Los Angeles Zoo To Honor Betty White at Fundraiser

by Caitlin Berard

Fondly referred to as “the best party in town,” the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s annual Beastly Ball is on the horizon. This year’s event, taking place on June 4th, will stand out amongst those previous, however, as the late Betty White will receive a special honor during the fundraiser.

Though Betty White was a beloved actress, earning over 100 acting credits in her legendary 80-year career, she was also passionately involved with a number of charities benefitting animals. To Betty, the welfare of animals of all shapes and sizes was paramount.

“Betty White’s legacy will have a lasting impact on all of us here at the Los Angeles Zoo,” Denise M. Verret, CEO of the L.A. Zoo, said in a statement from the zoo. “She was a long-time champion and friend of the L.A. Zoo who advocated for us and helped to amplify the work we are doing to conserve wildlife.”

“She cared deeply for all living creatures – including us,” Verret continued. “Her loss leaves a great hole in our hearts. The L.A. Zoo cannot thank Betty enough for her decades of support. There truly will never be another person like her.”

Betty White was a proud supporter of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. Not only was the actress a GLAZA trustee and donor, but she was also a zoo advocate, an “Ambassador to the Animals,” and an honorary zookeeper.

So, to honor Betty White’s lifelong commitment to animals, GLAZA is renaming its Conservation Hero Award in her memory. From this year onward, the award will be known as the Betty White Conservation Hero Award.

LA Zoo President Explains Impact of Betty White’s Beloved Beastly Ball Fundraiser

According to the Los Angeles Zoo website, the Beastly Ball is GLAZA’s “largest and most important fundraiser of the year, bringing in critical support for our work on behalf of the Los Angeles Zoo and its efforts in wildlife conservation, public education, and creating innovative experiences to connect people with nature.”

Though the past two fundraisers have been virtual due to pandemic restrictions, this year’s event will take place in person. In an interview with ABC, actress and ardent animal advocate Carolyn Hennesy, gave her thoughts on the annual Beastly Ball.

“The conservation programs that they have [and] the preservation programs that they have are second to none,” Hennesy said. “We’re so lucky, we have them in Los Angeles, but they need, as any institution does, they need help.”

When you think “Hollywood fundraiser,” you might imagine a ballroom full of people in formal attire. This isn’t the case for the Beastly Ball, however, as Tom Jacobson, president of GLAZA, explained.

“The people who come to the event are not sitting at tables listening to speeches all night,” Jacobson said. “They’re roaming throughout the zoo, seeing the good work that the zoo does in animal welfare and conservation, and having a really fun time.”

“We have many conservation partnerships across the planet,” Jacobson added. “And the money that is raised at the Beastly Ball helps the zoo meet its mission to save species from extinction.”