Our trip to Houston

Mónica Verduga
04 May 23 /

In April, our fundraising team, led by our Chief Development Officer, Renee Monroe, and our Executive Director, Rakan Zahawi, embarked on a journey to Houston, Texas with a twofold purpose. First, we held the first-ever auction for the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galapagos conservation, and secondly, to attend the opening of the awe-inspiring Galapagos Exhibit at the Houston Zoo, a long-time donor of CDF.

An auction to remember

As a non-profit organization, the Charles Darwin Foundation’s work relies solely on the generosity of engaged individuals and organizations who care deeply about our mission to safeguard the Galapagos Islands. We undertake various actions and initiatives to raise funds for our terrestrial and marine research projects. This time we ventured out of the ordinary and organized our first-ever silent auction, thanks to the initiative and support of our major donor, Donna Cole, and her close circle of friends, who visited the Galapagos Islands in December 2022.

Director ejecutivo, Rakan Zahawi, en el centro, con los miembros del Comité Anfitrión de la Subasta. Foto: FCD
Executive Director, Rakan Zahawi, in the center, with the members of the Auction Host Committee. Photo: CDF

Over 50 people attended the auction on April 5th, all committed to preserving the natural treasure of the Galapagos Islands. The auction featured an array of prizes, ranging from dreamy getaways to one-of-a-kind experiences and artwork, which were generously donated by Lindblad Expeditions, Roberto Ochoa, Ecoventura, Picturatus Conservation Ecuador, IWC Schaffhausen, Quasar Expeditions - Galapagos Cruises, Diego Bermeo – Fotógrafo de Galápagos, Metropolitan Touring, Donna Cole – Cole Chemical, Deborah Kainer and Ken Ripper, Kathy and Glen Gondo - Sushic, Wilka Toppins and David Foster, Connie and Don Rankin - Pritchard Sports and Houston Zoo.

We were thrilled to have raised an impressive $68,000 for conservation efforts as a result of the auction! These funds will go a long way in helping us achieve our goals.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Silent Auction Host Committee: Donna Cole & Bob Berryman, Kathy & Glen Gondo, Connie & Don Rankin, Deborah Kainer & Ken Ripper, Wilka Toppins & David Foster, Alta Monroe, Lee Akemi & Marina Saitoh, Pam & Kristi Nishida, Mari Watanabe, Yoko Koyano Shimoda, Dr. Shilpa Patel, Terri Yamamoto Edwards, Tami Cole, and Rakan Zahawi.

La entrada a la exposición de las islas Galápagos en Houston Zoo. Foto: FCD
The entrance to the Galápagos Islands' exhibit at the Houston Zoo. Photo: CDF.

Opening of Galapagos Exhibition at the Houston Zoo

But the trip didn’t end here… We also had the privilege of attending the groundbreaking exhibit dedicated to the Galapagos Islands, curated by our long-time donor, the Houston Zoo. The exhibit captures the essence of the Galapagos beautifully and captivates visitors by showcasing its unique wonders and endemic species, as well as the pressing actions needed to conserve it for future generations.

We are confident that the exhibit will raise awareness of the Galapagos’ unparalleled beauty and biodiversity among more than two million visitors that come through the Houston Zoo each year and are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with the Houston Zoo team.

Mónica Verduga

Donor Relations Officer

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Andres Cruz

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