Pets: The local shelter works to find homes for needy animals. Courtesy photos

The newly launched Santa Monica Animal Shelter Foundation (SMASF) is on a mission to provide Santa Monica’s shelter with the resources it needs to rehabilitate abandoned animals and is looking for community members to help.

According to SMASF Board Chair Carmen Molinari, help can come in many forms be it volunteering time or skills, donating money or items, or even becoming a board member.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to get involved and help save lives,” said Molinari, who has volunteered at the shelter for over 10 years. “Any way that you contribute you will affect an animal’s livelihood and enrich the life of that pet.”

The Santa Monica Animal Shelter, in partnership with the Animal Control arm of the Santa Monica Police Department, rescues animals and helps them find new homes. Due to the City’s Covid-19 budget cuts, the shelter lost significant funding and staff members and needs help from the community to provide the best care possible for its animals.

While the shelter is a City run organization, the Santa Monica Animal Foundation is an independent non-profit designed to support the shelter’s work. It was formerly known as Friends of the Santa Monica Animal Shelter and has recently rebranded with a new mission statement and fresh set of board members.

“We want to ultimately encourage the community of Santa Monica to adopt the shelter themselves,” said Molinari. “Even if they can’t adopt an animal or give money there are many ways that they are able to help accomplish our mission for the shelter.”

Currently the foundation is trying to raise money to provide the shelter with a dog grooming tub and table, exam table with a lift and lamp, and a treadmill.

The two tables will help the shelter provide essential healthcare and grooming services for rescued animals while the treadmill will provide an exercise outlet for the larger dogs. While there isn’t enough staff capacity to walk all the animals everyday, treadmills are an essential tool in keeping the dogs healthy and in a good temperament.

Community members can learn more about how to get involved with the shelter and make a donation at

The foundation is also looking for new volunteer board members who have a deep love for animals and want to take on an active role supporting the shelter. Useful skills include experience in fundraising, non-profit management, marketing, legal services, entrepreneurship, and grant writing.

All Santa Monica residents are eligible and those interested in applying should email a resume and cover letter with the subject line “SMASF Board Member Application” to

Other ways to help out include volunteering time at the shelter, donating items like blankets or toys, or volunteering a skill like graphic design or social media management. There are many different avenues to get involved and Molinari encourages all residents to reach out to the foundation.

“Santa Monica is an amazing community of people that really believe in the community and want to get involved in the community,” said Molinari. “Helping out at the shelter is such a personally rewarding thing to do because it’s from your heart.”