Passion 4 Paws – Vermont
Homeless Animals Rescue Team – Virginia
Motley Zoo Animal Rescue – Washington
Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County – West Virginia
Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue – Wisconsin
Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary - Wyoming