Columbia Star

Pawmetto Lifeline names new CEO

Pawmetto Lifeline, formerly Project Pet, has named Denise Wilkinson as its new CEO.

Wilkinson, a 22-year veteran of nonprofit work, was most recently assistant vice president for development with the Sisters of Charity Health System, where she managed and implemented fundraising strategies for three of the Sisters’ ministries.

In her new role, Wilkinson will complete the public phase of Pawmetto Lifeline’s $6.5 million capital campaign, raise operational funds for the organization’s new no-kill facility, and work with state and local governments regarding pet qualityof life issues.

“I have always been drawn to the not-for-profit world, as I have a deep desire to help those in need,” said Wilkinson. “My position with Pawmetto Lifeline will give me the opportunity to help humans as well as our companion pets.”

She said when she started working with Project Pet as a volunteer nine years ago, “I was shocked to learn that we as a community had 23,000 pets abandoned by their owners every year, euthanized over 19,000 of them, and spent more than $3 million in taxes to run the local municipal shelters. In my mind, this was not a good use of our taxes.”

She concluded that Project Pet, which became Palmetto Lifeline August 12, had the right plan for addressing the problem, transforming Lexington and Richland counties into a “no-kill” community, ultimately saving money as well as countless lives.

As vice president of Project Pet’s board of trustees, Wilkinson has been intimately involved in strategic planning for the organization. That means she has played a pivotal role in bringing the organization to the point where it stands as she takes over day-to-day operations: a new name, a $6.5 million capital campaign mostly completed, and the organization’s stateof the-art new facility beginning to rise on Bower Parkway.

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