Community Foundation of St. Joseph County

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Del and Nancy Meyer

Local Couple Focuses Their Philanthropy on Animal Welfare

Nancy and Del Meyer

High school sweethearts from Kansas, Del and Nancy Meyer both care deeply about animal welfare.

“I have a real soft spot for those who can’t speak for themselves,” says Nancy.

Their first encounter with a local animal welfare organization came soon after the Meyers moved to our community in 1990. One night, someone dumped a mother cat and her three kittens in a ditch across from their house.

The Meyers already had several pets and weren’t in a position to adopt four more. Friends recommended they call Pet Refuge. The all-volunteer organization worked with them to find homes for the little family—although, Del admits, they did end up keeping one of the kittens.

The experience led them to spend 20-some years caring for feral cats, providing shelter and food outside of their home.

“During those years, we worked very hard to cultivate good relationships with our neighbors,” Nancy says, with a smile. “The feral cats sent them cookies for Valentine’s Day, Christmas candy and cards…”

As a Realtor with Weichert-Dunfee—you’ve probably seen his “Ask4Del” signs on lawns throughout our community—Del often sees feral cats in neighborhoods with older housing or mobile homes. A mother cat can have up to three litters in a year, which is why the Meyers are proponents of spay and neuter programs, especially for feral cats. They speak highly of Meow Mission, which provided low- and no-cost spay and neuter services for some 1,300 cats in 2018.

“We’re blessed in this community with so many wonderful nonprofits,” says Nancy. She mentions Christ Child Society, Unity Gardens, Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County, St. Margaret’s House, and St. Joseph County Parks, among others. “But a few years ago, Del and I realized that there weren’t any animal welfare organizations represented in the Community Foundation.”

The Meyers decided to change that. Through challenge grants, they helped three local animal welfare organizations establish endowed funds within the Community Foundation: Pet Refuge/ABC Clinic, Meow Mission, and the Humane Society. The endowed funds provide the organizations with an annual stream of support, ensuring that their good work will continue.

“What we like about creating endowment,” says Del, “is that it allows smaller donors like us to combine contributions with others into something bigger.”

The Meyers are advocates for many local animal welfare organizations, and encourage all interested groups to support/participate in the Animal Welfare Coalition of Michiana, which works together for the benefit of animals and two-legged clients. Those organizations include: