Guiding Principles

As we reflected upon how best to help all living beings through our work and partnerships, GSF redefined our core values and crafted principles to guide our interactions with everyone with whom we work and fund.

While GSF will honor existing commitments, any new grant applications will be assessed based on whether we are mutually aligned. In cases where alignment may not be clear, we are willing to work with groups to find ways in which alignment can be achieved, and if it cannot, then we will look forward to continuing our alliance in some meaningful way that may not include financial support.

Plant-Based Food

Because our mission values all living beings, including farmed animals, we ask that grantees adopt policies promoting:

  1. Only plant-based foods are served at events.
  2. Staff and volunteers to consume only vegan food while representing the organization.
  3. Staff meal reimbursements cover only plant-based foods.

Rescued Animals vs. Bred Animals

For nonprofits that train working and service dogs to help humans, we ask that:

  1. Only rescued animals are used in the programs.
  2. Agreements between the nonprofit and client ensure that animals ready to retire from duty are either cared for by the clients or returned to the nonprofit so they can find forever homes for the animals.
  3. If a rescue animal does not meet training standards, the nonprofit guarantees to find it a loving, forever home and will not return the animal to a shelter.

Humane and Sustainable Practices

GSF looks at the following areas and considers these when making grant decisions:

  1. Use products that are environmentally friendly, plant-based, and not tested on animals.
  2. No animals are harmed because of a grantee’s work.
  3. Any research or scientific studies are not done on animals.
  4. Invest in a socially responsible manner and use financial investments to encourage and influence businesses to adopt humane and environmentally sustainable practices.
  5. Ask vendors, grantees, and partners about their practices and encourage them to adopt humane and sustainable practices (eg not tested on animals, environmentally friendly sources).
  6. Choose gifts for donors that are free from animal products and plastics, have not been tested on animals, and are from sustainable, local, family-owned, fair trade sources.

Although we appreciate your acknowledgment and thanks for our help instead of sending gifts to the Foundation, we’d prefer that all our funding goes toward your important work.

Financial Responsibility

The board of directors and staff of all organizations have a fiduciary duty to ensure that the assets are managed and used in accordance with their charitable mission. GSF adheres to the following practices and looks to our grantees to do the same.

  1. Follow all laws applicable to the organization.
  2. Avoid conflicts of interest for board and staff.
  3. Prohibit any individuals (board, staff, volunteers) from profiting personally from or through the nonprofit’s work and its donor network.
  4. Grantees with more than $400,000 in annual revenue and/or who receive a GSF grant of $20,000 or more, must retain a qualified, third-party, financial expert to prepare the IRS required forms and perform required audits.
  5. Grantees with more than $500,000 in annual revenue need to have a dedicated Finance committee made up of Board members who are tasked with financial monitoring and oversight.

Collaboration and Communications

Programs that involve a variety of partners attract greater attention from GSF. While each collaboration is unique, all have one underlying rationale: working together can yield results beyond what one could accomplish alone. To make for successful partnerships GSF informally evaluates nonprofit marketing materials with the following principles in mind:

  1. Team up with like-minded organizations and involve all stakeholders.
  2. Foster collaboration and not competition.
  3. Be respectful and truthful in all marketing and communication.
  4. Focus on your organization’s efforts and success. (Do not undervalue or misconstrue others’ actions.)
  5. Don’t sensationalize or mislead with attention-grabbing headlines.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

GSF realizes the importance of affirming diversity in its many forms, and we seek to ensure that a range of perspectives, opinions, and experiences are represented in its grantee organizations. Therefore, we ask all our partners to make similar commitments through inclusive policies and plans which outline diversity goals for all aspects of its operations. See our Diversity,  Inclusion, and Equity statement for further information.

ADOPTED: December 3, 2019