It felt like a miracle to pet adoption advocate Monica Seaton when she received a $3,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas to help her pay veterinary bills incurred by the most senior dogs under her care.

The foundation is a public charity that has been in the grant-making business since 1991.

The money comes from private individuals, families and organizations that donate to the foundation to benefit the communities of southwest Kansas, said executive director Pat Hamit.

The foundation this month awarded a total of 86 schools, nonprofit organizations and city agencies, including the Pets Miracle Network, $468,700 from its open grant fund.

Seaton lives for her nonprofit Pets Miracle Network, a 4-acre no-kill foster facility north of the Highway 50 bypass with a generous and undiscriminating roster of unwanted dogs and cats.

It has operated continuously for 17 years and specializes in dogs over the age of 8, as well as dogs known to be fear biters and unsocialized, hard-to-place dogs, Seaton said.

“I see the need for this in our community,” she said. “I take nothing and go without so that my dogs and cats go first.”

Seaton also provides a kennel service to help make ends meet but decided it was necessary to apply for a grant for the first time in her life.

“I’m not a grant writer, but I tried,” she said.

Seaton is a prime example of how painless the application process is, Hamit said.

“Our grant process is simple for a reason,” said Hamit. “It’s for people who’ve never written a grant application.”

In addition to the open grants, there are various funds set up for a broad range of recipients, including cancer survivors, women, children and college hopefuls, Hamit said.

“We make grants all year long,” he said.

So far this year the foundation has awarded a total of 178 grants to the tune of $758,000.

That figure does not include college scholarships.

“I tell people we’re in the miracle business,” he said. “In order to get a miracle, you have to expect one. We see miracles every time we hand out checks that make a difference in peoples' lives thanks to these donations.”

For more information, go to Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas, 208 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd., Suite 20, or visit www.communityfoundationswks.com.

Call Hamit at 620-225-0959 or email him at pat.cfsk@sbcglobal.net.