News & Media
PHOENIX ZOO RECEIVES $1 MILLION GIFT FOR NEW STAFF AND VOLUNTEER HEADQUARTERS
PHOENIX (June23, 2010) – The Phoenix Zoo recently received a lump sum donation of $1 million from private supporters with a long-standing commitment to the Zoo’s mission and philosophy. The gift will go toward a new on-site staff and volunteer headquarters. The state-of-the-art facility is one of the planned renovations under the Zoo’s $20 million “World Class Zoo for a World Class City” Capital Campaign which began in late 2008.
“We are extremely honored and grateful for this recent act of generosity, ” says the Zoo’s Capital Campaign co-chairperson, Tom Ambrose of Big Brothers Big Sisters. “This gift is just one example of the donors’ avid support of the Phoenix Zoo over the years, but it goes well above and beyond the call of duty.”
The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, chose to designate their $1 million gift for the new staff and volunteer facility as an expression of their appreciation for those who work at the Zoo. Currently, the executive staff offices are located off-site; the new headquarters will bring them back to the Zoo grounds. Along with workspace, the facility will house volunteer training and meeting space for community organizations. The LEED Platinum-certified building will serve as a showcase for best practices for modern “green” construction, demonstrating the Zoo’s commitment to caring for the natural world.
“This is a pivotal time in the history of the relationship between humans and the environment. We need to take care of the Earth now to ensure a good quality of life for its future inhabitants, whether human, plant or animal, ” says Phoenix Zoo President and CEO, Bert Castro. “The Phoenix Zoo strives to be a leader in fostering respect for the natural world. The improvements we are making will help in this quest.”
Since the inception of the Capital Campaign, the Zoo has made several additions and improvements designed to enrich the guest experience. The new Komodo dragon exhibit, which opened in November, is the most visible addition to date. The Zoo also recently renovated the Harmony Farm area to increase its accessibility. Other completed projects include improvements to vital infrastructure such as installing both domestic water and fire lines. With $13 million raised so far, the Zoo has surpassed the halfway mark of its $20 million goal, but according to Castro, the projects slated for the next phase of the campaign are crucial to the well being of some animal species. The current Bornean orangutan exhibit is below today’s standards and will require an updated holding facility in order to maintain accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Program. Construction of the $5 million dollar orangutan exhibit began in late March, 2010. Orang-Hutan: “People of the Forest”, will provide a more naturalistic environment for the Zoo’s orangutan family. With modern amenities and a larger area to explore, the Zoo will have the opportunity to add more orangutans in the future. Additionally, the Zoo has been chosen as a breeding place for the rare and endangered Sumatran tigers, which will require an exhibit with a larger swimming area.
The Zoo also has plans to build an education and event facility overlooking the lake as well as an expanded entrance. This new entry area will house an aquarium and native wildlife exhibit. Castro hopes that the modernized elements will add up to a more interactive, engaging experience for the 21st century Zoo guest.
“We intend to create a stimulating environment that connects people with nature. If a visit to the Phoenix Zoo inspires people to take care of the world we all live in, we will have accomplished our mission, ” he says. “The generous $1 million gift we have received shows exemplary support for creating a world class zoo. We invite others in the community who share this vision to contribute what they can to the Capital Campaign.”
About the Phoenix Zoo
The Phoenix Zoo is a non-profit zoological park that serves 1.5 million guests annually. Home to more than 1, 300 animals and many endangered and threatened species, the Zoo is dedicated to inspiring people to live in ways that promote the well being of the natural world.