PET PROJECT: Animal welfare grants benefit local rescues


HANCOCK COUNTY — Four-legged friends (and some with fins or wings) are benefiting from grants totalling more than $26,000, which were awarded to three local animal welfare organizations this month.

Frenzy Animal Rescue, Hancock County Humane Society, and Partners in Animal Welfare each received $8,865 to support programming, capital improvements and animal health services, including low-cost spay/neuter services.

Katie Ottinger, Community Investment and Grants Officer for the Community Foundation of Hancock County, said the funds came from three different Field of Interest funds managed by the foundation — the Kingery fund, the Yates fund and Animal Welfare fund.

“Each of the three funds were established by generous donors with a heart for the care of domestic animals,” she said.

Betty Wilkins, who runs the Frenzy rescue in a shelter behind her home in New Palestine, was overcome with gratitude when she got news of the monetary award.

“I was very excited because we were down to almost zero in our account,” said Wilkins, who founded the rescue in 2003.

Over the past 20 years, she’s helped place hundreds of rescued dogs, birds and fish in new homes, including roughly 90 dogs and 15 birds last year alone, she said. The generosity of donors is what keeps rescues like hers afloat.

“When donations come in our faces just light up. It’s wonderful. It’s just wonderful,” she said.

Heather White, vice president and volunteer coordinator for the Hancock County Humane Society, said the recently awarded grant will enable the nonprofit to install new flooring at the Greenfield shelter.

“The grant won’t cover the full cost of the flooring, but a good portion of it,” she said. “We are grateful and appreciative to have received this grant, and will be having fundraisers to help with the rest of the cost.”

While some endowments and other funds managed by the community foundation are earmarked for general use, Ottinger said animal welfare funds are a perfect example of how donors can pinpoint exactly how they want their money to be used.

The William Harold and Mary Katherine Kingery Friends of Domestic Animals Endowment Fund was established by the estate of Mary Katherine in 2008. It supports Hancock County organizations providing programs for the care and shelter of homeless animals, the medical care of injured animals and the general welfare of animals.

The Sharon Yates Endowment Fund for the Care of Animals was established through the estate gift of Sharon Yates in 2015, while the Animal Welfare Fund of Hancock County was established by an anonymous donor in 2016.

Both funds provide support for Hancock County organizations addressing the well-being of domestic animals, including but not limited to shelter, adoption and spay/neuter services.

To learn more about creating a fund through the local community foundation, visit