Better Makers: Zoo Ball 2018 Raises $1.2 Million for 150-Year-Old Chicago Institution

Guests took to the dance floor during the 2018 Zoo Ball, where they enjoyed the sophisticated sounds of the award-winning Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra (Photo by Alain Milotti Photography.)

For 41 years, the Lincoln Park Zoo has been holding its annual Zoo Ball, the institution’s largest fundraising event.

This year, the zoo celebrates 150 years of wildlife conservation and education as Chicago’s beloved, free zoo. In celebration of the big anniversary, the Women’s Board hosted the annual Zoo Ball on July 13.

Over 800 guests attended this year’s gala, themed Zoobilee, which raised $1.2 million for the Chicago institution. Since its inception in 1976, the Women’s Board has contributed more than $25 million to a wide range of capital projects and habitats.

Attendees enjoyed cocktails under the stars followed by a silent auction, dinner, and dancing. Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a virtual appearance at Zoobilee to welcome guests with a special message. Women’s Board President Caroline Huebner took the stage before guests hit the dance floor for the award-winning Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra.

Prominent Chicago guests included Lincoln Park Zoo President and CEO Kevin Bell; Chairman of the Lincoln Park Zoo Board of Trustees Biff Bowman; Board of Trustees Civic Chair Barbara Malott Kizziah; Charlie and Caroline Huebner; Laura and George Bilicic; Mamie and Greg Case; and Mayari Pritzker. The event was co-chaired by Krista Coan and Allyson Pooley.

This year’s gala was made possible thanks to the generosity and support of Abbott, Emily and John Alexander, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, BMO Harris Bank, Holly and Peter Geraci, Katie and Brent Gledhill, Anna and Bob Livingston, Northern Trust, Roberta Olshansky, PNC, Tawani Foundation, William Blair and John EttelsonBooth One, Ambassador Chicago, Jewell Events Catering, Neiman Marcus, Pomellato, and United Airlines.

Lincoln Park Zoo: Bonnie Kaufman and Michael Kaufman

Bonnie Kaufman (Zoo Ball 2019 Co-Chair) and Michael Kaufman (Photo by John Reilly Photography.)

Lincoln Park Zoo: Sarah Beardsley

Women’s Board member Sarah Beardsley (Photo by Alain Milotti Photography.)

Lincoln Park Zoo: Actors Gymnasium

Performers from the Actors Gymnasium (Photo by Brooke McDonald.)

Lincoln Park Zoo: Actors Gymnasium gymnast

Gymnast from the Actors Gymnasium (Photo by Brooke McDonald.)

Lincoln Park Zoo: Krista Coan, Caroline Huebner, Kevin Bell, and Allyson Pooley

Krista Coan (Zoo Ball 2018 Co-Chair), Caroline Huebner (Women’s Board President), Kevin Bell (Lincoln Park Zoo President), and Allyson Pooley (Zoo Ball 2018 Co-Chair) (Photo by Robert Carl Photography.)

Lincoln Park Zoo: Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra

Guests dance to the sounds of Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra (Photo by Alain Milotti Photography.)

Lincoln Park Zoo: Searle Visitor Center

Impact: Money raised at Zoo Ball 2018 will help fund the soon-to-be unveiled Searle Visitor Center, for which the Women’s Board has raised $3 million (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo.)


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Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.



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