Zoo announces largest donation in history

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SAN DIEGO — The organization that runs the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park announced Thursday it received a $6 million donation — the largest gift in its history.

San Diego ZooSan Diego Zoo Global officials said the gift from the Price Family Charitable Fund will help expand a program designed to benefit underprivileged children at San Diego County schools.

“This transformative donation will allow us to do additional in-school assemblies focusing on water conservation and native wildlife and San Diego County ecosystems,” San Diego Zoo Global President and CEO Doug Myers said. “We already host more than 275,000 schoolchildren each year and are delighted at the opportunity to increase our conservation education.”

The money will be used to include up to 45,000 more students in its programs each year and provide bus transportation to programs at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park..

A portion of the donation will be used to fund the Price Education Center’s permanent headquarters for all programs for disadvantaged students.

“Hands-on learning is one of the most important opportunities we can provide for our students,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. “It’s engaging, it’s relevant and it’s fun, all of which combine in a way that really connects young people with their education. It’s wonderful to see partners in all sectors coming together to invest in our kids, their futures and the future of our state.”

The zoo recently created a television channel for patients at Rady Children’s Hospital and their families at the adjacent Ronald McDonald House. The channel, funded by philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, airs educational pieces, video encounters of popular animals, the Panda Cam and other live videos.