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Home / Plan Your Visit / Special Experiences / Beastly Ball 2023

Beastly Ball 2023

A History-Making Event

The 2023 Beastly Ball fundraising gala was a roaring success! Bringing in more than $1.6 million, this year’s Ball was the second highest-grossing event of its kind in the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s history.

A group standing in front of a mural
From left: 2023 Beastly Ball Honoree and longtime GLAZA trustee Diann H. Kim, GLAZA President Tom Jacobson, CEO and Zoo Director Denise Verret, and Brigid LaBonge, who accepted the 2023 Betty White Conservation Hero Award on behalf of her late husband, L.A. City Councilmember Tom LaBonge.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the Ball and participated in the silent auction, and, of course, to actor, comedian, and host Joel McHale, Beastly Ball 2023 honoree and longtime GLAZA trustee Diann H. Kim, and the family of Tom LaBonge, the late Los Angeles city councilmember who was posthumously honored with the 2023 Betty White Conservation Hero Award for his fierce, unwavering advocacy and support of the Zoo and Griffith Park.

People at a silent auction
The evening’s thrilling paddle raise in support of Betty White’s Zoo Pals helped make the 2023 Ball one of the most successful ever.

The evening’s moving and inspirational program featuring CEO and Zoo Director Denise Verret and GLAZA President Tom Jacobson ended with a rousing Fund-a-Need paddle raise benefiting the Zoo Pals scholarship program, which provides students from under-resourced Los Angeles schools with opportunities to experience the magic and wonder of the Zoo. Guests enthusiastically raised their paddles to donate, knowing that each contribution would be matched dollar-for-dollar by the estate of the late Betty White. In tribute to Betty’s lasting and loving legacy of support for the Zoo, animals, and the communities of Los Angeles, it was announced that the scholarship program that she held so dear would be renamed Betty White’s Zoo Pals.

Auction items donated by Betty’s estate—including personal jewelry, clothing, and signed memorabilia—generated tremendous excitement among fans around the globe.

This year’s Beastly Ball was truly a magical and unforgettable evening. Words cannot express how thankful I am to all of the generous donors, friends, and supporters who came together not only to support the Los Angeles Zoo and our mission… but also to honor the legacy and dedication of our friend, late Councilmember Tom LaBonge, and GLAZA Trustee Diann Kim.

CEO & Zoo Director Denise Verret

While the Beastly Ball is GLAZA’s biggest and most important fundraiser of the year, it’s just one of the many ways you can support the Zoo’s mission. Learn how you can make an impact by visiting our Donors page.

Celebrities for a Cause

People dancing in front of a backdrop
Rocker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Sammy Hagar with wife Kari Karte on the Beastly Ball 2023 red carpet. Ball guests were treated to specialties from Hagar’s beverage brand, Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co.

Boldfaced names in attendance at the Ball included actors Kola BokinniDiane FarrCharley Koontz, and Charlie Sheen; rocker and entrepreneur Sammy Hagar; former L.A. Dodger Adrián González; celebrity Zoo Ambassadors Pauley Perrette and Carolyn Hennesy; and YouTube sensation GloZell Green.

Restaurant & Beverage Partners

We would like to thank the following restaurants, caterers, and beverage partners for showcasing their fabulous food and drink for Ball guests’ enjoyment throughout the evening.

  • Don Francisco’s Coffee
  • El Cholo The Original
  • The Federal Bar
  • Hedonistas de la Fe Mezcal
  • John Kelly Chocolates
  • Krispy Kreme
  • Lalo Spirits
  • Little Sister
  • The Lonely Oyster
  • McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams
  • Milk Jar Cookies
  • Momed
  • Olga
  • Pink’s Hot Dogs
  • Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Company
  • Taste of the Wild Catering at the Los Angeles Zoo
  • Vicez Events
  • WhistlePig Whiskey Co.
  • Yakumi

Beastly Ball 2023 Corporate Partners

US Bank

Ball Committee

Courtney Appell 
Shainaz Donnelly Burg 
Wendy Denham  
Brian Diamond  
Rob Ellis
Sam Enoch
Brian Hodous 
Tom Jacobson, GLAZA President
Kelly Brock Jennings 
Tyler K. Kelley 
Melinda Peters 
Franco Terango
Denise Verret, Los Angeles Zoo CEO and Director
Jennifer Thornton Wieland 

Conservation Impact

The Beastly Ball has raised millions of dollars to support the L.A. Zoo’s local and global conservation and education efforts. 

In this era of rapid global species loss and disappearing habitats, the leadership role that the L.A. Zoo is taking to save species while inspiring the next generation of conservationists has never been more important. Your support of the Beastly Ball is key to ensuring the success of the mission. Join us.  


For 60 years, the nonprofit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) has funded exhibits, capital projects, field conservation efforts, education and community outreach programs, and more at the Los Angeles Zoo, an international leader in the preservation of wildlife and care of animals.

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