Veteran Museum Executive to Lead Nonprofit Support Organization of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
June 7, 2019, Los Angeles, CALIF. — Following a nationwide search, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) today announced that veteran museum executive Tom Jacobson will be joining the nonprofit organization as its new president.
Jacobson, who comes to GLAZA from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, will start as head of the nonprofit partner organization that supports the city-owned Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Zoo) on July 1. He will focus his attention on extending GLAZA’s commitment to animal conservation and advancing the Zoo’s Vision Plan, which will fundamentally guide Zoo development and operations over the next 20 years. That plan, which is currently undergoing environmental review, proposes a comprehensive redesign and redevelopment of the Zoo’s existing 133-acre site to replace outdated buildings and infrastructure and upgrade guest amenities.
“The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of the crown jewels of the City of Los Angeles. I have admired the Zoo’s conservation successes and environmental stewardship that have made it the civic treasure that it is today, and I am excited to lead GLAZA and work with the Zoo on this crucial next chapter building upon that foundation,” said Jacobson.
“I have dedicated much of my career to engaging visitors and patrons of the Natural History Museum in the stories of our natural and cultural worlds, including animal species both extinct and extant. I now have the opportunity to join Zoo visitors and patrons in learning how we can best protect the animals with whom we share this planet. As an Angeleno for more than 35 years, I look forward to contributing to and connecting with the cultural vibrancy of our city in a new way. I am delighted to be joining GLAZA at this transformative time to grow financial support for the Zoo and expand our reach into the philanthropic community, inspiring enthusiasm for an exciting Vision Plan that will reimagine the Zoo for our community,” added Jacobson.
Jacobson has worked at the Natural History Museum since 2001 and served as the Senior Vice President of Advancement since 2007. In that capacity, he oversaw institutional giving, major gifts, membership, and fundraising for capital and special projects. Among his achievements were raising the Natural History Museum’s philanthropic profile and heading up the successful $151 million NHM Next Campaign to support the museum’s transformation. Prior to his tenure there, Jacobson worked for 15 years at theLos Angeles County Museum of Art, where he held a number of fundraising positions. He is also an award-winning playwright and holds an M.F.A. from UCLA and a B.A. from Northwestern University.
“We are proud to welcome someone with Tom’s philanthropic track record to lead GLAZA as we continue to support the Zoo in its mission to save animals from extinction and prepare for a major capital campaign to help fund the transformative Vision Plan,” said Richard Corgel, Chair of the GLAZA Board of Trustees. “Tom’s breadth of experience working for some of the leading cultural institutions here in Los Angeles, navigating the complexities of a public-private partnership, and his success in spearheading successful capital campaigns will help us move forward as we implement our Zoo Vision Plan.”
About the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing over 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,400 animals representing over 270 different species, of which nearly 60 are endangered or critically endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with over 7,000 individual plants. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. Its responsibility toward wildlife conservation not only encompasses safeguarding the animals in its care but also actively participating in the preservation of some of the world’s most critically endangered species and their habitats. The Zoo’s many conservation successes include having led the charge in saving California condors from extinction and restoring populations of these critically endangered animals to their native habitats.
About the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) For more than 50 years, GLAZA has funded exhibits, plant and animal species conservation, capital projects, and education and community outreach programs at the Zoo. There are currently over 53,000 GLAZA member households, one of the largest membership bases of cultural organizations in Los Angeles, and it boasts a volunteer corps of nearly 700. As the Zoo’s nonprofit advocate and partner, GLAZA is committed to providing financial and mission support to the Zoo and its programs; raising public awareness about the Zoo; enhancing the visitor experience; and stewarding the investments of visitors, members, and donors.