El Paso Zoo Announces Generous Gift
January 16, 2014

El Paso, TX (January 16, 2014) The El Paso Zoo announces a $600,000 donation from Paul Foster and Alejandra De La Vega Foster to the El Paso Zoological Society (EPZS) to provide 8,000 annual Zoo memberships to Fort Bliss families.
The two year donation will provide Zoo memberships to 4,000 Fort Bliss families per year beginning this month. The memberships will be distributed to the prospective units by the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs (MWR).

"These El Paso Zoo memberships for our returning Fort Bliss service personnel are intended to be a tangible way to assist these heroes in reintegrating back into the lives of their families and back into the El Paso community that respects them and recognizes their sacrifices," said Steve Marshall, El Paso Zoo Director.

Getting out and spending time together at the Zoo is a perfect way to reconnect. Families can go as many times as they want throughout the year and experience all that is available. They will be able to experience all the ongoing changes at the Zoo as they experience all the changes in their own family dynamics. The family membership allows admission at no cost for two adults and five children for the entire year.

A large number of Fort Bliss families have to deal with deployment every year and it is tough on everyone. Sometimes returning can be even tougher. Deployed personnel come back to many changes that have taken place- some of which are huge. Families need time to reintegrate and even get to know each other again. The donation of these memberships will help tremendously with that process.

"This program is the first in the nation and we're very appreciative to the Foster's for making such a difference in our community. It will be great to see all the smiling faces after the difficulties the families have endured," said Renee Neuert, Executive Director of the El Paso Zoological Society.

This donation does not only impact military families, it also allows the EPZS to provide more funding to the Zoo. This donation will provide additional funding for education programs, landscaping, worldwide conservation and many other things at the Zoo.

Every Zoo membership purchased from the EPZS directly funds Zoo projects. This donation is doubling the size of membership households in El Paso.

"This is just another example of how the El Paso Zoological Society helps the Zoo while also helping our community. Donations like these are so impactful for the community at large. We are very grateful for the Foster's generosity," said Marshall.

The donation of memberships is a portion of a $2 million pledge over six years. The $2 million donation distribution is as follows:

-$600,000 for Zoo memberships to be distributed to military families. 4,000 memberships will be distributed in 2014 and 4,000 in 2015.
-$500,000 for Foster Tree House Playground given in 2013 for playground opening in 2014
-$900,000 sponsorship for Wildlife Theater programming for 2016-2018

Locally recognized as the Best Place to Take the Kiddos, the El Paso Zoo sits on 35 acres of fun and adventure. Bigger and better than ever, the El Paso Zoo is an expansive green space that is home to exotic animals from around the world and features family attractions such as the African Star train and the Hunt Family Desert Spring. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the El Paso Zoo celebrates the value of animals and natural resources and creates opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature. For more information, visit elpasozoo.org. For news and exclusive content, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/elpasozoo) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/theelpasozoo).