April 30, 2014

Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, 314/646-4633
Christy Childs, 314/646-4639
Joanna Bender, 314/646-4703


Endowment fosters educational opportunities for millions

ST. LOUIS— The Saigh (pronounced "sigh") Foundation has announced a gift of $1.5 million to the Saint Louis Zoo, to endow the position of the Fred Saigh Director of Education. The endowment will provide support for the leadership of the Zoo's Education Department.

This is the fourth position to be endowed at the Saint Louis Zoo within The Living Promise Campaign, which has attracted support from individuals, corporations and foundations dedicated to the Zoo's conservation and education mission. A permanent named endowment creates a sustained, lasting position for the Zoo's Director of Education.

"In honor of Fred Saigh and his dedication to the growth and development of the citizens of St. Louis, The Saigh Foundation is pleased to make this gift so that future generations may continue build upon, and expand, the educational programs and opportunities that are available both through the many outreach initiatives and at the Zoo," said JoAnn Hejna (pronounced HAY-nah), executive director of The Saigh Foundation.

"We thank The Saigh Foundation for their continued strong support and for their commitment to Fred Saigh's legacy by providing grants that greatly benefit our region," said Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, Dana Brown President & CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. "The Education Department at the Zoo not only provides excellent instructional material and presentations, it also creates meaningful experiences that last a lifetime. This endowment will help the Zoo continue to enlighten the citizens of this region for years to come."

Now in its 50th year, the Education Department currently is led by the inaugural Fred Saigh Director of Education, Louise Bradshaw. One of the nation's largest Zoo-based Education Departments, the department was established by the legendary Marlin Perkins and was one of the first of its kind. Connecting the Zoo's conservation efforts in the field to the work done on the Zoo's 90-acre campus, the department offers 3,900 programs and typically reaches more than 1.7 million visitors each year.

"We are very grateful for the foundation's generous support for our mission," says Bradshaw. "At the Zoo, we know that discovering the wonders of nature leads us on the path to stewardship of our planet. As educators, our commitment is not only to recognize and adapt to the various ways people learn, but also to create a new paradigm of conservation education that connects people of all ages and backgrounds to nature."

Admission to the Saint Louis Zoo is free. For more information about the Zoo, visit