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Make a Donation In Memory of Ambassador Max M. Kampelman

Dear Friends,

Ambassador Max M. Kampelman, founding president of FONZ, passed away on January 25 at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 92.

FONZ’s success and development is much accredited to Ambassador Kampelman, who helped it grow from a small non-profit, consisting of four members and six officers, to the entity it is today. As he liked to tell, in 1958 an enthusiastic group of Zoo neighbors, the Connecticut Avenue Citizen’s Association met with the Zoo Director, Dr. Theodore Reed, to discuss a partnership to support the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Ideas were plentiful – money was not. Undaunted by the task before them, the citizens created Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ). Ambassador Kampelman was a Capitol Hill staffer at the time and away on a business trip during one of FONZ’s first meetings. When he returned, much to his surprise, he learned that he had been voted FONZ’s first president.

His enthusiasm in this role and passion for supporting the Zoo cannot be overstated. He was a major driver in persuading Congress to fund the Zoo’s budget entirely through the Smithsonian. This placed the Zoo on a firmer financial base, allowing for a period of growth and improvement.

After the passage of authorizing legislation, FONZ soon incorporated as a not-for-profit organization and turned its attention to developing education and volunteer programs, supporting these efforts from its operations of concessions at the Zoo, and to expanding community support for the Zoo through a growing membership.
When FONZ celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008, Ambassador Kampelman joined the festivities in celebration of the organization he helped found. He was a recognizable and much beloved champion for the Zoo’s non-profit partner from its beginning, to his end. He will be truly missed.

The Kampelman family’s wishes for memorial contributions from friends and family to be made to FONZ is most gratifying. A remarkable man, we are touched that he would honor our organization and the work we perform. We ask our FONZ family and friends to join us in celebrating, and memorializing, his outstanding life of service.

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Donors giving $250 or more will be recognized in Smithsonian Zoogoer, our member magazine.
Donors giving $500 or more will be recognized in Smithsonian Zoogoer, in the FONZ annual report, and on our website.

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