Philanthropist and community leader Heywood Fralin has once again demonstrated his dedication to the Roanoke Valley. This time, Fralin extended his generosity to the Mill Mountain Zoo by creating an endowment fund to ensure future wildlife conservation and education efforts at the zoo.
Fralin said, “The future of educational and cultural nonprofits depends on investment funds that generate interest to help offset operational expenses. The Mill Mountain Zoo is an asset to the community and the region, and provides families with an enjoyable destination where they can learn about how human interference threatens vulnerable animals in the region and around the world. The Mill Mountain Zoo does important, high quality work in science education and wildlife conservation, and I am delighted to be a part of it.
As its seventieth anniversary approaches (July 4, 2022), the Mill Mountain Zoo is a conscious steward of its animal collection dedicated to the preservation of wildlife. Mr. Fralin’s investment in the future of the zoo supports his continued efforts to educate locals and visitors about the animals that shape the region’s natural habitat. The work of the Mill Mountain Zoo is an integral part of Roanoke, combining the beauty of its vibrant outdoor recreational scene with its bioscience educational programs that are accessible and enjoyable to all groups.
“This financial commitment demonstrates how vital our precious zoo is to tourism and economic development in the community and throughout the region,” said Mill Mountain Zoo CEO Niki Voudren. “Sir. Fralin understands that the Mill Mountain Zoo is an important part of Roanoke’s history and that we do important work in wildlife conservation, education while contributing to wildlife research. As the Mill Mountain Zoo approaches its 70th anniversary, we are more determined than ever to fulfill our mission while providing a safe, enjoyable and educational destination for people of all ages. This generous investment in the zoo’s endowment is not just an endorsement of this unique historic gem and our mission – it is a testament to his staunch commitment to the success of the region.
Located atop Mill Mountain, just off Blue Ridge Parkway, Mill Mountain Zoo overlooks the town of Roanoke. The zoo was founded in 1952 and is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit operated by the Blue Ridge Zoological Society, Inc.