John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation: Grants for Animals and Wildlife

OVERVIEW: The Wiederhold Foundation is housed within the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut, but it does not restrict giving to Connecticut. The foundation funds projects that better the lives of domesticated and wild animals, including animal rescue and land conservation.

IP TAKE: This legacy donor foundation prioritizes organizations that are based in or do work in Connecticut. As it is housed by the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, Wiederhold does not maintain its own website.

PROFILE: The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation became entrusted to the Community Foundation in 2012. John and Jane Wiederhold were a Connecticut couple who loved animals, pets especially, but who appreciated nature and wildlife across the board. The Wiederholds had no heirs, and when investor John passed away in 1998, Jane, a former New York City model, inherited assets of $12.7 million, establishing the foundation in his memory. Unfortunately, the Wiederhold foundation does not maintain a website of its own. As a result, no information exists regarding specific program priorities. 

The foundation’s animal and wildlife grantmaking is almost entirely devoted to animal welfare, with an emphasis on dogs and cats. However, it funds a spectrum of domestic and non-domestic animals. As the Wiederholds had a strong appreciation of nature, the foundation makes some conservation grants.

Many grants made in recent years from Wiederhold go to what you might expect from an animal welfare funder. Past grantees include the Humane Society, both local chapters and the federal organization, the ASPCA and the Animal Rescue League of Boston, among many others.

One of the foundation’s largest grants in recent history, however, supported marine wildlife work at the Mystic Aquarium to establish an Ocean Research and Conservation Center. The aquarium has a living collection of more than 4,000 animals including sea lions, seals, penguins, sharks and more. The grant funds a new facility for the aquarium, animal care, water quality work, and research. 

Another interesting branch of the funder’s giving is for veterinary medicine and research. Past investments include a large multi-year grant to support experiential learning for students, as well as research in shelter and conservation medicine fields. Faculty at Cornell are invited to submit proposals for academic programs that involve hands-on education opportunities and research in animal welfare and conservation.

While Wiederholds has its own board of trustees, grantseekers are advised to contact the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation prior to submitting a proposal.  They may be reached at (860) 626-1245 or


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