By fundraising with major donors and continuing to organize attention-grabbing public events that put homeless pets in downtown storefronts, Fasseas successfully established an operationally efficient organization that could execute spay/neuter surgeries and adoptions at scale. PAWS staff have performed nearly 300,000 free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries since the organization’s founding.
“At Booth, you really look at how to address and solve problems, rather than accepting the status quo,” says Fasseas. “You learn that there are many creative ways of finding and executing solutions.”
The organization’s cageless Lincoln Park Adoption Center finds homes for 5,000 pets annually, using technology to match pets with the right families. And the new PAWS Chicago Medical Center, a 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Little Village opened in 2021, is the nation’s largest and most advanced hospital for homeless pets, providing services to over 25,000 pets annually—including those in need of extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation that other shelters can’t provide.
PAWS also operates community outreach programs and provides free services to address pet overpopulation and resource inequity on the South Side. “We’re addressing and working on all the problems animal owners face: poverty, resources, education,” says Fasseas.
As a result of the organization’s hard work, Fasseas says, many community members have worked with PAWS to leave planned gifts when they pass away. These donations are put into the nonprofit’s sustainability fund to ensure the continuation of lifesaving spay/neuter and adoption programs into the future.
Her Booth financial and operational knowledge helped her strategize and plan for growth. As a result, the organization was one of the few shelters able to continue spaying and neutering at its normal level during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I always had good business instincts, but Booth gave me the foundation to see the opportunity to solve what many considered an intractable civic problem,” Fasseas says. “Building PAWS involved my heart, soul, and passion: helping animals. It was exciting and challenging. And I was able to do that with my Booth degree.”