Jackson Galaxy & Other Foundations Will Invest In Ideas To Save Homeless Pets

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on February 13, 2018

The future of animal welfare is being made as the Innovation Showdown launches for the second year in a row.

Last year, top animal-saving organizations and charities joined together in a competition modeled after “Shark Tank” with one goal in mind: they wanted to encourage every animal rescue volunteer, shelter staff member, and animal advocate in the country to think big about possible ways to save more homeless animals.

The Petco Foundation, Jackson Galaxy Foundation, and several other organizations have made the project possible, and rescue organizations and animal shelters from across the country are pitching creative ideas to stop the needles euthanization of animals. Last year’s competition was an overwhelming success, and they’re getting ready to do it again.

Image via Petco Foundation


Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet show “My Cat From Hell,” is investing in these ideas to find solutions to age-old problems. A lack of funding, not enough room inside shelters, insufficient resources, and too few people adopting are all at the top of the list of problems needing to be solved. The Innovation Showdown is a collective effort to find and support the people with the best ideas to make real change. Galaxy told iHeartCats,

“There are a few major reasons why organizations should be incentivized to join us–the first being that eight of the nation’s top animal welfare organizations are coming together for this event and there is $350,000 in funding available to help make life-saving ideas a reality.

The second reason is that it’s a challenge to these organizations to innovate past where they might have imagined before and really up their game. Accepting this challenge can affect their organization from a morale standpoint, [and] from a bottom line standpoint, it energizes their donor base in new ways and also draws positive attention to their mission from potential new donors.

But, for me personally coming from a shelter worker standpoint, I want people in animal welfare organizations to know that their individual contribution can put a permanent footprint in the evolution of our mission.”

Image via Petco Foundation


The 2018 Innovation Showdown is attracting animal advocates from all over. They’re sending in video pitches of their ideas on how to save lives in their local areas. According to Galaxy, the finalists will be chosen based on their “know-how and capability to successfully launch their idea with the investment available.” Participating organizations including the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, the Petco Foundation, the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, and more have made a combined pledge of $350,000 to invest in the right ideas.

While the investors on “Shark Tank” are focused on financial ROI (return of investment), Galaxy and the other Innovation Showdown investors are looking for life-saving ROI. Galaxy explains the concept, saying,

“Our version of ROI replaces financial gain with lives saved. Simply put, instead of dollars returned for dollars invested, we’re looking for lives saved from dollars invested.”

The ideas focus on making the lives of thousands of rescue cats and dogs better. Investors are determined to help people put their ideas into motion. Non-profit animal charities, municipal animal welfare organizations, and for-profit companies that focus on animal rescue are eligible to submit their best ideas. A judging panel of investors will select a group of finalists to present their ideas live on stage at the Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Care Expo.

Last year, Animal Care Centers of NYC won $100,000 with their idea to place interactive touch screens in public areas to promote adoption. Galaxy told iHeartCats,

“Last year’s winners proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Innovation Showdown formula works.”

Several other organizations including the Brandywine SPCA, Animal Advocates of South Carolina, and Dallas Pets Alive were also awarded funds to help their ideas come to life.

The 2018 Innovation Showdown is underway, and video submissions are being accepted until February 16. This year’s competition is expected to be bigger with a wider scope than the year before. Investors are ready to help local organizations make the change animals need. Galaxy said,

“Speaking personally, I couldn’t be more thrilled to watch the idea that we started with get to a point where the end result can be filtered through some of the best minds in this movement and with the investment dollars to change the landscape completely.”

Visit the Petco Foundation website to learn more about the Innovation Showdown. They’re looking for every idea with potential to save lives. Send in your video for a chance to make a big difference in your local rescue community.

Featured image provided by the Petco Foundation