Medium Nonprofit CEO of the Year – Jane Pierantozzi, Faithful Friends Animal Society Executive Director
For the best – and most-fortunate – CEOs, heading an organization they can be proud of on a daily basis is often the greatest job reward. That is the case for Jane Pierantozzi.
“We were able to enact a major policy reform to halt the mass killing of animals [in shelters],” said Pierantozzi, executive director of the Wilmington-based Faithful Friends Animal Shelter (FFAS), a private animal welfare organization that maintains a no-kill shelter and a community veterinary clinic. “We’ve built an animal welfare lifesaving program, and, as a result, people in Delaware now have a no-kill mindset.”
As the group’s leader since its formation in 2001, Pierantozzi has guided the organization into a major presence with 85 employees and a legion of volunteers.
“When I took over, there was a good surprise and a bad one. The good one was how quickly people in the community supported our model. On the bad side, I discovered the daunting financial needs of the organization,” she said. “I didn’t enjoy fundraising at the time, but I enjoy it now.”
Today, her fundraising expertise shows. Pierantozzi started a capital funding drive for a new, modern facility for the organization’s work before the COVID pandemic, which hampered their efforts. Regrouping in 2021, she led a campaign that raised $10.6 million, or 50% more than the original goal, helping erase the added expenses of inflation and supply chain costs. The FFAS is now amidst the move into its new headquarters.
“Right now, we are working on outreach to low-income communities, whether it’s to help supply them with food to keep their animals at home or in providing low-cost veterinarian support,” she said. “We’re also putting together an endowment fund and are looking for board members who are philanthropists and who have the means to help us get things done.”
Pierantozzi, who also volunteers for work in the area’s homeless shelters, encourages people who similarly have ambitions to lead to “follow your passion. Don’t question whether you have enough of what it takes. Remember, you can always find people whose skills will complement your skills. All you need is determination.”