Just returned to the office to find in my in-box the press release from the Dallas Zoo in which it proclaims the Harold Simmons Foundation's gift of $5 million "the largest private gift in its 120-year history." In other words, Harold Simmons like animals just slightly more than he hates Barack Obama. Because, as you'll no doubt recall, he only spent $2.9 million to fund the ad linking the Democratic presidential candidate with former Weather Underground-er William Ayers. See, he's a softy after all -- and, turns out, maybe a Jenny fan too? Because the donation will go toward expediting the completion of the $40-million African Savanna habitat, in which zoo officials plan on keeping Jenny after deciding not to send her to Mexico after all. The zoo's entire media release follows. Jump for it. --Robert Wilonsky
Dallas Zoo Receives Largest Private Gift in its 120-Year History
Harold Simmons Foundation Pledges $5 million Toward African Savanna Habitat
DALLAS -- The Dallas Zoo’s African savanna habitat is a giant step closer to reality thanks to a $5 million gift from the Harold Simmons Foundation. The three-year pledge to the Dallas Zoological Society (DZS) is the largest single private contribution in the Dallas Zoo’s 120-year history.
“We are pleased to support the Dallas Zoo’s future African savanna habitat, which will provide much larger and more natural environments for these incredible large mammals,” said Serena Connelly, vice president of the Harold Simmons Foundation and a DZS board member. The approximately $40 million African savanna habitat will feature elephants, giraffes, lions, warthogs and several other species native to Africa.
“This remarkable commitment from one of Dallas’ most generous families will help provide wonderful homes for some of our most popular and charismatic animals at the Dallas Zoo. In addition, this African savanna habitat will provide a great learning experience for our community,” said Michael Meadows, president and chief executive officer of DZS. “The Harold Simmons Foundation’s pledge provides an important catalyst for our capital campaign and we hope it will inspire others to join in our continued efforts to improve the Dallas Zoo.”
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.