The Cleveland Zoological Society and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo proudly announce a $3 million gift from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Supporting Foundation to renovate the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s administration building and to enhance educational opportunities through the addition of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Auditorium. The new auditorium will serve as a large meeting space and hub for educational and conservation-based programming. This gift is the second major capital project supported by the Mandel Foundation, with the first being a $500,000 grant to construct the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Welcome Pavilion in 2017.
“We are so thankful for the vision of Mort Mandel and the Mandel Foundation that will provide exceptional spaces for our guests, our donors, and our staff and bring our administrative facility into a new era,” said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. “This building is the first one you see upon entering the Zoo, and will be the hub for our guest and member services teams, allowing us to better serve those who walk through our gates.”
In addition to the auditorium, the renovation will provide a new Guest Services hub, conference rooms, rental space, and will renovate facilities such as office space, restrooms and reception areas. The gift is the largest single gift ever secured by the Cleveland Zoological Society.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo administration building was dedicated in 1964. Today, the building serves as the primary office space for staff of the Zoo and Zoo Society, as well as guest and event space for members, donors and guests. The renovation will provide needed updates to the staff office areas, add additional rental space for revenue opportunities, and increase staff safety by better dividing the building between public areas and office space. The new guest services hub will improve the guest experience and serve as a one-stop-shop for a variety of guests questions and needs.
“As the nonprofit that raises money in support of this Zoo, our first focus is on improving spaces for our animals and our guests but with a 114-year-old Zoo, we’re always looking for new opportunities to enhance our existing facilities,” said Cleveland Zoological Society Executive Director Sarah Crupi. “These improvements will better position Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Cleveland Zoological Society for the future, helping to improve operations and our philanthropic outreach, as well as creating new spaces for guests to connect with our mission.”
Each year, the Zoo Society provides Cleveland Metroparks Zoo $3 million for programs and operating support. This funding is a blend of membership revenue and generous gifts for current use and long-term support. Over the last ten years, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cleveland Zoological Society have invested $35 million in larger and more complex animal habitats, including African Elephant Crossing, Rosebrough Tiger Passage, and, most recently, the Daniel Maltz Rhino Reserve. Construction on the building is scheduled to begin in late 2021.