Home / Blog / Zoo Update with GLAZA President Tom Jacobson – January 2022

Zoo Update with GLAZA President Tom Jacobson – January 2022

Tom Jacobson, GLAZA President Photo by Jamie Pham

In November I expressed gratitude for the generosity of our members and donors, and now I’m delighted to report that during the holiday season you gave us even more reason to be thankful.

As of December 31, GLAZA had raised 117% of our $1.5 million restricted funding goal for the year, with $1,751,455 committed. Membership is significantly ahead of our year-to-date goal as well. Fundraising for the Angela Collier Garden is going very well, with more than 80% of the $6.8 million goal committed.

In November we received a $1 million anonymous gift to the Conservation Strategic Plan, which generated 38 stories across broadcast and online media including on ABC, KTLA and KNX. Conservation Director Dr. Jake Owens reported that the coverage led to many other zoos contacting him about the Conservation Strategic Plan.

We have concluded our search for a new Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and I’m delighted to announce Janet Dial will be joining GLAZA in that role starting March 1. For the last eight years, Janet has overseen fundraising for Cal State L.A., and she’s very excited about becoming part of our Zoo family. We are most grateful to Rob Woolley, who’s stepped in as Interim VP since Genie Vasels’ retirement in October.

January 17 was Betty White’s 100th birthday, which we celebrated at the Zoo with a memorial garden, a Betty White Zoo tour, and a press event attended by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Nithya Raman. Pink’s Hot Dogs gave the Zoo the proceeds of last week’s sale of Betty White Naked Dogs–$3,000—and the Walt Disney Company made a gift of $25,000 in Betty’s memory. GLAZA and the Zoo have also been recipients of hundreds of gifts from members and other individuals who wanted to remember Betty, and we’re still totaling the amount because the gifts continue to come in. Zoo Director Denise Verret and I have been interviewed more than a dozen times about Betty’s relationship with the Zoo, and media mentions of GLAZA have been in the thousands, significantly more than any other charity. Media impressions are in the billions (with a B). Betty gave us many gifts over her lifetime, and her legacy will continue to inspire others for a long time to come.

As we navigate this newest phase of the pandemic, we still have many reasons to be grateful, and you are part of our optimism as we enter the new year. Thank you for being such an important part of our Zoo family!