Saipan Boonie Babies Fight for Official Non Profit Status

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In regional news – A small organization within the CNMI is fighting to officially have a non-profit status.

In an interview with PNC’s Don Sulat – the founders of Saipan Boonie Babies shared their fight to help Saipan’s stray dog population while sharing some behind scenes on how they are running a start-up organization.

Grace Keilbach, One of the Saipan Boonie Babies Co-Founder told PNC, “We are not officially a Non-Profit yet. All of our paperwork has been filled out and filed. We’re waiting to hear back any day about that. So we’re super excited because as you mentioned, that’s going to open up a whole bunch of doors for us in terms of grant funding and what we’re capable of doing in terms of working with the government. Just the amount of funds that we can get from that alone is going to be a total game changer for us.”

Due to the organization not having a “non-profit” status, Boonie Babies are currently funded through donations that they receive from their social media pages such as TikTok and Instagram.

Founded by sisters Aria and Grace Keilbach – Boonie Babies mission is to “rescue, foster, and adopt out as many…Boonie dogs as possible.”

The Keilbach sisters grew up with a love for animals and moved to the island of Saipan back in 2018.

At the age of 16 – Aria started, what would eventually be called Boonie Babies, by loading her car with dog food to feed any stray dog that she came into contact with.

She added, “We’re just thrown into this life because nobody else was taking care of the dogs and we knew it had to be done. So starting at such a young age and just kind of figuring it out and winging it ourselves has been an incredible journey but very difficult and a little traumatizing. But we’re glad to be doing it.”

According to Grace – They started establishing Boonie Babies as an organization around 2 years ago, and since then the project has become their main point of focus.

She added, “It’s a full-time job as you can imagine. We have over 30 dogs at our house, so the daily care is just keeping these dogs alive. And they’re all special needs. Some dogs have been hit by cars, they need medication. Some are sick, so taking care of the dogs itself is a full-time job. And then managing the business aspect as well, we don’t have time to do anything else.”

Grace told PNC that they are hoping for the nonprofit status to become applicable soon. As they are at a spot where they cannot do anything else, Boonie Babies needs to be a priority if they want the project to work. She said, “We’re not getting paid for this. Everything that we’re doing, our entire lives, and time, and whatever you want to put it is donated to Boonie Babies.”

Unlike Guam, which has vets clinics such as Wise Owl, and a non-profit such as GAIN, which offers spay and neuter services, Saipan and the rest of the CNMI does not have that luxury. According to Grace, she hopes to add those services, along with proper healthcare as Boonie Babies gains official non-profit status.

Saipan Cares, a CNMI animal clinic, has shut down their shelter, but they are still operating a clinic that has access to basic medicine for Saipan animals.

Grace added, “But it’s just a clinic, and it’s run by volunteers. We have no actual trained animal veterinary person there to be helping us with any of this. So they do what they can, and on top of not having the human recourses just access to the appropriate medical care medication and all of that, that we need, we do not have access to.”

For individuals interested in donating you can look up Saipan Boonie Babies on Instagram, ticktock, or you can visit their website at BOONIEBABIESSAIPAN.COM

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Born and raised on the island of Saipan, Don moved to Guam in the Spring of 2016 to pursue higher education at the University of Guam. It was at UOG that Don discovered his passion for keeping his peers politically informed. Prior to joining PNC Don gained professional and life experience through a variety of odd jobs ranging from an administrative assistant to a bouncer to a luxury retail salesman. In his free time, you can find him flying his drone or doing landscape and portrait photography. Don joined the PNC News Team not only to broaden his writing skill but also to challenge himself to get in front of the camera, ultimately furthering his passion to promote an informed and politically engaged Mariånas. Don's beat is Court, Crime, and Regional and is also PNC's Lead Reporter.