Mission and Goals
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc. Mission Statement
The Foundation is dedicated to advancing the health of all dogs and their owners by funding sound scientific research and supporting the dissemination of health information to prevent, treat, and cure canine disease.
Our vision is to address the health needs of all dogs across their entire lifetime by focusing on all aspects of their physical, mental, and social well-being. We embrace the One Health model as a critical tool to achieving our vision.
Within this mission and vision, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation has three primary goals:
- To fund canine health research projects to the Foundation’s capacity which address the diversity of canine health concerns and may have comparative medicine benefits for humans
- To select and monitor, through a rigorous process, research projects that meet high scientific standards and have the greatest potential for advancing the health of dogs
- To communicate to the pet-owners, veterinarians and researchers funded discoveries that help prevent, treat, and cure canine diseases.
Strategy for Achieving the Foundation's Goals
The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation supports research that will improve the health and lives of all dogs. The Foundation achieves this by awarding grants to scientists and professionals in research that concern the origins of canine illness, the diagnosis of canine diseases, the development
s of effective treatments and the identification of disease prevention strategies.
- Fund canine health research projects through two main grant types:
- OAKs are research projects that are solicited via requests for proposals, submitted through a tiered application process, reviewed by internal and external expert reviewers, and approved by the board of directors.
- ACORNs are seed grants that may be submitted at anytime throughout the year and are reviewed and approved by volunteer experts on a monthly basis.
- The Foundation’s established grants review process is rigorous and stringent. Applications are reviewed internally by dedicated professionals and are subjected to reviews by experts in the application’s field of study.
- The Foundation’s process is distinctive in that it gathers information about canine health priorities from the AKC Parent Clubs as well as dog owners, breeders, veterinarians, academic institutions, and researchers. We encourage our investigators to submit applications based on this feedback.
- The Foundation raises the funds needed to support the canine health programs through contributions from corporate alliances, dog club organizations, and individuals.
- As a public not-for-profit 501(c)3 foundation, the Foundation is dedicated to using it’s fiduciary responsibility to maximize canine health funding opportunities.
- The Foundation follows generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and is dedicated to maintaining data integrity in all financial areas.
- To ensure financial stability, the Foundation’s accounting operations include:
a. Evaluating and updating internal controls
b. Providing timely financial reporting and financial statements
c. Arrange for an annual external audit
d. Closely monitoring the composition and performance of investment portfolio
e. Planning, preparing and implementing an annual budget
f. Updating financial forecasts quarterly
g. Performing cash flow analysis and cash disbursement planning
h. Ensuring compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding charitable solicitations
- The Foundation provides educational material through multiple venues to reach audiences interested in canine health. These include symposia, electronic and traditional mailings, online website, podcasts, and scientific conferences.
Capacity for achieving the Foundation's Goals
Since 1995, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation has become the largest funder of exclusively canine health research in the world. The Foundation raises funds to support quality research to discover: (1) causes of disease; (2) earlier, more accurate diagnoses; (3) better, more effective treatments. Over the first fifteen years, the Foundation has funded over 550 grants totaling $25 million.
- The Foundation provides annual budgeted funding of approved OAK and ACORN grants which have been evaluated for scientific soundness, based on an assessment of the Foundation’s financial strength.
- The Foundation maintains an endowment that provides additional support and stability of the Foundation. In addition, the Foundation uses prudent investment strategies in order to weather the changing economic and political climate.
- The Foundation’s staff is internally responsible for financial reporting, analysis and day to day accounting functions. The Foundation’s accountant ensures timely filings and compliance of all state and federal regulations, including tax filings.
- The Foundation’s Board of Directors provides leadership to the Foundation and ensures operational and fiscal responsibility with an independent audit and finance committee.
- The Foundation employs individuals with expertise in law, negotiations, financial accounting, foundation leadership, scientific research, business process development, grant management, non-profit development, fundraising, donor relations, and club relations.
- The Foundation’s internal project assessment team includes volunteer individuals passionate about canine health and who are professionals in veterinary medicine, clinical medicine, and various fields within scientific research.
