Animal Grantmakers began in 1999 as a voluntary association of foundations and organizations that provide grants to benefit animals. At the time, only a handful of philanthropists had a focus, entirely or in part, on animal protection, and resources and data to help guide animal grantmaking were scarce.
A short time earlier, seeking likeminded individuals, a few of the original founders of Animal Grantmakers became acquainted at a convening of foundations that shared an interest in environmental projects. The encounter gave them the idea to form an affinity group of animal grantmakers, and the new friends departed agreeing that they would soon hold the first-ever meeting of foundations to support animal welfare in a significant way.
On November 15, 1999, the founding members of Animal Grantmakers hosted 16 organizations at an informal, one-day workshop in Arlington, VA to explore issues and opportunities, and possible problems affecting animals. A second, larger multi-day meeting was held a year later in Dallas, TX, and Animal Grantmakers officially began to take root.
Today, Animal Grantmakers is comprised of nearly 40 member organizations, and is a key part of the growth seen in animal protection funding over the years.