2023 Award Winners

The 2023 Better Together Awards and Grants program recognizes animal welfare organizations that demonstrate their ability to accomplish more and how their programs and operations are Better Together.

Better Together Community Outreach Award

CSNIP earned the Better Together Community Outreach Award and $3,000 cash grant for building bridges for more access to vet care. CSNIP reached out to frontline human service organizations that were already located in and serving target neighborhoods. Over the course of a year, relationships were established with several local community hubs offering food pantries, employment services, after-school and summer programs for kids, and housing assistance.  CSNIP built a network of 10 community partners that became neighborhood ambassadors, sharing information about CSNIP services, making introductions and referring pet-owning clients to CSNIP.

Michigan Pet Alliance board member Namiko Ota-Noveskey (right) presents the Better Together Community Outreach Award to Sharon Caldwell-Newton (left), CSNIP executive director, and Natalia Schnarrs (center), CSNIP bilingual special programs coordinator.

Better Together Creative Programs Award

Bark Nation earned the Creative Programs Award and $2,000 cash grant for its Pitness Protection program, an initiative to serve local, state and federal law enforcement with the seizure, sheltering and placement of dogs involved in cruelty and/or blood sport legal cases. Bark Nation assists law enforcement with the housing of these seized dogs, alleviating pressure and expenses from local shelters being required to hold court case animals for extended periods of time, which takes up valuable kennel space for adoptable dogs.

Jenna Hudy, Bark Nation shelter manager (left), and Claire McCarthy, Pitness Protection volunteer (right), celebrate earning the Creative Programs Award with canine Peggy.

Better Together Fundraising Award

Humane Society of Bay County (HSBC) earned the Creative Fundraising Award and $2,000 cash grant for building community partnerships to raise funds for veterinary costs.  HSBC reached out to multiple business partners including three local bars, golf course and an annual community art festival to collaborate on new and established events.  Using creativity and relationship building skills, HSBC was able to meet and exceed its fundraising goals.

Deborah Schutt, MPA chair, presents the Creative Fundraising Award to Humane Society of Bay County (HSBC). From left: HSBC Board Member Dani Munsch, Schutt, HSBC Assistant Director Karma Postema and HSBC Director Donna Billow.

Honorable Mentions, 2023 Better Together Awards

So many organizations across Michigan are accomplishing great things by working together. Michigan Pet Alliance recognizes the following award submissions with honorable mentions:

Community Outreach:

  • Little Traverse Bay Humane Society for its lost pet reunification program
  • Tyson’s Place Animal Rescue for its intake diversion program to keep families and their animals together
  • Humane Society of West Michigan for its resource distribution program, working with human service agencies

Creative Programs:

  • Little Traverse Bay Humane Society for its animal transfer program
  • Pleasant Hearts Pet Food Pantry for its resource distribution program
  • Tyson’s Place Animal Rescue for its pet assistance program for elderly or ill owners who can no longer care for their pets


  • Animal Aid of Branch County (AABC) for its annual golf outing