Press Release: 12/21/2012

Oakland Zoo Receives Anonymous $1 Million Grant

Nicky Mora, Senior Manager, Marketing/PR
(510) 632-9525 x130

Oakland, CA December 21, 2012

The mail contained a big surprise for the Oakland Zoo. A letter from The San Francisco Foundation came with a check for $1,000,000 from the Serendipity Fund. The message directed to Dr. Joel Parrott simply indicated that a donor had advised the grant to be used for general purposes. In a call to the Foundation from Director of Development Emma Lee Twitchell, she learned that the donor wishes to be anonymous and no other information was available about the grant. 

"We always want to make the best effort to promptly and properly acknowledge all gifts, and we were eager to know who to thank for this extreme generosity," said Ms. Twitchell. "There is no more important time than the end of the year for nonprofit organizations to reach out to the community for support and encouragement in meeting the needs. This contribution will have a huge impact on our ability to plan for the New Year. "

The Oakland Zoo has experienced significant growth in admissions during the year, hosting nearly 700,000 guests, including families and school groups from throughout the Bay Area. The demand is clear to keep on improving the quality of the visitor experience and provide excellent care for the animals at the Zoo. The Zoo's animal collection has increased with new births throughout the year, including a giraffe, otters, and new arrivals include a female gibbon and hyenas. In the coming year there will be more additions and necessary exhibit improvements.

"Every now and then, something truly extraordinary occurs at the Oakland Zoo that causes me to just shake my head in disbelief, and be thankful," reported Joel Parrott, President & CEO to his Board of Trustees. "We received an unsolicited anonymous unrestricted donation of $1,000,000 for the Zoo, distributed by the San Francisco Foundation.  This has never occurred on this scale before.  It is simply a gift. "

To add your support and make a gift to the Oakland Zoo, you should contact Dr. Joel Parrott (510) 632-9525 x172 or Emma Lee Twitchell at x153."


The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks.