Zoo gets $2.5M

The North Carolina Zoological Society, the fundraising arm of the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, has received a $2.5 million gift, the biggest private gift in the zoo’s history.

The gift, representing the bulk of the estate of T. Walker Lipscomb III of Alexandria, Va., is expected to grow by at least another $250,000 when the estate makes its final distribution in 2003, says Russ Williams, the society’s executive director.

Lipscomb, who was born in Asheville and died Feb. 4 at age 55 after a brief illness, wrote a will in 1999 that made the Zoo Society the remainder beneficiary of his estate, meaning the Zoo Society is getting what is left in his estate after distributions to designated beneficiaries, including more than 40 individuals.

Lipscomb, who taught briefly at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and had lived in New York City and the Washington, D.C., area, was a software professional and investor.

While he gave $1,000 to the society on the last day of 2001 to help the Kabul Zoo recover from the war in Afghanistan that involved U.S. troops, he was not a member of the Zoo Society, which had no idea in advance about the gift or its size, Williams says.

When the gift from Lipscomb’s estate is complete, it will roughly double the Zoo Society’s Lion’s Pride Fund, an unrestricted fund that generates income for the zoo.

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