Zoo Update with Tom Jacobson

Absence Makes the Art Grow Fonder
July 8, 2020

This year’s Beastly Ball was full of pleasant surprises. Photo by Tom Jacobson

Humans are an adaptable species. As we changed so much about our daily lives to confront the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve also confronted injustice in our country. As a social species, we are most successful adapting when we do it together. While the Zoo has been closed, the thoughtful collaboration of staff, volunteers, and donors has helped us through this challenging time.

One example is the runaway success of our spring fundraising appeal. We’ve left our original goal of $65,000 in the dust, with almost $268,000 in donations. What an extraordinary outpouring of support when we needed it most! Even more impressive was the response to our Virtual Beastly Ball on May 15, Endangered Species Day. In addition to raising more than $1 million and reaching more than 20,000 households, we were the first major zoo to host an online gala, so our colleagues around the country are calling to ask our advice, and we’re delighted to be seen as trendsetters both locally and nationally. And yet, despite these tremendous successes, we will be financially constrained over the next year by admission caps and limited event revenues, so we are planning new fundraising initiatives to support the Zoo’s important work.

Our fundraising success demonstrates that communication is more important now than ever before. When the Zoo reopens to the public, we will let everyone know what to expect from their Zoo experience and how we’re keeping our visitors, staff, and animals safe. Throughout the closure period, we reminded our friends that the Zoo’s wonderful animal care and wildlife conservation mission continued while our public was safer at home. We look forward to welcoming you back when it’s safer at the Zoo!