PAWS CHICAGO

pets are worth saving

aka PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) Chicago   |   Chicago, IL   |  www.pawschicago.org

Mission

PAWS Chicago began as a grassroots, all-volunteer organization dedicated to building a humane community. With strong community support, PAWS has built lifesaving programs that have helped to reduce the number of homeless pets killed in our city by 91% since our founding in 1997. It is the power of community engagement that fuels our lifesaving efforts and four core programs: Prevention, Adoption, Volunteers, and Animal Health and Behavior. Our mission is to build No Kill communities, starting with Chicago, that respect and value the life of every cat and dog. Our commitment is to end the overpopulation of homeless pets through practical efforts and long-term education. Our goal is to transform animal welfare by setting higher standards and developing sustainable, evidence-based solutions.

Ruling year info

1999

Founder and Chair

Ms. Paula Fasseas

Main address

1997 N. Clyourn Avenue

Chicago, IL 60614 USA

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EIN

36-4219778

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (D01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

PAWS Chicago has been an anchor in Chicago since it was established in 1997. At that time, very few people knew that homeless pets were being killed. Certainly, very few knew of the extent that more than 42,000 cats and dogs would die that year in Chicago shelters. PAWS Chicago’s goal was to bring attention to the plight of homeless animals and to engage the community in finding solutions to pet overpopulation. Since then, PAWS has continued to focus on engaging people to take action to save homeless pets. With volunteers, foster families, adopters, outreach initiatives, and free or subsidized spay/neuter and medical services, we work to mobilize and inspire people to become a part of the solution for homeless animals. PAWS Chicago’s ongoing success is a result of our commitment to our grounding principle of community engagement. It is only by raising awareness of pet homeless and engaging people in these efforts, can we make lasting change.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Prevention

Prevention is the critical first step in managing an oversupply of animals, and PAWS Chicago’s first major initiative was to open the Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic in 2000. Located in the Little Village neighborhood, the Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic is strategically located to serve some of Chicago’s most under-resourced communities, where the majority of stray and unwanted pets originate. The facility is the only clinic of its kind located in and serving Chicago’s underserved communities.

PAWS Chicago also offers spay/neuter services on the GusMobile Spay/Neuter Van, bringing life-saving care and solutions directly to neighborhoods that are most in need. Currently, the GusMobile is used for the PAWS for Life Community Outreach Program in which the PAWS team works with residents in underserved communities of Chicago to remove barriers to pet wellness resources. The PAWS for Life team provides free spay/neuter surgeries and pet preventative and medical care to help keep more pets in their homes and out of shelters.

PAWS’ targeted approach dramatically reduces the number of stray and unwanted pets relinquished to Chicago’s open admission shelters. On average, PAWS Chicago's Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic performs spay/neuter surgeries on 15,000 pets annually.

Population(s) Served
Adults

PAWS Chicago conducts a robust Adoption program that increases visibility at welcoming adoption centers, a dynamic social media strategy, and innovative programming, all of which are key to building a No Kill city. PAWS Chicago launched its first adoption event in May 1998 with Angels with Tails, an offsite adoption event on Michigan Avenue and Oak Streets. By seeing the pets available for adoption and in hearing about the shocking number of pets killed each year in Chicago, shoppers and animal-lovers embraced PAWS’ efforts to save as many as possible. Today, PAWS operates two state-of-the-art cageless adoption centers and hosts multiple offsite adoption events throughout the year. In 2020, PAWS performed 4,100 adoptions, finding loving families for pets that were once homeless.

Population(s) Served
Adults

PAWS Chicago’s Volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization and enable us to save lives and expand services. In addition to the time they commit to PAWS, volunteers and fosters also serve as ambassadors for the animals by engaging new communities. With their service, PAWS is able to increase impact and expand reach, bringing awareness to the cause of homeless animals.

Dedicated volunteers play an invaluable role in every aspect of our lifesaving efforts. They provide high-quality care for our pets and serve in all key programs. Volunteers act as adoption counselors, assist with fundraising and adoption events, train new volunteers and provide transportation to vet appointments, pet pick-ups and offsite events. In 2020, volunteers served more than 87,000 hours.

PAWS Chicago’s Volunteer Program has grown in practice and in reputation as a national model. Through a partnership with Maddie’s Fund, PAWS hosts multiple apprenticeships for organizations from around the country on how to best optimize volunteer engagement. The apprenticeship provides representatives from visiting shelters and rescue organizations the chance to learn and implement innovative and tested strategies to improve lifesaving at their home organizations. It also provides PAWS the opportunity to help expand No Kill communities and encourage others to model a volunteer program that works.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Saving all healthy and treatable animals is the cornerstone of our model, so Animal Health and Behavior is an area of critical importance and growing significance in recent years. Through comprehensive shelter medicine and animal behavior programs, each pet receives full medical treatment and rehabilitation. With these innovative programs, PAWS had a 98.17% save rate in 2020, even while rescuing a vulnerable population of animals.

PAWS Chicago was one of the first animal welfare organizations in the Midwest to integrate shelter medicine into its operations, and is a leading shelter in innovative best practices. With this program, every animal receives high-quality individualized medical care. The shelter medicine team operates within the PAWS Medical Center to provide medical treatment and care for each animal while establishing protocols that optimize the treatment of highly contagious and deadly diseases. The program provides: wellness and preventative care, supportive and critical care, internal medicine, diagnostic testing, dentistry and surgery.

Furthermore, the animal behavior program addresses each animal that demonstrates signs of a challenging behavior. They receive an assessment and customized enrichment plan from our team of animal behavior experts. PAWS staff and volunteers provide socialization, enrichment and training while these pets are in our care and awaiting adoption. PAWS Chicago’s Behavior Team also works on behavior modification training for any animal that shows signs of reactivity, resource guarding or mouthy behavior. We provide this training to give every dog the best chance at getting adopted.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Number of animal adoptions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Adoption

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Creating more opportunities for animals to meet interested families is one of the best ways to end the killing of at-risk pets. PAWS Chicago works every day to expand the visibility of homeless pets.

Number of animals spayed and neutered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Prevention

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

By providing free and low-cost spay/neuter services for underserved communities, PAWS has worked to reduce intake at Chicago’s open admission shelters.

Maintain Charity Navigator 4-star rating

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Charity Navigator has awarded PAWS Chicago with its highest 4-star rating for 17 consecutive years, an accomplishment that less than 1% of the charities in the nation have achieved.

Hours of volunteer service

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Volunteers

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

PAWS Chicago’s dedicated volunteers enable us to save more lives and expand services. In addition to the time they commit to PAWS, volunteers are our ambassadors, engaging new communities.

Number of special operations performed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Animal Health and Behavior

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Our No Kill commitment means we give every pet the individualized treatment needed. Through a state-of-the-art shelter medicine program, each pet receives full medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

PAWS Chicago is a national model in No Kill animal sheltering, committed to bringing an end to the killing of homeless cats and dogs. As Chicagoland’s largest No Kill shelter, and one of the largest in the nation, PAWS Chicago has helped to reduce the number of homeless pets killed in the city by 91 percent since its founding in 1997.
Everything PAWS Chicago does is guided by a common mission to transform sheltering operations to offer life, not death, to homeless animals. Our purpose is to build No Kill communities – starting with Chicago – that respect and value the life of every cat and dog. Our commitment is to end the overpopulation of homeless animals through practical efforts and long-term education. And our goal is to transform animal welfare by setting higher standards and developing sustainable, evidence-based solutions.

PAWS Chicago’s ongoing success is a result of our commitment to our grounding principle of community engagement. It is only by raising awareness of pet homelessness and engaging people in these efforts, can we make lasting change. It is the power of community engagement that fuels our lifesaving efforts and our four core programs: prevention, adoption, volunteering and animal health and behavior.

PAWS Chicago’s four life-saving programs are inspired by eight key values which guides our decision-making to ensure we remain focused on making long-term, sustainable change.
• Respect: for each and every life.
• Community: of people and organizations committed to helping homeless pets.
• Innovation: to constantly improve best practices and seek out new ideas and strategies to save more lives. To be a Learning Center that evolves and grows.
• Pro-activity: to solve difficult problems and to be prepared to offer emergency and crisis support.
• Transparency: that informs the public about the fate of homeless animals.
• Education: that raises awareness about the realities that homeless animals face in the community and across the nation, providing a forum for people to get involved in effecting change. Promote and support reasonable pet ownership.
• Sustainability: through financial management practices that maximize the impact and reach of our resources and ensure that PAWS Chicago will always be a resource for homeless animals.
• Compassion: towards all people and animals.

With strong community support, PAWS Chicago has been able to build the life-saving programs that continue to make a tremendous difference for homeless animals in Chicago. PAWS Chicago's lifesaving success is rooted in our No Kill Model, which can be replicated and scaled in any community. Community Engagement is the foundation of our No Kill Model. It is the power of community engagement that fuels our lifesaving efforts and our four core programs: prevention, adoption, volunteers, and animal health and behavior.

PREVENTION:
The single most effective way to end pet homelessness is to prevent it. Prevention programs are a key focus of our efforts to reduce the number of animals entering shelters each year. Providing free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries in targeted communities was one of PAWS Chicago’s first major initiatives and we opened the Lurie Clinic in 2000. Located in the heart of Little Village, a vibrant but at-risk community with few other veterinary services available, the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic are strategically located where the majority of stray and unwanted pets originate. PAWS performed almost 10,000 spay/neuter surgeries last year.

In addition to the work being done at our adoption centers and medical center, the PAWS for Life program provides access to spay/neuter and wellness services to pets living in the most underserved areas of Chicago and enables residents to keep pets in their home. In 2020, the program was able to serve a total of 2,353 pets.

ADOPTION:
A robust Adoption program that increases visibility through welcoming adoption centers, a dynamic social media strategy and innovative programming is also key to building a No Kill city. PAWS Chicago’s cageless state-of-the art adoption centers are thoughtfully located in high-traffic areas. Additionally, PAWS regularly holds adoption events at local retail stores and shopping centers to find loving homes for pets and raise awareness in the community. In 2020, PAWS performed 4,100 adoptions.

