This stunning news has just arrived via e-mail. Thought you readers should know that the longtime guiding hand and the voice and heart of Operation Kindness is leaving the no-kill shelter.
Here is her graceful exit note -- it was distributed just a few minutes ago .
"I apologize for letting you know via an impersonal mass email, but it seemed the quickest way to let you know that I have resigned as Executive Director of Operation Kindness effective February 15.
"As you can probably guess, this was an incredibly difficult and painful decision. The board of directors recently decided to reorganize Operation Kindness and bring in a General Manager who would report to the board and take over the day-to-day operations. While I would retain my title and continue to serve as spokesperson for the shelter, my job description was rewritten as a development director, with the primary focus on fund-raising. After much soul searching and deliberation, I decided that this was not a job I wanted.
"This comes at the end of what was, in every respect, one of our most successful years ever. Among our achievements in 2007:
"--We adopted 2,869 animals—an increase of 11%, or almost 300 adoptions over the previous year.
"-- Our endowment reached $1 million.
"-- Canines, Cats & Cabernet netted over $100,000 for the first time ever—up more than 65%.
"--We received unprecedented media coverage that kept our name before the public all year long, and established Operation Kindness as the leader in seeking justice for animals that have been abused and cruelly treated.
"--We ended the year with $432,000 in our operating account.
"--Our total cash assets on December 31 were $2,465,000 – up almost $400,000 from the year before.
"I started volunteering with Operation Kindness in January 1986, and was immediately hooked. I was elected to the board the following year and became vice president in 1988. A year after that I became board president, a position I held for almost 9 years until I resigned from my job as Vice President of Corporate Communications at KERA to become Operation Kindness’ first Executive Director in 1997. the goal I set for myself was simple, although not easy: To raise the money for our new shelter, and to see the building built. "That was accomplished two years later when we moved into our wonderful facility.
"Operation Kindness has been my life—not just my life’s work—for over 20 years. Over 45,000 homeless, unwanted, neglected or abused dogs and cats have been saved, cared for, adopted and given a second chance at life during those years. I am immensely proud of all that I have accomplished for Operation Kindness, and of the organization that I have led for almost two decades. I’m also proud that I leave when the organization is at its zenith—the most financially stable it’s ever been, the most well-known and the most respected.
"I plan to take a few weeks to consider my options for the future and then pursue my next challenge. Although I doubt that my next position will be in animal welfare, my commitment to the animals remains as strong as ever, and I will continue to work for them in any and every way possible.
"I have had the privilege to work with some immensely dedicated and talented people, and I thank them for their hard work and absolute devotion to the animals that we care for.
"Thank you, too, for your friendship. I wish nothing but the best for Operation Kindness and the animals so deserving of our help and support.
Aside from Readlarrypowell.com: The Operation Kindness website is HERE. You can find a mailing address to send thank you cards, notes of admiration, etc.
This is a staggering day in the history of animal welfare in North Texas -- and across the country. Under Jonnie, Operation Kindness became the state-of-the-art pattern for establishing a community-based shelter.
Like Jonnie suggests in her note, the past has become a remarkable foundation upon which Operation Kindness may continue to build a future for unwanted dogs and cats and other critters that have been cast aside or abused by humans. The personnel may change, but the mission remains.