Kansas City Zoo director Randy Wisthoff’s budget remedies (3/22, A-1, “Impending cuts to KC’s zoo get attention all over town”) were all cuts or eliminations. May I suggest a more proactive approach?
Make “Adopt a Resident” signs for cages, listing the “board and room” costs. Allow families, schools and churches to donate funds to support their favorite animal or family.
Hold a charity auction. Solicit donated goods from Kansas City businesses for a “Save the Zoo” auction. Contact sports organizations for “lunch with a pro,” for example. Enlist local celebrities.
Hire a professional fundraiser to contact charitable organizations and foundations for grants and donations.
Launch a membership campaign for the Friends of the Zoo, with a contest for the person signing up the most new members.
Hold volunteer work days, allowing volunteers to work alongside employees at tasks such as groundskeeping, cleaning cages and painting.
Place collection jars for donations throughout the city with vivid labels and zoo pictures. Volunteers could distribute, collect, count and submit donations weekly.
Erect a large thermometer at the zoo’s entrance showing the goal and funds raised weekly.
Rather than denying picnic lunches, why not get creative?
The Kansas City Zoo is unquestionably a regional attraction. The Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau, for one, lists the zoo — along with other Kansas City, Mo., attractions – as a reason to visit.
I would support a metrowide cultural tax for the zoo, Union Station, Liberty Memorial, etc. I have seen what Denver, Indianapolis and others have done to revitalize their city centers with metrowide support. We need to keep up.
If you oppose that, please consider doing your part voluntarily by joining Friends of the Zoo.
As noted in The Star (3/22, A-1), the numbers of zoo friends in St. Louis (37,000) and Omaha (60,000) dwarf Kansas City’s (16,000). A family Friends of the Zoo membership is just $65 a year. If we could double the number of “Friends,” that would more than cover the city’s proposed budget cut.
Whether publicly, privately or both, we must support the continuation of the attractions that make Kansas City major league.