The EQUUS Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, promoting the use of horses to enrich the lives of those in need, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to empower, teach and heal.
Our goal is to build a more informed and compassionate America that values the magical and powerful bond we have with horses - a bond that has existed for centuries and is stronger now than ever before - given the evidence offered by millions of people who are connected to horses today.
The Foundation accomplishes its mission by providing financial support through the award of grants to horse-related charities across the United States; operating a network of equine organizations and equine enthusiasts; providing scholarships to reward volunteer service on behalf of horses, offering insight on the management and financial practices of horse-related charities through a thorough review of their operations; and conducting information outreach to educate the public about horses.
The EQUUS Foundation has funded a broad range of programs that are insuring useful lives for horses; most of which are directly involved with horse rescue and welfare, or are providing equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) to the public. These programs require extensive evaluation to determine which ones will receive the limited funds available for grant awards.
The merits of each grant request and the quality of the applicant organization, including its management and financial practices, are carefully evaluated. The selection of the grant recipients by the Board of Directors is based on the amount of funds raised over the course of the year and a set of guidelines designed to ensure that the donations we receive make the greatest possible impact.
A Brief History
The EQUUS Foundation, Inc. was incorporated in the state of Connecticut and established as an IRS tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) public charity in August 2002 so that the donations raised in association with the 2003 Fairfield County Hunt Club June Benefit Horse Show in Westport, Connecticut, could be awarded to several local horse charities instead of just one.
The first grants were awarded in August 2003 to seven locally-based charities. In 2005, the Foundation sponsored another event, this time in Wellington, Florida, which allowed us to award grants to charities in other parts of the country.
The EQUUS Foundation launched its Equine Welfare Network in 2010 to bring together interested individuals with equestrian and horse-related organizations across America and build a support base of equine enthusiasts and advocates.
The Board of Directors of the EQUUS Foundation established the Alliance in 2011 to recognize the contributions of organizations involved in the equine community whose activities and programs complement and enhance the mission of the EQUUS Foundation. The Alliance offers a mechanism to address national areas of common interest in the equine community. The Foundation supports programs of Alliance members that educate the public about horses, provide unique services within the equine community to improve the lives of the participants, and help stimulate advocacy and volunteerism on behalf of horses.
While our goal is to provide financial support to every worthy eligible organization, on the average, less than half of the applicants receive grant awards. In an effort to discover other ways to help, a survey of the equine charities was conducted. The organizations responded that second to financial support is the need for volunteers.
In 2012, the EQUUS Foundation launched its Champions program, an incentive-based equine service volunteer program to recognize and reward individuals and organizations on the its network.
In 2013, the EQUUS Foundation established its Messengers program to bring attention to equine charities that demonstrate a commitment to public transparency by their willingness to publish and share extensive data about their programs, horse care practices, and governance. The Grant Award program was restructed to focus core financial support only to organizations achieving the Messenger designation for programs that are directly impacting the well-being of horses, and of people through their interactions with horses.
What started as a local effort has now become a nationwide campaign to keep America's horses safe, working and loved, with he EQUUS Foundation emerging as the primary organization in the equine community solely focused on both horse welfare and the horse-human connection.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has approved Horse Charities of America aka EQUUS Foundation for inclusion in the Combined Federal Campaign as a member of Animal Charities of America since 2009.
The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the annual workplace charity fund drive for federal employees, postal workers, and military personnel and is the largest and most successful workplace drive in the country. The CFC allows contributors to make gifts only to pre-approved "authorized" charities.
The EQUUS Foundation has earned the GuideStar Exchange Seal, demonstrating its commitment to transparency.
This Best in America Seal is awarded to the members of Independent Charities of America and Local Independent Charities of America that have, upon rigorous independent review, been able to certify, document, and demonstrate on an annual basis that they meet the highest standards of public accountability, program effectiveness, and cost effectiveness.
The EQUUS Foundation was awarded the "Best in America" seal by the Independent Charities of America in 2009.
Of the 1,000,000 charities operating in the United States today, it is estimated that fewer than 50,000, or 5 percent, meet or exceed these standards, and, of those, fewer than 2,000 have been awarded this Seal.