From the moment Walter and Lisa Clare arrived in Kentucky, the Louisville Zoo had always been an important part of their lives. Walter fondly recalls spending countless days with Lisa at the Zoo after stressful days or weeks of work because the Zoo offered them time to relax and reconnect in a peaceful setting. He and Lisa enjoyed observing the animals, talking with staff, seeing the botanical collection come to life and hearing the laughter of children. After their own children arrived, the Zoo continued to offer their family a peaceful escape and gave Walter and Lisa the opportunity to show their children the animals they had only seen in books or on TV.
In the months following Lisa’s death in 2015, Walter decided that he wanted to honor Lisa, her compassionate nature, and her kind and generous spirit by offering financial support to organizations that were important to him and Lisa throughout their marriage.
Through ongoing discussions with Zoo staff, Walter soon learned that the place so near and dear to his and Lisa’s hearts, engages in work much larger than what they observed as guests. “The Louisville Zoo provided me and my family with great memories, such as attending the opening of Gorilla Forest. I’ve also since learned about the international involvement with preservation and advocacy of so many individual species. I’m so proud of the conservation work they accomplish.”
Walter selected the Louisville Zoo as one of the beneficiaries of a living trust he established because he believes the Zoo is an equalizer in the region, offering every resident, regardless of their background or ability, the opportunity to observe animals that many would never see in their natural habitat. To Walter, the Zoo is a place that was so important to him and Lisa for so many years, that he wanted to ensure it was around for future generations to enjoy. “The wonderful thing about planned giving, or end of life giving, is that it is a way for average people like us to ultimately make a difference.” Walter has also joined the Louisville Zoo Annual Sustainer Society because he wanted to support the organizations named in his trust in some small way during his lifetime. “It truly gives me a sense of purpose.”
At a time when people are easily distracted by cell phones, social media and the busy-ness of life, the Zoo offers everyone a chance to disconnect from daily stresses and engage with animals like little gorilla Kindi in Gorilla Forest, sit eye-to-eye with orangutan Teak, or to stand in amazement near a 16-foot-tall giraffe or 8,000-pound elephant. “Every time I walk the grounds of the Zoo, I have a quiet sense of gratitude that I (or we) are able to make a small impact.”
If you would like to learn more about the Zoo’s Annual Sustainer Society or how you can guarantee long-term support of the Zoo, please contact Kelly Grether at (502) 238-5615 or Kelly.Grether@louisvilleky.gov.