On Thursday, September 23, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) hosted its annual gala honoring businessman and philanthropist David Bonderman for his dedication to conservation causes. His philanthropic giving to WCS and others has been critical to reducing poaching and wildlife trafficking in Africa. His major support for predominantly anti-poaching and anti-trafficking efforts now extends across 22 African countries. Mr. Bonderman is a long-time supporter of conservation causes and serves on the boards of the American Himalayan Foundation, The Wilderness Society, the Grand Canyon Trust, and the Wyss Foundation. He also funds The Wildcat Foundation.
WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper said, “David’s outstanding contributions to WCS and to so many other organizations reflect his place as one of the most preeminent philanthropists in the field of conservation.”
The WCS Gala took place outside at the spectacular Central Park Zoo and celebrated WCS’s impact on the planet’s most ecologically important wild places and the extraordinary species that call them home. As the world’s premier wildlife conservation organization, WCS has a long record of achieving innovative, impactful results through science, conservation action, education, and by inspiring people to value nature. WCS has safeguarded many of the planet’s most important wilderness areas over the past 126 years, helping to create hundreds of protected areas on land and sea. Additionally, WCS’s network of urban wildlife parks is the largest in the world, with four zoos and an aquarium in New York City connecting over 4 million visitors a year to nature and science, creating a powerful force for conservation in New York and beyond.
In remarks at the event, Samper said: “We come together tonight at a critical moment for wildlife conservation and our planet with multiple important international gatherings taking place aimed at tackling the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Mending our broken relationship with nature is the defining challenge of our lifetime. The collapse of biodiversity, the climate crisis, and the pandemic have made this abundantly clear. We must find a carbon-neutral, nature-positive path that balances human well-being along with the needs of wildlife and wild places. And we can find that balance.”
All proceeds of the gala are dedicated to advancing WCS’s mission to save wildlife and wild places. The co-chairs of the event were: Elizabeth and Lee Ainslie, Jill and Gordon Dyal, Christopher J. Elliman, Laura and Peter Grauer, Diane and Andreas Halvorsen, Tony and Amie James, Amelia and Bayo Ogunlesi, Mary and Howdy Phipps, Alejandro and Charlotte Santo Domingo, Kitty and Stephen Sherrill, Loretta and Chris Stadler, Allison and Leonard Stern, Andrew and Ann Tisch, and Ward and Priscilla Woods. The décor for the evening was by Renny & Reed Floral and Event Design; and the catering was by Peter Callahan.