UPAWS Receives Surprise $100,000 for New Shelter


On October 13 the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter held its annual fundraising gala, Cause for Paws. The event is one of the main fundraising events that supports the care of homeless animals in Marquette County.

At the completion of the event Ann Brownell, Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, shared a letter that was sent to her. The letter was dedicated to everyone in the caring community who has adopted, fostered, or sponsored a pet, helped at a fundraiser or at the shelter, donated money or goods to operate the shelter, shared the word of pets for adoption and news about the shelter, and/or contributed to the funding of the new shelter.

“To honor everyone who has been a party of this ‘village’ and has worked to make UPAWS a caring and loving temporary home for numerous homeless animals for many years, and to help celebrate even better days ahead as the new shelter moves toward completion, a Friend of UPAWS would like to present this check to Kori (Tossava) for the shelter capital campaign in the amount of $100,000.”

With this announcement, the sold-out crowd in attendance stood and cheered in celebration. The dream of a new shelter has been years in the making, with long-standing support from the community.

“Keeping this amazing secret for a month was so exciting. I wanted to practice reading the letter and since I couldn’t tell ANYBODY it was my cats who were the only ones who knew ahead of time!” said Brownell.

“It is not often that I lose my words but this surprise sure pulled them from me for a while! We are so humbled and honored to receive this gift to create a comforting home for the animals in our care and to be able to provide more programs for the community that has supported us for 40 years,” Tossova said.

With this gift the Imagine the PAWSibililities Campaign for a new shelter has raised almost $2.62 million of the $3.7 million goal.

After the event ended, the friend of UPAWS was a secret no more. While the gift ultimately came from Mark and Christine Troudt, they stressed that they didn’t want to be featured at the event because “this was to honor everyone who has been a part of helping UPAWS over the years. Our contribution is a small part of what is necessary to care for and house homeless pets.”