Pat Sanford Animal Welfare Award

A generous donation in honor of Pat Sanford has made possible a grants program to support animal welfare in Orange County.  These grants can be used for a wide range of pilot or seed projects or to supplement other programs, projects, and grants which support companion animals, including those animals servicing recreational or therapeutic purposes. Grant awards are currently limited to a maximum of $500 annually and applications must be received by October 8th, 2023. 

About Pat Sanford & the Grant

Sanford is the former Executive Director of the Animal Protection Society of Orange County (APS), where she served for 17 years until her retirement in 2002. During her time at APS, she implemented many important programs, including a huge push for spay/neuter to combat the county’s growing pet overpopulation program. During her tenure, she helped expand the size and capacity of the APS twice, grew its budget and resources, and created a wildlife rehabilitation component that would carry on beyond her retirement.

Sanford was a major voice for humane animal euthanasia in North Carolina, pushing for euthanasia by injection over the use of carbon monoxide. She acknowledged that many of those ultimately euthanized had come from less than ideal backgrounds with hard lives and deserved a compassionate end when euthanasia was the only option. After her retirement, Sanford continued her work for Orange County animals and, for several years, served on the county’s Animal Services Advisory Board. 

Ms. Sanford’s accomplishments in the field of animal welfare are vast and her contributions helped Orange County become and remain one of the leading counties in the state and country for animal placement, recovery, and overall well-being. The grants awarded in her honor will support efforts that exemplify the same dedication and commitment to animal welfare in Orange County.

Application & Deadlines

The grant deadline for 2023 is October 8th. All applications must be received by this date to be qualified for the award.  The maximum award for is $500.

The application (PDF) can be returned in one of the following ways:

  • Via email to with Subject Line: Pat Sanford Animal Welfare Grant; or
  • Via mail or drop off at our facility:
    Orange County Animal Services
    c/o Tenille Fox
    1601 Eubanks Road
    Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Giving Opportunities

The Pat Sanford Grant was originally funded for a 10-year period with a maximum award amount of $500 per year. Donations to aid in the continuation of the grant for a longer period, or to increase a year’s maximum award potential, can be made via the Community Giving Fund by mailing a check made out to Orange County Animal Services (1601 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516) and specifying that it's for "Pat Sanford Animal Welfare Award." Staff discretion will determine how donations are applied unless otherwise specified.

Annual Award Winners

  • 2016 Winner: Pet Pals
  • 2017 Winners: Independent Animal Rescue and the North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center
  • 2018 Winner: Hope Animal Rescue
  • 2019 Winner: Trestle Leaf Web Design 
  • 2020 Winner: Carolina Boxer Rescue
  • 2021 Winner: Our Wild Neighbors
  • 2022 Winner: Meals on Wheels of Orange County
  • 2023 Winner: Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness