PAWS’ Fur Ball Raises $1.6M for Its Lifesaving Mission
Thirteen wasn’t an unlucky number for PAWS, and more homeless animals will have a reason to be thankful this turkey season. The 13th Annual Fur Ball raised a record-breaking $1.6 million for the PAWS mission to rescue homeless animals from the threat of euthanasia and place them with loving families.
The prestigious Drake Hotel, exquisitely decorated with a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree and custom ice sculpture, was the ideal location for the black tie gala where 750 animal enthusiasts showed up accompanied by a large and impressive assortment of virtually all dog breeds from the biggest Burmese Mountain dog to the smallest Yorkie, all of which had the chance to walked the red carpet in style, chow down at their own buffet, and enjoy luxurious spa pampering and pet-sitting services. Meanwhile, human guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, glamorous photos on the red carpet, silent and live auctions, and raffles in the 1920s landmark hotel that once accommodated Princess Diana. A highlight of the night included an appearance by Billy Corgan, singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, who auctioned off an hour-long private concert with his band and raised $120,000 for the cause.
Paula Fasseas, the woman behind PAWS, stated in a press release, “As a result of the dedication of our event sponsors, volunteers, and donors, we were able to host our most successful fundraiser to date. The support we receive has an incredible impact on the communities we serve, saving the lives of thousands of dogs and cats each year and enabling us to provide free services, like spay/neuter and vaccinations, for pets of low-income families. This year’s Fur Ball was truly a night to remember, and I thank all our supporters for their commitment in helping to build a No Kill Chicago.”
Photos by Sparenga Photography
Aiding Paula in her efforts were co-Chairs Stephanie and Jake Henry and Anne Marie and Murray Peretz, along with Honorary Chairs were Janice and Philip Beck as well as corporate sponsors.
Since its founding in 1997, PAWS Chicago has become the city’s largest no-kill animal shelter, placing over 31,000 pets in homes by the end of 2013, with another several thousand placed in this year. The mission will expand with the grand opening of the North Shore Adoption Center on December 6th, just in time for families to bring a new furry loved one home for the winter holidays.
But PAWS goes beyond simply finding homes for homeless pets. The organization adheres strongly to its values that include respect for every life. Rather than cages, animals awaiting adoption are housed in roomy suites with toys and the attention of loving volunteers. Fresh air circulates the facility to reduce incidents of illness, and veterinary care is always top-notch, even for those with lifelong illnesses that would be a shortcut to euthanasia in many other shelters. The nonprofit also sponsors legislation aimed at increasing transparency in shelters, banning outdated euthanasia practices, and requiring additional licensing or training for shelter personnel. For these efforts, and many more, PAWS Chicago was named Best Charity of 2014 by Chicago Reader and holds an impressive 4 Star Rating by Charity Navigator.
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Through events such the Fur Ball as well as the generous donations of animal lovers, PAWS Chicago is a leader in the no-kill movement and ever closer to ending the euthanization of homeless animals and making Chicago an even greater city for it.
Congratulations to Paula Fasseas along with co-chairs Stephanie and Jake Henry, and Ann and Murray Peretz, along with all the volunteers and generous sponsors whose outstanding efforts helped raise a record $1.6 million. Rin Tin Tin and Lassie would be proud.