Chimp Haven’s Founder Retires

After nearly 20 years of being a voice for retired chimpanzees, Dr. Linda Brent  retired from the sanctuary at the end of December.

Linda Brent head shotAs founder, president and director of Chimp Haven, Brent built a national organization that has retired over 180 chimpanzees. Under her leadership, the facility grew from one administration building to three wooded habitats, a veterinary building, over 12 chimpanzee enclosures, and on-site internship housing. She also initiated several community education programs including the popular Chimpanzee Discovery Day. Dr. Brent was one of the original founders of Chimp Haven in 1995 and has served as the President and Director of the sanctuary since 2003. In January 2012, she announced her retirement at year’s end. She plans to continue to represent Chimp Haven on the board of directors.

“Chimp Haven has truly been a dream come true,” Brent said.  “I am very proud to have led this amazing organization that has provided a well-deserved home for so many chimpanzees. I look forward to assisting with the future growth and success of the sanctuary as a board member.”

After a nationwide search, the Board of Directors selected Cathy Willis Spraetz to step into the role of President of the organization. Spraetz comes to the organization with an extensive nonprofit background including 24 years as president, CEO and executive director of various organizations in the Atlanta area. Her expertise lies in fundraising, financial acumen, program innovation and staff talent development.

In addition to Spraetz joining the team, several staff members have been promoted to different leadership roles. Jennifer Whitaker  now serves as Vice President of Chimp Haven after spending the past year and a half as the Assistant Director of the organization. Her primary focuses is fundraising and public affairs. Kathleen Taylor was promoted to Director of Animal Care and is responsible for chimpanzee care and facility operations. Taylor has been with Chimp Haven since 2005.