By Dan Krosse for The Island Connection
The Charleston Animal Society and hundreds of supporters celebrated 146 years of preventing cruelty to animals Jan. 26 at Blackbaud World Headquarters, giving away two significant awards: the Community Ambassador Award went to Blackbaud, Inc., while the Elizabeth Bradham Humanitarian Award went to Dr. Shirley McGreal, the founder of the International Primate Protection League.
Blackbaud was honored by the Charleston Animal Society “for building a better community for all of us and showing compassion for animals through their actions.” Blackbaud’s world headquarters is located on Daniel Island, just across the harbor from Charleston. The company’s software is used by thousands of nonprofits around the globe.
Last summer, Blackbaud sponsored and more than a dozen of the company’s employees helped build a fence for a family’s dogs on Edisto Island through Pets for Life, the Animal Society’s outreach program that serves urban and rural areas of Charleston. In addition, Blackbaud President and CEO Mike Gianoni and his wife, Kathie, starred in an advocacy video for the Charleston Animal Society that promoted the adoption of pit bulls, the most endangered breed of dogs in shelters across the country.
Founded in 1973, the International Primate Protection League opened its doors in Summerville as the only gibbon sanctuary in North America. These “smallest apes” are rescued from medical labs, zoos and other situations and brought to safety at IPPL. There are currently 34 gibbons living in safety and solitude on 40 acres provided by McGreal. She has received several international honors for her work with gibbons, including the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II.
“I’ve been to Buckingham Palace, but being recognized in your own backyard is so special,” McGreal commented.