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Zoo New England receives $1 million gift for the new George Robert White Fund Children’s Zoo – Nature’s Neighborhoods

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Zoo New England announces today that it has received a gift of $1 million to support Nature’s Neighborhoods – the new George Robert White Fund Children’s Zoo at Franklin Park Zoo.

This gift, given by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, is the single largest individual gift given in the Zoos’ history.

“We are immensely grateful for this incredible gift, which shows tremendous belief not only in Nature’s Neighborhoods but also in the long-term vision of Zoo New England,” said Robert Beal, who serves on Zoo New England’s Board of Directors and is the Nature’s Neighborhoods Capital Campaign Chair.

Nature’s Neighborhoods at the George Robert White Fund Children’s Zoo is a $6.6 million project that will provide engaging experiences for children and families through active self-directed exploration and discovery. This project is based in extensive market research validating a concept that fulfills the need for an area geared specifically to young children as a priority for Franklin Park Zoo and the community at large.

“This gift has a direct impact on our aspiration to transform our Zoos into world-class experiences that will be enjoyed by children and families in Boston and beyond for generations to come. With this commitment, we are in the final stages of the campaign to build the new Children’s Zoo,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO.

To date, $5.65 million has been raised for the campaign. The George Robert White Fund has made a $3 million capital investment to build Nature’s Neighborhoods, which will occupy and expand the space of the existing George Robert White Fund Children’s Zoo. Generous support has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the state of Massachusetts, administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Nature’s Neighborhoods is also being supported by Robert L. Beal, David Porter, Grace and Ted Fey, Peter A. Wilson, The Charisma Fund - Lucy R. Sprague Memorial, Emily V. Wade, The Gifford Family, The Gutierrez Family, AT&T and many others.

“This generous gift brings us closer to our fundraising goal, and we hope this demonstrated confidence in our mission and future will inspire others to support this important project,” said David Porter, Chair of Zoo New England’s Board of Directors, who added, “Zoo New England’s Franklin Park and Stone Zoos are both vital contributors to our local communities as well as to the Commonwealth as a whole. In addition to providing affordable, fun activities for families, the zoos are dedicated to saving animals from extinction while simultaneously cultivating the next generation of conservation stewards.”