Giving Circle

2021 Giving Circle Grant Recipient: Paws and Think

The F.C. Tucker Giving Circle was established to give agents and staff the opportunity to pool their donations as a group, nominate worthy local philanthropic organizations for funding and then vote on which organizations to support. For 2021 funding, 33 incredible organizations applied and agents and staff selected nine to receive a combined $81,000 in grants.

Each month, we’ll feature one of the nine organizations to learn more about the amazing work they do in our communities. 

Getting to Know Paws and Think

What population of people and geographic area does your organization serve? 

Paws & Think serves Central Indiana which includes the following counties: Marion, Hamilton, Madison, Hancock, Shelby, Johnson, Morgan, Hendricks, and Boone Counties.

Our Programs Serve:

  • Youths who are academically or behaviorally challenged; incarcerated; at-risk of suicide; or lack a positive self-image.
  • Children and adults with physical, emotional, or behavioral disabilities/needs.
  • Senior citizens facing many challenges including dementia, chronic illness, or ongoing disabilities, and those who are feeling isolated, lonely, and depressed.
  • Hospital patients and staff.
  • Children suffering trauma or experiencing the deal of a loved one.
  • School-aged children who have been identified as vulnerable for struggling in school.

What is the story of your organization’s founding?

Paws and Think, Inc. (Paws & Think) is an Indianapolis-based 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001 with a mission to improve lives through the power of the human-dog connection. In the past 19 years, we have developed partnerships and programs that serve those that are most in need of the positive love and acceptance that an animal can bring. Paws & Think focuses on the disadvantaged and at-risk community, both human and canine. Our vision is to create a community where every person who would benefit from a dog has the opportunity, and every dog fulfills its potential.

We do this with two proven methods: one of registering and providing human and canine companion volunteer teams for both Animal-Assisted Interventions also known as Pet Therapy to youth, seniors, and special needs individuals of all ages. The second method is our Youth–Canine Programs that facilitate classes for vulnerable youth and teens, helping them to train shelter dogs with positive reinforcement behaviors.

What one thing most surprises people about your organization?

The fact we serve 60,000 people per year tends to surprise people. We are a fiscally small organization but use every dollar raised to reach as many people as possible. Paws & Think is a highly regarded organization and community partner. It is one of the largest organizations of its kind in central Indiana. Its diversity of programs, memberships, and partnerships with other non-profits and state agencies.

What are recipients of your services saying about your organization?

“The pet therapy we’ve received over the years through Paws and Think [at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital] means the world to Ellie and our family. Even when I may have had the heavy weight of caring for Ellie on my shoulders, and probably have been less than gracious or enthusiastic, these pets and their handlers have helped bring light and joy to the journey that I fail to be able to express properly.

The love with which you all do your jobs is evident, and we can’t thank you enough!”

Ellie’s Mom
(Quote Received October 2020)

If people want to volunteer with your organization, what is their next step?

We can always use help in our Pet Therapy Training Classes and Evaluations. Additionally, we are looking for folks to help with our Youth-Canine programs, to become therapy teams with their dogs, and to serve on committees. With over 500 volunteers, our work is only possible because of our amazing volunteers.

Learn more at:

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?

2020 has been a dark year for so many in our community. While the clouds rolled in, our therapy dogs and youth-canine programs shone bright rays of hope and comfort onto people experiencing their darkest moments. 2020 has been a dark year for so many in our community. While the clouds rolled in, our therapy dogs and youth-canine programs shone bright rays of hope and comfort onto people experiencing their darkest moments. Your support matters because it means we can keep doing this work while adjusting and overcoming obstacles in 2021. With your gift, you are ensuring that our programming won’t stop. You’re ensuring that the comfort, hope, and light won’t stop. You’re making sure everyone who needs it will still get to benefit from the scientifically proven methods of Animal-Assisted Interventions. Thank you FC Tucker Giving Circle for ensuring 2021 will be a little brighter.

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