GLAZA’s Most Important Fundraiser of the Year Exceeded Financial and Attendance Goals: 20K Viewers and Over $1 Million Raised to Support the Los Angeles Zoo’s World-Class Animal Care and Global Conservation Work

May 27, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA) — The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s “Beastly Ball” went virtual this year, for a wild night of fun and philanthropy during this time of need.

The virtual event livestreamed on Friday, May 15 to more than 12,000 viewers across Facebook, YouTube and the Zoo’s website – which has since increased to 20,000  – and raised a grand total of $1,055,641 to support the Los Angeles Zoo’s important global conservation efforts. The L.A. Zoo is one of the very first zoos in America to present their major fundraising gala as a virtual event during this crisis.

Hosted by actor and comedian Joel McHale, this star-studded show featured animal-loving celebrities and public officials, like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congressman Adam Schiff and Los Angeles City Councilmember David E. Ryu, as well as guest appearances by plenty of famous Zoo supporters, including the Kratt Brothers, Chris and Martin Kratt. GLAZA President Tom Jacobson opened the show, along with Zoo Director and CEO Denise Verret; Director of Conservation Jake Owens spoke about the Zoo’s many conservation successes; animal care staff showed off ambassador animals; plus, live music performances by superstars Dave Matthews and Brian Wilson, an impressive silent auction with 140+ one-of-a-kind items, and Los Angeles area dining and beverage partners offering recipes and special limited-time discounts in honor of the Beastly Ball.

Attendance during the livestream reached more than 12,000 people over the course of the evening, twelve times the record attendance for the annual “in-person” Beastly Ball.  Thousands more tuned in to the replay after the program first aired, resulting in a total of 20,000 viewers from around the world – and still growing.

By the end of the broadcast, the Ball had generated more than $900,000 in gifts and bids. Auction bidding continued through the event weekend until its close on Sunday, May 17 at 10 p.m., boosting the total raised to more than $1 million, “which is significantly above what GLAZA hoped to net for an in-person Beastly Ball,” says GLAZA President, Tom Jacobson.

Individual donations ranged from $5 to $72,000. All 160+ auction items were sold, most for well over their value, and 175 “ADOPT an Animal” packages were purchased.  More than 1,400 viewers downloaded the Beastly Ball “Virtual Swag Bag,” which included kids’ animal-themed activities, restaurant and beverage deals and even a Beastly Ball Spotify playlist.

The “Fund-a-Need” goal of $90,000 for a portable ultrasound machine was achieved, allowing the Zoo’s veterinary team to upgrade to new equipment right away.  This medical device is a vital diagnostic tool and is used for almost every wellness exam, as well as many emergency exams. The ultrasound allows the Zoo to review organ anatomy, diagnose pathology, and map out treatment plans for the animals.

Tom Jacobson thanks everyone who participated in the event and calls the Virtual Beastly Ball “astonishingly successful.” He goes on to say, “We are thrilled to have exceeded $1 million, which is beyond what we had hoped to achieve when we made the decision to take the Ball virtual.  I am so proud of our dedicated Board of Trustees and the entire GLAZA team who worked hard to produce an amazing virtual event that raised significant funds and reached a vastly broader audience.”

About The Beastly Ball

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s annual fundraiser is critical to the fulfillment of the Los Angeles Zoo’s mission, which advocates for animal conservation and habitat preservation for some of the world’s most rare and vulnerable species; including the California condor, southern mountain yellow-legged frog, and peninsular pronghorn.

About The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA)

The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 55,000 member households representing more than 210,000 adults and children. As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.