Of all the costs associated with an animal shelter, building the actual facility is the highest. Of course, without a building, new shelters cannot exist and established shelters must contend with outdated and cramped quarters. Grants are available for projects of this scope, although many require matching funds or can donate only limited amounts toward capital campaigns.

Petco Foundation

The Petco Foundation, an arm of the nationwide pet store chain, offers capital grants to build new animal shelters or repair existing facilities. Only nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations may apply. Send a letter of inquiry to the foundation, which will consider the request and inform the applicant whether they may send in a formal application within two weeks. The Petco Foundation's review process for applications takes approximately two to three months.

Meacham Foundation Memorial Grants

This foundation, administered through the American Humane Association, funds construction and capital improvements projects for registered, nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations. Applicants must operate shelters for dogs, cats or equines in the United States or its territories. Construction grants are awarded only to applicants who own the property for the proposed facility or hold a long-term lease. Proposals should be submitted by the last day of February in any given year for consideration.

The William and Charlotte Parks Foundation

This foundation offers a capital matching grant for construction of new animal shelters. Grants are generally in the range of $5,000. According to the foundation, funding is designated for smaller animal shelters in places with inadequate facilities for care. Applicants must demonstrate the need for any construction project, along with identifying the number of animals it proposes to serve. Information on euthanasia and adoption rates must also be provided, along with the project's budget and time-frame for completion.

USDA: Rural Community Development Initiative

Under the United State's Department of Agriculture's Rural Community Development Initiative, matching grants are available for rural communities to undertake community development projects, including animal shelters. Both public and private organizations in existence for a minimum of three years may apply for funding, as long as they are located in an eligible rural area under a specified population limit. Such areas generally have populations of less than 20,000.