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Niabi Zoo and Forest Preserves Foundation

Who We Are

Mission: Support the institutional advancement of Niabi Zoo and the Forest Preserve District of Rock Island County and their initiatives for the conservation of wildlife and habitats, environmental education, as well as animal care best practices.

Objective: Provide private supplemental financial support through active fundraising efforts for the acquisition, construction, replacement, or improvement of Forest Preserve District facilities such as zoological exhibits, development of habitat for wildlife, educational programming, or strategic conservation initiatives outside the realm of funds currently available to the District.

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What We Do

The Foundation participates in many activities to fulfill its mission and objectives as it

  • plans and helps implement fundraising events such as charity auctions, Zoo Run, Pints for Preservation, Zoofari and more
  • participates in Zoo led campaigns for animal acquisition, exhibit development, and capital improvements
  • utilizes social networks to promote campaigns
  • writes and submits grant proposals
  • seeks out items, services, and merchandise for use in charity auctions
  • networks with business leaders and community members to seek support
  • distributes funds to Niabi Zoo and Forest Preserve District through approved project proposals and fund requests



  • Virtual Education Support – Contributed $3,500 to provide digital equipment to allow the Zoo to transition to virtual education during the pandemic
  • White Rhino Campaign – Helped to raise over $110,000 to make species appropriate habitat modifications and bring White Rhinos to the Zoo


  • Spineless Wonders Graphics – Contributed $5000 to print and install educational graphic displays for the Spineless Wonders exhibit in Niabi Zoo’s Discovery Center.
  • Zoo Computer Server – Contributed $2,500 toward upgrading Niabi Zoo’s computer server and data security.


  • African Painted Dog Campaign – Currently engaged in fundraising to bring Niabi’s 13th endangered species to the Quad Cities, African Painted Dogs. $500,000 is the goal to construct a species appropriate habitat, 2 public viewing decks, and transport a pack of Painted Dogs to Niabi.
  • Ukraine Fund – Raised and sent $2000 to the Zoological Association of America to support the Askania Nova Biosphere Reserve, which manages a zoological garden and the Saiga Biosphere Reserve (a UNESCO Heritage Site). The Reserve holds the only captive herd of saiga antelope in the world, which makes this herd extremely important to the conservation of the species.

Please support our ongoing efforts to provide the Niabi Zoo and Forest Preserves with much needed funds to continue their important work in conservation, education, and animal welfare.

Meet Our Board Members

Krisan Steiger – Chair
William Nelson – Secretary
Brian Wegerer – Treasurer
Dave Emerick
Jason Gilliland
Dave Herrell
Geoff Manis
Glenda Mariani
Kathy Matherly
Noah Strausser
Melissa Uzzell

Interested in joining an active Board of passionate people dedicated to conserving nature, helping animals, and educating our community?

Review the NZFP Foundation Board Member Selection Criteria & Application – fillable