Akron Zoo receives $1.5 million gift for upcoming expansion


The Akron Zoo has received a $1.5 million gift for its ROAR campaign from an individual donor – the largest donation in the zoo’s history. The gift supports the current expansion of the zoo, including new and innovative wildlife areas Pride of Africa. The donor has requested to remain anonymous.

With this gift, the Akron Zoo has raised $4.8 million, or 80 percent, of its $6 million ROAR campaign goal. The largest in zoo history, ROAR is a comprehensive campaign for Pride of Africa and Wild Asia comprised of individuals, Akron Zoo employees, corporate partners and private foundations. 

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of this individual,” said Doug Piekarz, president & CEO at the Akron Zoo. “The impact of this gift is a true testament to their love of our zoo and this community. Private support helps the Akron Zoo fulfill our mission to connect others to wildlife while inspiring lifelong learning and conservation action.” 

“Our donor is someone who wants to make a transformational contribution, to the zoo and the ROAR campaign, that will also inspire others in our community to come forward and support the zoo,” said Pam Holtz, vice president and chief development officer. “The Akron Zoo staff and our Board of Directors, led by chairman Jim Snider, appreciate this individual’s investment in the zoo’s future.” 

Pride of Africa is scheduled to open in June 2019 and will feature a new Africa lion habitat for a pride of lions, a grasslands habitat featuring Speke’s gazelle and white storks, a Maasai boma for goats and an expanded train ride. 

Wild Asia will open in summer 2020. This area will include a spacious habitat for Sumatran tigers, a new habitat for a pair of red pandas and will introduce white-cheeked gibbons to the Akron Zoo.