The Indianapolis Zoo recently announced a $2 million grant from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation for the Campaign for Conservation and Community: Saving the Orangutans.
The grant is a significant contribution to the zoo's overall $30 million campaign goal and comes from the foundation of Crown Point, Ind., entrepreneur Dean White of Whiteco Industries, Inc.
White, who along with his son Bruce, are the co-founders of White Lodging based in Merrillville. Among the Whites' and White Lodging's high-profile developments is the 1,625-room four-hotel project at Marriott Place in downtown Indianapolis, including the JW Marriott Hotel that overlooks the Indianapolis Zoo.
The announcement comes less than a month before the groundbreaking for the International Orangutan Center, the centerpiece of the zoo's campaign that also includes Flights of Fancy: A Brilliance of Birds presented by Citizens Energy Group and the renovation of the zoo's entry plaza - both new to the zoo this year - as well as last year's opening of Tiger Forest.
The International Orangutan Center will be a state-of-the-art home to some of the world's most endangered primates, and will impact the economic life of the community as millions of people, both local and tourists, visit what is being proclaimed as the world's best zoo exhibit. It will open Memorial Day Weekend 2014, and a groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on Sept. 4 at the zoo.
"We are very excited about the International Orangutan Center and the impact the Indianapolis Zoo makes on our community," said White. "This project will further solidify the Indianapolis Zoo's role in advancing global animal conservation and help bring notoriety to this magnificent species that unfortunately is on the brink of extinction."
Added Mike Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo, "White Lodging has played a significant role in the development of Indianapolis and now in the development of the International Orangutan Center at the Indianapolis Zoo. The Whites have shown community leadership with an intelligent and holistic view to economic development that creates a legacy that will last long into the future."
The campaign cabinet, led by Tim Solso, former chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc., has secured approximately $25 million of the $30 million campaign goal. Other leading contributors to the Campaign for Conservation and Community to date include the Alan and Linda Cohen Family Foundation, Cummins Foundation, Margot Lacy Eccles, Suzanne and Fred Fehsenfeld Jr., The Heritage Group, Lilly Endowment, Inc., Myrta J. Pulliam, R.B. Annis Educational Foundation, Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation, Deborah J. Simon, the Solso Family, and other anonymous donors.
Visit the website indianapoliszoofuture.com for complete information about the exhibits affected by Campaign for Conservation and Community.