PAWS Chicago Receives Share of $1.5 Million Trust

Lemont resident Sylvester Czopek, who died in 2011 at age 84, left more than $1 million to five no-kill, Chicago-area animal shelters, including PAWS Chicago in Lincoln Park.

PAWS Chicago Adoption Center will have extra money to care for rescued animals this year, thanks to a surprise donation from a suburban animal lover.

Lemont resident Sylvester Czopek, 84, died in a Joliet hospice in October 2011. A Korean War veteran, he was the last of five brothers—all of whom never married.

With no living heirs, Czopek set up a trust that directed his $1.5 million estate to five no-kill animal shelters in the Chicago area—the Will County Humane Society in Shorewood, Naperville Area Humane Society, PAWS Chicago Adoption Center in Lincoln Park, the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge and West Suburban Humane Society in Downers Grove.

The shelters reportedly received word of the generous donation in early December, just before the holiday season. Each will receive an equal share—roughly $300,000.

PAWS Chicago's three-part mission includes building no-kill communities, starting with "No Kill Chicago" that respect and value the life of every cat and dog; end the overpopulation of homeless animals through solutions, practice and education; and to transform animal welfare by setting higher standards for animal treatment.

The shelter gained national attention this past holiday season when a leading charity evaluator gave it the highes possible within the Animal Rights, Welfare and Services category and Chicago Magazine recognized it as among the best nonprofits in the city of Chicago.


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