Zoo Atlanta receives one of its largest gifts ever from an individual donor
Friday, May 15, 2015

Longtime Zoo supporters David and Cecelia Ratcliffe contribute $1 million to the project for the revitalization of the Cyclorama property 

In one of the largest gifts from an individual donor in Zoo Atlanta history, David and Cecelia Ratcliffe have contributed $1 million toward “A Grand New View for Zoo Atlanta: Elephants, Events and Expansion. ”The gift to the campaign to revitalize the Cyclorama property is one of the largest gifts ever made to the Zoo by an entity other than a corporation or foundation. 

“We’re elated about this tremendous show of support from David and Cecelia Ratcliffe, friends of the Zoo who have already made a lasting impact on our organization,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “David and Cecelia have shown a significant commitment to both the Zoo and to the community by demonstrating their willingness to be leaders of a campaign that will truly revolutionize the Zoo, now and in perpetuity.” 

The gift follows an already historic record of support for the “Grand New View” campaign. In November 2014, The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation awarded Zoo Atlanta with a $20 million matching grant for the initiative. In January 2015, Delta Air Lines, through the Delta Air Lines Foundation, contributed $1 million in Delta’s largest contribution ever to the Zoo. Both Delta and the Ratcliffes were able to take advantage of the Woodruff Foundation match, effectively making their gifts worth $2 million each.

“Cecelia and I do not normally make donations this large; however, this opportunity for the Zoo is historic,” said David Ratcliffe, retired Chairman and CEO of Southern Company and a Co-Chair of the “Grand New View” campaign cabinet. “This work will improve the Zoo and the community in such positive ways for generations to come that we wanted to be a bigger part of the campaign.”

Launched in summer 2014 following the City of Atlanta’s transfer of the stewardship of the 1920s-era Cyclorama building to Zoo Atlanta, the “Grand New View” campaign will focus on the renovation of the historic structure and its surrounding property. Over the next four to five years, the building and its environs will be transformed to include a one-of-a-kind special event destination; a grand entry plaza; a parking solution; and a dramatic expansion of the Zoo’s African elephant habitat, which will more than triple in size by 2019. 

Stay tuned for updates on the “Grand New View” campaign.