Sam Simon Foundation: Grants for Animals and Wildlife

OVERVIEW: The Sam Simon Foundation invests in animal groups, as well as rescued, abused, or captive animals.

IP TAKE: Simon’s philanthropy is a bit hard to fully grasp, as it’s happening very quickly ever since his cancer diagnosis. We do know that almost all of his fortune will go to charity, he’s giving away everything he can while he’s alive, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors is helping him set up his trust for beyond his death. 

PROFILE: Established in 2002, the Sam Simon Foundation was created by Sam Simon, best known for his work on The Simpsons. He was also a writer, producer and director of Cheers, The Tracey Ullman Show, The Drew Carey Show and Taxi. A television comedy legend, Simon sought to give away all of his wealth prior to passing away in 2015. The foundation seeks to "[save] the lives of dogs, to enrich the lives of people," and invests in animal rescue, anti-whaling, and canine rescue and training for the hearing impaired and veterans.

The Sam Simon Foundation's animal welfare and wildlife grantmaking centers on both animal and canine rescue and training. It arranges for pet visitations for people in assisted living, and pet adoptions for the dogs that do not become aid dogs. The foundation also runs a mobile veterinary clinic to perform spay/neuter and other operations. The foundation supports both small and large organizations. PETA has enjoyed funding for several years as Simon served on its executive committee. He cited PETA President Ingrid Newkirk as a big influence on his giving. Indeed, the organization named its Virginia headquarters the Sam Simon Center to honor his memory. Simon began buying animals in coordination with the group, specifically zoo animals, circus animals, and an abused racehorse. Simon once bought a chinchilla ranch on PETA’s behalf, donating 422 animals to the San Diego Humane Society and calling the ranch a “fur farm.” Past grantees also include the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which is stationed in the Pacific on a 182-foot former research vessel. It also serves, in coordination with four other ships, to conduct anti-whaling operations. 

KEY PEOPLE:

  • Sam Simon, Founder
  • Barb Velasquez, Assistance Dog Program Director
  • Hannah Lieberman, Mobile Clinic Director
  • Dr. Rick Mori, D.V.M.

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