The has announced a $50 million gift from Harry and Linda Fath in support of an expansion project to mark the zoo's hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary.
The 1:2 matching gift — the largest in the zoo's history — will support a campaign to raise $150 million by 2025 to improve various habitats as well as the zoo's community and conservation efforts. The project will include a near quintupling of its elephant yard; a redesign of the Rhino Reserve; improvements to the polar bear and sea lion habitats; and a new Australia-themed area. In addition, the zoo will dedicate funds to improve visitor accessibility and safety; capture and reuse 100 percent of its storm water; and achieve net zero energy use by driving efficiencies and pursuing advanced energy options, including solar, wind, and biomass.
Fath, a lawyer and real-estate entrepreneur, and his wife previously gave $13 million to enable the zoo to complete its indoor gorilla facility and Africa habitat. He told the that he and his wife made the gift — their final to the zoo — on the condition that director Thane Maynard, who has worked at the zoo for forty years — not retire any time soon.
"We'll see if we can raise this $100 million from the public — because it's for the public," said Fath. "It really warms my heart to go there on a Saturday and see just regular people. It's not some elitist organization."
(Image credit: Cincinnati Zoo)