By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – The Tupelo Lee Humane Society has named a permanent executive director, someone with more than a dozen years in local nonprofit experience that includes finding homes for pets.
Donna Jarrell will officially begin Feb. 10 as the administrative leader at the humane society that serves Tupelo and Lee County. Jarrell is the longtime executive director of Northeast Mississippi Habitat for Humanity.
The new hire brings a permanent executive director to the organization that has had an interim director since October.
With formal training in industrial engineering, Jarrell also has worked locally as the community resources coordinator at the Salvation Army.
She’s no stranger to the Tupelo Lee Humane Society, having volunteered more than 3,500 hours with the organization since 2006. Jarrell also created a nonprofit organization in 2012, Warm Fuzzy’s Pet Rescue, an operation that has worked with the Tupelo-based humane society to promote more cat and dog adoptions.
Nelson Gravatt, Tupelo Lee Humane Society’s Board of Directors president, said several candidates interviewed for the position, but Jarrell’s success and longtime experience with other local nonprofits made her stand out.
“Donna brought what we thought was the total package with fundraising, nonprofit experience and familiarity with the shelter,” Gravatt said Monday.
Jarrell officially steps down from her position with Habitat for Humanity on Friday. She said this new position blends her professional life with a lifelong interest.
“My passion has always been animals since I was a child,” she said. “Habitat for Humanity is in great shape here, and I hope I can help the shelter.”
Immediate goals include lowering rates of animals euthanized and providing the best care for animals at the current South Gloster Street location until funds exist to build a new shelter.
Along with a new director, the humane society has a new logo and plans to upgrade the organization’s website.
“We’ve got the ball rolling,” Gravatt said. “We just need to keep kicking it downhill.”