The Birmingham Zoo has announced the “Feed Your Animals: Give Today to Secure the Future” fundraising campaign with a goal to raise $780,000 by January 31. Protective Life Corporation (Protective) jump-started the campaign by awarding a $250,000 grant that will be combined with other matching gifts from businesses and leaders. These matching gifts are meant to encourage contributions to offset the Zoo’s projected $2.5 million operating loss at year-end. Gifts made by the public will be matched dollar for dollar up to $390,000.
“In these challenging times, we must invest in what makes Birmingham great. The Birmingham Zoo is a beloved asset in our city and offers a place where families can spend time outdoors, even during the pandemic,” said Rich Bielen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Protective. “As a community, it is important that we come together to protect and advance the Zoo’s future, and we hope our contribution will inspire the gifts of other Birmingham residents.”
Joining forces to kick off the Zoo’s Feed Your Animals campaign are Alabama Power Foundation and Phyllis and Larry Wojciechowski contributing $50,000 each with additional funding from Daniel Foundation of Alabama, James Milton and Sallie R. Johnson Foundation, Altec, Inc., and Larry and Mike Kondel.
“The Zoo is the home for these animals. They must be cared for and cannot wait patiently until this crisis is over,” Chris Pfefferkorn, President & CEO emphasized. “We are asking the public to help provide critical support through the purchase of Zoo Memberships and now by making a campaign gift that will be matched with the $250,000 grant from Protective Life Foundation and the additional matching funds.”
Operating costs for the Zoo amount to $30,000 a day to provide food and vital care for its 550+ animals, including many endangered species. Even with a Payroll Protection Program loan that was received earlier this year, some employees had to be laid off, and the number of days the Zoo is open to the public was reduced to cut expenses.” Pfefferkorn says, “We are extremely grateful for the support of our community.” He adds, “Please consider signing up for or renewing your Zoo Membership and making a one-time or recurring donation to the ‘Feed Your Animals’ campaign at birminghamzoo.com/donate. All of these efforts will help the Zoo cut the anticipated shortfall.”
Vice President of Development Karen Carroll adds, “With this campaign, your gift of $5 becomes $10 and $100 becomes $200. Gifts of all sizes are important and make a tremendous difference. Stock gifts, IRA distributions, and planned gifts are also valuable options. We have a long way to go, but I feel confident because I believe in our community’s generosity and its love for the animals.