Will County Humane Society is one of 5 no-kill shelters in Illinois that will receive upwards of $300,000 thanks to one man's bequest. Jed is a 2-year-old Bloodhound currently available for adoption at Will County Humane Society. Photo: Facebook
Five no-kill shelters in Chicago, Illinois are receiving a generous infusion of cash thanks to Sylvester Czopek. The 84-year-old died in a Joliet hospice in October 2011 and had set up a trust that upon his death his estate's assets would go towards rescue organizations.
Czopek bequeathed over $1.5 million to Illinois-area animal shelters that aim to nurse and adopt out the animals.
Will County Humane Society in Shorewood, West Suburban Humane Society in Downers Grove, Naperville Area Humane Society, Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, PAWS Chicago Adoption Center will each be receiving approximately $300,000 in funds from Czopek's estate.
Naperville’s executive director Angela Wood said she was surprised. She told the Herald News, "It was very surprising, because first we found out we were named (in the trust) and then we found out the amount. It was a very pleasant surprise, because gifts like this mean a lot."
Will County Humane Society wrote on their Facebook page, "We have no immediate plans for that donation, but you can rest assured it will be used to benefit our animals waiting for their forever homes. This holiday season, we'll be raising a toast to Sylvester, a local...animal lover like no other. Cheers!"
Czopek was the last of five brothers from Lemont, Illinois all of whom never married. According to Czopek's lawyer, Mark Hanson, Czopek was the last one living in his family. Hanson said, "He died and didn’t have any heirs and was kind of a hermit. He amassed a good-sized fortune and that money was all the parents’ money and all the brothers. He was the last one living."
Romy is available for adoption at West Suburban Humane Society. Photo Facebook
Czopek lived at the nursing home for about three years before he died and was an animal lover. "He loved animals more than people and he was interested in helping no-kill shelters and keeping the money relatively local," Hanson said. "We sat down and combed the Internet and came up with the five. They’re all no-kill shelters and that’s where he decided to leave his money."
Hanson added, Czopek was "delighted when he realized he could make a difference to the beings that meant the most to him."