- The Foundation’s grant making operations follow the procedures documented in the Foundation’s grants operations manual. The processes are periodically reviewed and improved to incorporate best practices in grant making, technological advancements, and growth of the Foundation’s capabilities.
- The Foundation has a unique relationship with the AKC Parent Clubs and breed foundations. Each organization has a designated Health Liaison that works with the Foundation and their club’s Board of Directors to identify breed-specific health concerns, fundraise for canine health research, and sponsor grants of particular interest to that breed or club.
- The Foundation has invested in technology solutions that provide efficient and accurate processing of grant, donor, and financial information. These include MicroEdge GIFTs grant management system which provides for online submission and review capabilities, Blackbaud’s RaiserEdge for donor management, Blackbaud’s FinancialEdge for financial management, and Convio’s online marketing and content management capabilities.
- To educate about canine health, the Foundation’s established programs include breeder symposia throughout the country, podcast interviews released bimonthly, scientific conferences, videos of scientific presentations, quarterly newsletters, and online resources.
Measurement of the Foundation’s Progress
To ensure the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is achieving its goals, the Foundation takes actions to monitor the progress of its programs and operations. Evaluation procedures of the Foundation’s performance include:
- Quantitative measurement of the Foundation research funding.
Evaluate the distribution of funded research projects in the Foundation’s grant portfolio. The Foundation’s portfolio is analyzed on multiple parameters:
- Number of grants funded per year
- Amount of funds distributed per year
Monitor the progress of the Foundation’s funded research project through mandated bi-annual grant reports. These reports are used to:
- Time period
- Portfolio of currently active grants
- Portfolio of grants funded in the past three years
- Portfolio of grants since 1995
- Disease Area
- Distribution across Disease Areas (ex: oncology, neurology, dermatology)
- Distribution within a single Disease Area (ex: oncology – osteosarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma)
- Research Area
- Distribution across type of research (ex: Genetic Research, Clinical Treatment, Diagnostic Tools, Epidemiology)
- Research which is clearly applicable to human medicine
- Grant Type
- Portfolio of OAK grants
- Portfolio of ACORN grants
- Canine Health Concerns
- Comparison to the health concern priorities obtained through the Foundation’s health polls and surveys
Evaluate the results of funded research after a grant is completed.
- Compare the progress to the original study design
- Identify potential problems or delays in the research
- Ensure grant funds are utilized according to the approved budget
- Provide non-confidential lay summaries to sponsors of individual projects
- Determine if the Foundation must take action for projects not performing to Foundation’s expectations. Projects may be cancelled based on conditions as outlined in the grant agreement.
Evaluate the canine health communication outreach by measuring:
- Number of scientific publications resulting from the grant
- Impact factor and number of citations of publications resulting from a grant
- Additional grant funding received based on results from a grant
- Health advancements utilized in practice for today’s dogs
- Ascertainable translations to human medicine
Evaluate the financial stability of the Foundation through:
- Number of participants in symposia and conferences
- Participant evaluations of symposia and conferences
- Number of newsletters distributed
- Volume of email distribution
- Online metrics:
- Foundation’s website traffic
- Multimedia downloads including podcasts and videos
- Financial reporting and financial statements
- Annual external audit
- Budget comparisons and analysis
Reporting of the Foundation’s Progress
The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is accountable to its contributors and to the public. The following activities are performed to communicate the Foundation’s performance.
- The Foundation’s annual report, which includes:
The Foundation’s annual tax filing of IRS Form 990
Reporting research progress to sponsors of specific grants
- Audited financials
- The Foundation’s highlights for the year
Broadcast Communications through website, newsletters, announcements or press releases
- Grant sponsors are provided special reports based on the bi-annual principal investigator’s progress reports. This report includes:
- Non-confidential lay summary of the research progress.
- Citation list of resulting publications
- The original research project objectives
Presentations at the Foundation’s conferences and symposia
- List of the Foundation’s grants
- Active grants include project abstract
- Completed grants include project summary
- Citation list of resulting publications
- Announcements and articles on discoveries from funded research
- Announcements of newly approved grants
- Release of Podcasts
- Release of videos
- Announcements on Foundation events