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4 Paws for Ability announces new Executive Director

    October 6, 2022

    Former Associate Director Jennifer Lutes appointed as Executive Director

    The 4 Paws for Ability Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Jennifer Lutes as the Executive Director of 4 Paws for Ability.

    Part of the 4 Paws team for more than 22 years, Lutes started volunteering as a teenager before joining the organization as an employee in the training department. She advanced through various positions, gaining insights into the different aspects of 4 Paws, which will serve her well in her most recent appointment as the Executive Director, effective September 15, 2022.

    Lutes brings to the Executive Director role her total dedication to the 4 Paws mission: Enriching the lives of people with disabilities by placing life changing service dogs.

    In her many years of experience, Lutes helped 4 Paws grow from a small agency that placed 15 to 20 dogs a year to an organization of 75+ employees impacting 100+ families every year.

    “Jennifer’s understanding and passion for 4 Paws and the people it serves is exceptional,” Board Chair, Helena Brooks, said. “We look forward to seeing 4 Paws grow under her expertise.” 

    In assuming her new role as Executive Director, Lutes follows Mark Thomas, who is looking forward to getting back to his retirement. Previously a Board Member, Thomas stepped into the Executive Director role in 2021 to lead the agency through a transitional period following the departure of Karen Shirk, 4 Paws’ founder.

     “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Mark for an incredible job leading 4 Paws for Ability,” Brooks said. “The agency is now positioned for stability, growth and an enhanced focus on the needs of our clients.” 

    As Lutes transitions to the role of Executive Director, Erin Bittner will take over as Associate Director. Having also started with 4 Paws as a volunteer, Bittner has been instrumental in the establishment of the breeding program, and the digitization of all the records in support of the agency.  

    KaLynn Clark will become the Director of Development after having successfully run and expanded the volunteer program.

    For continued updates and news from 4 Paws, please be sure to follow us on our social channels and website.