BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Board of Directors today announced a $1 million initiative to grow the Zoo’s endowment, and honor decades of service by Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. The Gregg Dancho Endowed Chair was created to mark Dancho’s 39th anniversary at the Zoo, the first endowed chair for the non-profit facility.
Dancho joined the Zoo as a volunteer in 1975, and worked tirelessly upward through the ranks. He has been Zoo Director since 1983. Under Dancho’s tenure, notable animal welfare protocols were put in place, educational programming and local, national and international conservation programs have flourished, and the Zoo has become a cultural and recreational resource for Fairfield County and the region. Most critically, the Zoo achieved national accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), an honor held by only 220 zoos and aquariums nationally. Annual visitors have grown from 80,000 in 1983 to more than 300,000 in 2018.
The establishment of The Gregg Dancho Endowed Chair will both honor Dancho’s tremendous legacy and solidify the long-term future of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. The Zoo’s current endowment improves and supports animal habitats, enhances guest experiences, supports comprehensive educational and community programming, and advances critical work in conservation.
As part of the overall Endowment Fund, gifts made to the Dancho Chair will be held in perpetuity and invested in the same manner as all endowed funds. Donors can feel secure that their gift is a lasting commitment to the Zoo, while honoring the Dancho’s lifelong legacy.
Board of Directors President Sean-Michael Green said, “An endowed chair is one of the highest honors any institution can confer. The Gregg Dancho Endowed Chair is a permanent tribute to Gregg Dancho, who has served the Zoo with distinction for nearly four decades. Making a gift to the Chair is a wonderful way to show respect and appreciation to Gregg, as well as express our belief in the importance of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo as a cultural and educational destination for the state and region.”