VOLUNTEER
Our robust volunteer program made up of dedicated members of our community are essential to every aspect of our life-saving efforts. With many programs being resource intensive, the work of PAWS Chicago would not be possible without the support of our impassioned and charitable volunteers. In 2020, PAWS Chicago volunteers served 84,167 hours; the equivalent of 40 full-time employees.

ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR
PAWS is committed to the life of every pet and will treat every sick, injured and behaviorally challenged but rehabilitatable pet, regardless of the time or resources required. Through our state-of-the art shelter medicine and animal behavior programs, each pet receives full medical treatment and rehabilitation. In 2020, PAWS continued to see an increase in the number of animals we rescued that were sick or injured. Despite these challenges, PAWS once again, was able to achieve over a 98.17 percent save rate.

As one of the largest No Kill organizations in the country, PAWS Chicago has developed a comprehensive No Kill model to build and sustain a No Kill City. Our innovative lifesaving programs can be replicated and scaled in any community.

The PAWS Chicago No Lill model works. It saves lives. Unites communities. Creates a sustainable future.

PAWS works to steadily reduce the number of homeless animals born by operating the Midwest's largest high-volume spay/neuter clinic, conducting more than 271,000 surgeries since our founding at free or subsidized rates. In addition, PAWS has found homes for more than 68,000 animals by redefining the shelter adoption experience through innovative adoption events and a cage-free adoption center. PAWS Chicago volunteer force provides vital support for animal care, community building, fundraising, advocacy and humane education. Without this impassioned labor force, the extent of PAWS Chicago’s lifesaving work would not be possible.

While working toward long-term solutions, PAWS Chicago's daily operations are focused on the health and wellness of every single animal in its care. Through a high-quality shelter medicine and training program, PAWS ensures that each animal is given the best possible medical and behavioral rehabilitation. With this program, PAWS has maintained a 98.17% save rate.

With PAWS’ comprehensive No Kill model, the organization has helped to reduce the number of homeless pets killed in our city by 91%. Real change in the treatment of animals has occurred as these once homeless animals have become essential members of our families. We are close to achieving our goal of a No Kill Chicago, where homeless animals are no longer killed to manage of overpopulation. But we must continue to remain focused on the programs that have brought us this far, to reach and maintain a No Kill City.

PAWS Chicago’s realized early on that curtailing pet overpopulation was key to building a No Kill City and opened the Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic in 2000 as the organization’s first major initiative. The facility, located in the heart of Little Village, is strategically located where a large volume of stray animals originate. By targeting our spay/neuter services to communities who need them the most, PAWS is able to maximize our impact.

PAWS Chicago revolutionized the sheltering of Chicago’s homeless animals in 2007 with the state-of-the-art Lincoln Park Adoption Center. In late 2014, PAWS expanded its footprint with a new North Shore Adoption Center in Highland Park. Since our founding, PAWS has celebrated more than 68,000 adoptions.

In 2008, PAWS Chicago became one of the first animal welfare organizations in the Midwest to integrate shelter medicine into its operations and is now a leading shelter in innovative best practices. Shelter Medicine provides individualized care for each animal in the shelter, while also managing the health of the total population of animals housed in the shelter. This program is key because as we are moving closer towards a No Kill city, the population of pets that needs to be saved is sicker, has more serious illness or injury or requires behavior modification. Since we are one of the few shelters that take in and treat for highly contagious diseases, we are often the last hope for many of these animals.

In 2014, PAWS launched our PAWS for Life Community Outreach Program which provides free spay/neuter and pet wellness services to three of Chicago’s most underserved communities. The program conducts grassroots door-to-door outreach to reach people that would not be reached by traditional outreach methods with pet wellness information and resources. Through the program we are helping pets to say in their homes and reducing the number of pets relinquished to shelters.

PAWS is now focused on expanding our Medical Center which will increase our ability to take in and treat more sick and injured pets. Thousands of the animals coming to PAWS Chicago require treatment beyond the standard care protocols. Many suffer from contagious but treatable illnesses, which require that they be kept in isolation or quarantine. The new facility will be the most advanced homeless pet hospital in the nation, increasing our isolation and quarantine capacity to treat sick and injured animals.

Financials

PAWS CHICAGO
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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PAWS CHICAGO

Board of directors
as of 4/1/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Paula Fasseas

PAWS Chicago

George Karcazes

Suzie Glickman

Suzanne LeMignot

Pam Carey

Maria Smithburg

Paula Fasseas

Mark Duggan

Janice Beck

Barbara Bradford

Bruce Crown

Charles Day

Lisa Dent

Alexis Fasseas

Peter Fasseas

Raj Fernando

Mayari Pritzker

Barbara Royal

Bob Sherman

Michael Sweig

Michael Canning

Melissa Canning

Glenn Felner

Murray Peretz

Kurt Seidensticker

Phil Raskin

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/29/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data