Best Nonprofit Organization

Coastal Pet Rescue

Now celebrating their 15th year of rescuing and finding homes for animals, Coastal Pet Rescue has always worked miracles with much fewer resources than many other, more high-profile charities.

But, as founder and director Lisa Scarbrough says, “I’m beyond thrilled that Coastal Pet Rescue is no longer run just out of my car and house. Having a small physical facility has allowed us to dramatically increase our life-changing efforts since starting 15 years ago.”

Scarbrough also credits “an incredible group of volunteers who give so much of themselves - their time, their efforts, their hearts, sometimes their own funds - to make these rescues possible.”

Scarbrough says at no time were volunteers more valuable than the one-two punch of Hurricanes Matthew and Irma in consecutive years.

“ We suffered damage at the Camp Pawsawhile (our shelter) from Matthew and Irma, and we had to evacuate 78 animals to Sandersville, GA last year where nine of us lived for five days in a cement agriculture building, sleeping on air mattresses downwind of pooping puppies and snoring dogs, while kittens with upper respiratory infections were set up in isolation wards in the bathrooms. It was quite the adventure,” she laughs.

Coastal Pet Rescue’s newest program is Operation Street Paws, where we go and visit with homeless individuals across 12 sites around Savannah to provide care for animals living with their homeless people.

“We started out as strangers, being met with hard stares and crossed arms,” Scarbrough says of the program. “A little over two months later, we’re greeted by welcoming shouts from owners, sometimes even song and prayer, and tail wags from their pets. We are still making an impact, just not in a way I had ever imagined. – Jim Morekis

Runner-up: Art Rise Savannah