Diana Pikulski will leave her position as national director of major gifts, planned giving, and endowment development at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at the end of February, the TRF announced Feb. 12. Pikulski has served in various management roles since the organization's founding 35 years ago.
"The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and its mission have been, and continue to be, very important to me," Pikulski said. "I will continue to support the organization as a volunteer or in any capacity that may be mutually beneficial. I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family and horses as I evaluate my other options."
Pikulski originally served the TRF for 10 years as a volunteer. An attorney and public defender, she closed her private practice in 1997 to join the TRF full-time. Her zeal as an advocate for animal rights found new life as she worked to bring to light the plight of Thoroughbreds subjected to abuse, neglect, and even slaughter after they could no longer race.
"I am proud to call Diana a friend and proud of the work she has done for the TRF over more than 30 years," said TRF board member Carl Domino. "She poured her heart and soul into the wellbeing of our horses and often took horses to her own farm when they needed a home. She will truly be missed and her absence will be felt in many aspects of this great organization. Whatever her future endeavors bring, we wish her nothing but the very best."
Under Pikulski' s guidance, the TRF opened 11 Second Chances retirement farms at correctional facilities throughout the country, where incarcerated men and women work with retired racehorses in life-changing vocational and behavior rehabilitation programs. Over time, the TRF grew to be the largest equine rescue in the United States.
"The board of directors and staff are grateful to Diana for her contributions and commitments to the TRF, and the discussion of Thoroughbred aftercare" said John Roche, the TRF's chief executive officer. "We are thankful for Diana's guidance through this transition, as she shares her wealth of knowledge of the TRF, its donors, and the industry. We are grateful to Diana and wish her all the best in her future endeavors."