BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Leave it to auctioneer John Fornengo and the ZooLa ingenious co-chairs Sarah Beardsley and Katie Gledhill to mix the almost impossible to obtain “Hamilton” theater package with a one- of-a-kind exclusive like a private party to illuminate ZooLights to set live auction records for the Women’s Board of the Lincoln Park Zoo. Nearly $300,000 was raised November 2 in a private club adorned with swan motifs, as if in tribute to the gift of two swans that inspired the formation of the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Attendees included Women’s Board President Caroline Huebner, Zoo President and CEO Kevin Bell, Board Chair S. Biff Bowman, Maureen Maher-Pendry and Tom Pendry, Carrie and Matt Parr, Mary and Greg Pearlman, and Abby Funk. ZooLa’s sponsors included: Holly and Peter Francis Geraci, Denise and John Ginascol, Katie and Brent Gledhill, and William Blair.
Hats off to the Women’s Board for obtaining the most varied list of prizes we can ever remember seeing—obviously they know the right people who adore the Zoo and are committed to keeping it free in cost for all. They included a private tour of the National Air and Space Museum conducted by seasoned NASA astronaut Captain Scott Altman, red carpet bleacher seats at the 2018 Oscars, trips to Morocco, Patagonia, and Vietnam and Cambodia and a two-nights stay at the Oak Conservation Center. Small plates and great hors d’oeuvres sustained the mix of business, social and civic leaders who were bidding like mad.
Proceeds from ZooLa 2017 support the Women’s Board’s leadership pledge to the Zoo’s worldwide efforts in conservation, earning and animal care through the new state-of-the-art facilities and programs. The current The Pride of Chicago campaign includes Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove, the Walter Family Arctic Tundra, Hurvis Family Learning Center and a new Visitors Center are among the projects the board supports.
Co-chair Sarah Beardsley commented after the event:
The event was a huge success. We are very grateful for everyone’s attendance and donations. It is exciting to witness the enthusiasm in supporting this local treasure.
Photo Credit: Violet Dominek