Julie Thomas has been named chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Santa Monica. Her appointment is effectively immediately, officials with the non-profit said this week.

Thomas has an extensive background in non-profit fundraising, having served as the executive director for the Inland Empire Division of the American Heart Association in Riverside, Calif. There she oversaw and managed all development operations.

Before that Thomas was with the American Heart Association in Burlingame, Calif., where she was responsible for managing the day-to day operation of youth market activities for the entire Western States Affiliate. She joined the American Heart Association in 2006.

Prior to joining the American Heart Association, Thomas was the Northern California chapter CEO of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Oakland, Calif. where she managed and supervised all chapter activities including development, financial management and client services.

She joined the Multiple Sclerosis Society in 1978 where she progressed from Readathon coordinator in Lansing, Mich. to regional fundraising coordinator, development director and, finally, to area development consultant based in Detroit.

Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/English from Wayne State University in Detroit.

At the Santa Monica Red Cross, Thomas will oversee the chapter’s operations and head all fundraising efforts.

“I will work toward assembling the resources we need so that we can continue to provide the high level of service the community expects from the American Red Cross,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be in Santa Monica. This is the place I want to work because the members of the chapter’s Board of Directors are so committed to excellence and where the community support of the Red Cross is so positive.”

She succeeds Wendy Jacobs, who left the Santa Monica Red Cross to become the director of development at the Painted Turtle.

For additional information or to inquire about other programs or assistance call (310) 394-3773 or go online at www.redcrossla.org/santamonica

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