Zoo Update with GLAZA President Tom Jacobson – May 2022

Peacock feathers of all colors and patterns.
The peacock is the national bird of India and sports many more colors in its famed tail feathers than just blue and green. Photo by Jamie Pham

Over the last several months, we’ve cautiously and thoughtfully begun hosting special events at the Zoo, including Wild for the Planet programming throughout the month of April. We’ve learned a lot about the enormous value of outdoor space to provide guests a safe place to learn about nature and celebrate the mission of the Los Angeles Zoo, and we’re about to take one of our most dramatic steps yet toward “normal” by hosting the Beastly Ball in person at the Zoo on June 4. After two successful years in the virtual realm, it feels exhilarating.

Not only will this Beastly Ball take the latest health and safety considerations into account so guests may fully enjoy the evening, it will also honor the memory of our dear friend and Trustee who passed away at the end of December, Betty White, with the inaugural Betty White Conservation Hero Award.

All of us at GLAZA are deeply grateful to the people of Los Angeles for their philanthropic support of the Zoo during the pandemic, and the Beastly Ball is our opportunity to thank our donors in person for their generosity and commitment to wildlife. For many years the Beastly Ball has been a fun alternative to a traditional fundraising gala, a joyful journey through the Zoo with keeper conversations, surprising entertainment, and innovative food and drink from some of L.A.’s finest and most adventurous restaurants. Midway through the evening, a brief program will highlight the Zoo’s mission and our honorees Kathryn Bowers and Dr. B. Natterson-Horowitz, acclaimed authors of Zoobiquity and Wildhood, as well as our Betty White Conservation Hero, Stephen Badger, former chair of Mars, Incorporated, who set the candy company on a path to sustainability that is a model for other corporations.

The entire Beastly Ball is dedicated to the memory of Betty White, who served on the GLAZA Board of Trustees for almost 50 years and always said her acting work was to support her love of animals. Her example continues to inspire others, with more than $250,000 in spontaneous gifts in her honor in January and significant growth in our volunteer program, demonstrating that everyone wants to “be like Betty.”  Please join us in celebrating Betty at the Beastly Ball by buying tickets, becoming a sponsor, or making a gift.

And for those who aren’t able to join us on the evening of June 4, the online silent auction is a way you can be a part of the celebration wherever you are. The auction will feature items from Betty White herself and will preview beginning May 20, with bidding starting May 27. We hope you will be with us in one way or another for the Beastly Ball!

GLAZA President Tom Jacobson feeding a giraffe.
Tom Jacobson, GLAZA President Photo by Jamie Pham

Author: Tom Jacobson