Zoo Celebrates Zoofari! Success and Record-Breaking Effort

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

The Louisville Zoo just wrapped up the most successful Zoofari! fundraiser in its 35-year history. Under the helm of Zoofari! co-chairs, Annette Schnatter and Sam Stewart  (facilities and program director, The Parklands of Floyd Fork), Zoofari! 2015 achieved a record gross revenue of $440,000. This is the second year in a row Schnatter and Stewart have led this stellar effort by the Friends of the Zoo with record sales each year. Over the past two years the event has seen a nearly 40% increase and almost doubled attendance. Zoofari! is an annual cocktail dinner and auction produced by the Friends of the Zoo to raise funds for new capital projects at the Louisville Zoo. This year’s proceeds will benefit School at the Zoo and the Zoo’s current $10.4 million leadership capital campaign.

Highly successful events like Zoofari!, produced by fundraising boards such as Friends of the Zoo, play a critical role for the non-profit Louisville Zoo because of the challenges resulting from a continually changing and shifting landscape in philanthropy.

“In a time when corporate philanthropy is trending toward company mission-specific alignment, the commitment of boards like Friends of the Zoo and local philanthropists like John and Annette Schnatter, can make all the difference in our community and to non-profit organizations like our Zoo” explains Zoo Director John Walczak. “The Louisville Zoo is fortunate to have great friends like John and Annette Schnatter.  They exemplify personal philanthropy as well as rare energy and focus in leading fundraising efforts dedicated to furthering the Zoo’s mission locally and globally to better the bond between people and our planet. John and Annette continually show their love and compassion for wildlife by enthusiastically supporting our conservation and education efforts.”

Annette and John’s first foray with our Zoo began with Annette’s role as chair of the Zoo’s Gorilla Forest capital campaign, an adventure that would lead them to other Zoos to learn more about the plight of lowland gorillas and opportunities for our Zoo to play a unique role in conservation education. The result was the creation of a nationally recognized, award-winning exhibit here in Louisville.

The Friends of the Louisville Zoo is a 501 (c) 3 organization whose mission is to raise funds to preserve a legacy. Established in 1969, the Friends of the Louisville Zoo provide funding to help support the enhancement and expansion of the Louisville Zoo’s world-class exhibits. The organization comprises more than 30 civic volunteers and hosts fundraising events throughout the year, including Zoofari! (2016 date is June 4, 2016) and the upcoming Brew at the Zoo & Wine too (set for Aug. 22, 2015).


The Louisville Zoo, a nonprofit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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