Frequently Asked Questions.

Is Big Island Farm Sanctuary a non-profit?


In short, no. Shortly after founding Big Island Farm Sanctuary, we planned to apply for non-profit status. After all, it’s what “all the sanctuaries do.” But, after months of weighing the pros and cons, we decided against it. Here's why:

Over the years, the 501(c)(3) status has become the "seal of approval" signifying a reputable animal rescue organization. In reality, being a non-profit doesn't guarantee that a sanctuary is reputable or animals properly cared for; it simply defines taxability. Donors can deduct the donations they give from their taxable earnings, and the approved organization is often exempt from certain types of taxes. Tax-exempt non-profits still (rightfully so) make money as a result of their activities and use it to cover expenses; and (like any business) this income is essential to an organization's survival. 


My husband and I have always been business owners. We know how to create, fund, and grow a business. So we wanted to find a way, other than continually asking for and relying on donations, to financially support our rescued animals. It just made sense to us to put the financial burden on ourselves and figure out how to provide products and services that could then fund the sanctuary. Going this route, we could also take a percentage of our profits from our business(es) and donate to other sanctuaries, thus helping save more lives and supporting some of the reputable, hard-working sanctuaries we have come to love.


In addition to wanting to take the financial aspect into our own hands, we simply didn’t like the idea of other people (i.e. a board) making decisions for the animals that we love and care for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the sanctuary we are building from love, sweat, and tears. We know our residents better than anyone- their wants, their needs, etc. We wanted to be in full control of all aspects of our sanctuary.

So, if we’re not non-profit, what are we? We consider ourselves a “Social Purpose” business- a business started on the foundation of addressing a social mission- our mission being “Saving lives. Touching hearts. Changing minds.” We think Andrew Cooper, the co-founder of 4Ocean said it best, "Just because you're doing good, doesn't mean that you have to be a non-profit." As sanctuary owners, we have a passion: to rescue and offer sanctuary to farmed animals in need. But we also have a purpose: to help as many animals as possible by not only offering sanctuary to those in need, but by helping people make a real connection with these sentient beings, as well as educating the public on the ugly world of industrial and backyard farming, animal abuse, and exploitation. Lastly, we want to be able to invest our profits back into not just our sanctuary but the animal rescue community- and we believe being a business, not a non-profit, is a more sustainable way to achieve these goals. 

Can I still make a donation?

Yes, you can! However, because we aren't a non-profit, donations aren't tax-deductible for the donor, which matters to some, and not to others. When someone does donates to us, we are legally required to count it as income. We are grateful for donations and use them the same way we would if we were non-profit- putting it toward our animals and sanctuary, never toward our own personal wants and needs. 

Other ways you can help.

  • Book a tour!
    We offer small, intimate tours for a very affordable price. This is your opportunity to meet the residents of Big Island Farm Sanctuary and fall in love!

  • Join us on Patreon!
    For as little as $1/month you can join our ohana and get updates on rescues and other exciting news before (or not) announced to the general public. Depending on the level of sponsorship you choose, you'll get perks in return, plus the "feel goods" of being involved in animal rescue.

  • Sponsor an Animal!
    When you sponsor an animal, you help us give them the best life possible! In return, you get a certificate of sponsorship (digital so that you can print it out as many times as you want, use it as your screensaver, or save it on your phone). You’ll also receive a yearly swag-pack filled with things that only sponsors get, as well as a monthly update and picture of your sponsored animal. It’s the perfect way to help us, and keep up on someone who has touched your heart.

  • Rent a caRVee!
    This is our newest business venture and we’re excited about it! We’ve created an economical, low-waste way for you to travel the island and truly experience it. Land at the airport, pick up your caRVee, drive anywhere on the island you want, and simply drop it back off at the airport the day you leave. Everything you need to have the ultimate camping experience is provided. All you need to bring is food and your sense of adventure!

  • Howlie's Hawaiian Dogs

​     Coming Soon! Howlie's all vegan hotdog stand will be at local markets, as well as available during

     tours. ​We'll be showing people how amazingly delicious plant-based, cruelty-free eating can be!


Mahalo for your support,

-Paula Buck, Founder



93-1280 South Point Rd. Naalehu, HI 96772
(by appointment only)

Send mail to:
92-1329 Prince Kuhio Blvd. #4-240
Captain Cook, HI 96704

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© 2018-2020 Big Island Farm Sanctuary