Medina leaving West Sound Wildlife Shelter to become executive director at Kitsap Community Foundation

Kol Medina is leaving his position as executive director of the West Sound Wildlife Shelter in September, the nonprofit announced Wednesday.

Medina has led the Bainbridge Island organization for the past eight years, and the search for a new executive director has started.

The organization hopes to have the position filled by fall.

“Kol has done an outstanding job leading the West Sound Wildlife Shelter. As the organization’s first full-time executive director, he will be leaving it in the best position it has ever been in,” said Gayle Seyl, chairwoman of the shelter's board.

“The board is grateful to Kol for his leadership, expertise and passionate commitment and is confident WSWS will continue its top-notch work caring for and promoting the well-being of wildlife under new leadership,” she said.

Medina is credited with developing the organization's funding base, raising the annual budget from $70,000 to $400,000 and increased staffing at the shelter.

Since Medina’s arrival, the shelter has treated more than 6,000 wild animal patients.

He also helped start the nonprofit's first capital campaign, the Take Flight Project, which raised $600,000 and funded the construction of the largest flight cage and only permanent waterfowl enclosure in Washington state.

The live-animal education program has also been a standout success, with programs that have served more than 20,000 children and adults.

The executive committee of the board of directors will oversee the transition in leadership, officials said, and the changeover includes the development of an operation continuation plan should the executive director search extend beyond Medina’s planned departure date.

Rob Frankland will serve as chairman of an ad hoc executive director recruitment committee, which will also include board members Michael Sebastian and Diane Crowder. As the search starts, the committee will be gathering input from various stakeholders — including staff, donors and its dedicated volunteers — about what's needed in the next executive director.

Medina will be joining the Kitsap Community Foundation as executive director, a part-time position, and will continue his law practice.

“I am a builder and love nonprofits," Medina said.

"I set out to build the shelter into a first-class wildlife rehabilitation center that had a sustainable funding base and at least a six-month operating funds reserve. I’ve accomplished those goals," he said. "I feel that it is a good time for me to leave and take on a new building challenge, especially now when the shelter is in the perfect position to benefit from the energy and ideas of new leadership.”

He said his coworkers at West Sound Wildlife have been a source of inspiration.

"The hardest part of deciding to leave was deciding to take myself out of this amazing shelter family,” he said.


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