UPAWS announces matching $100K gift for Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign

NEGAUNEE — The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter Tuesday announced a $100,000 matching gift for its Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign for a new shelter.

The gift will be used toward the $3.7 million fundraising goal and every dollar given to the new shelter campaign will be matched.

The matching gift is given by Martin Steindler, in memory of his wife, Joan, according to a UPAWS press release. Joan was a long-time advocate for the no-kill movement and lover of golden retrievers. The Steindlers have spent more than 35 years coming to Marquette County during the summers and they have a commitment for animal shelters that “take whoever walks in the door.”

“We are so grateful for this gift in memory of Joan and for the support of Mr. and Mrs. Steindler over the years,” said Kori Tossava, UPAWS executive director, in the release. “As we move closer to realizing our dream of a new animal shelter, we are also dreaming of ways that it can be so much more — that it can engage the community in ways we just can’t do right now. Our successes in the no-kill movement would not be possible without the support of our community and this matching gift will help move UPAWS into a new generation of no-kill.

“Joan’s legacy will benefit homeless animals for years to come.”

The current UPAWS facility was built in 1978 and expanded in 1988. Animal intake and services at UPAWS has grown dramatically since its inception 40 years ago, but not the shelter space, the release states. An average of 1,500 animals come through UPAWS open-admission, no-kill shelter each year. UPAWS performs the crucial role of finding homes for homeless animals, as well as reuniting lost pets with their families, and is a leader in the no-kill movement by consistently reaching an award-winning 98 percent save rate.

Beyond the small building size, many other issues compound the problem of providing a healthy and comfortable space for homeless animals, staff, and volunteers, UPAWS explained. Building issues include: poor ventilation, power shortages, low water pressure, uneven heat distribution, mold, leaking roof, and close, small quarters creating high stress levels for animals, all of which generates a tougher adoption environment, the release said.

Caring staff and volunteers at UPAWS have succeeded in making the best effort to run the shelter effectively and efficiently, but the building still lacks in meeting the basic needs for both animals and the community. The Animal Community Center will provide better comfort and care for our animal companions, as well as community space and expanded services.

The Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign to raise $3.7 million is underway. More than $2.2 million has been raised and dedicated to the Animal Community Center, but there is a long way to go.

“As animal shelters are held to higher standards, as well as serving more diverse needs, it takes a cooperative spirit to fulfill the goal of a new facility that serves our animal companion needs and the community as a whole,” Tossava said.

To learn more about the Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign or to make a donation, visit www.upaws.org, email campaign@upaws.org, or call 906-475-6661 to schedule a meeting.