My Fall Tour 2016 was very exciting this year. I started the tour in Northern California in the lovely area of Sausalito with our CCF Annual Board Meeting held at Cavallo Point Hotel & Spa thanks to the generous support of CCF stakeholder Gregor Freund. Many of our Board, Trustees and staff members traveled to support the meeting as well as attend all the wonderful events surrounding the visit. CCF Trustee Bob Page and wife Sherry, a sophisticated culinary chef, hosted a fabulous Meet & Greet dinner at their beautiful home on the hillside of Sausalito overlooking San Francisco Bay. It was a lovely evening to kick off the board meeting and our fall tour. CCF also hosted a special evening dinner cruise for our board members and cheetah supporters on the Empress around San Francisco Bay.
All in all my tour lasted five and a half weeks traveling to 23 cities and 11 states providing lectures at cheetah affiliated zoo’s as well as a special lecture at Smithsonian Ripley Center in Washington, DC with Dr. Suzan Murray discussing the Challenges in Cheetah Conservation. I also had the opportunity to give lectures at the WCN Expo and the University of Georgia in Athens, GA as well as to the Little Rock Rotary Club. Teresia Robitschko, my assistant traveled along with me and helped with the planning and implementing of the events.
CCF participated and hosted major fundraisers in four states this year starting off with the Big Cat. Big Party in Portland, OR at the lovely offices of Wieden + Kennedy. We then traveled to Washington for the DC Gala celebrating 15 years of support for the endangered cheetah at the wonderful law offices of Foley & Lardner, LLP. CCF stakeholder Sally Davidson, kindly catered the DC Gala again from Clyde’s 1789 Restaurant to over 150 guests and 50 VIPs.
The Columbus Zoo was our next stop for their first Meetah Cheetah fundraiser supported by their beautiful ambassador cheetahs and CCF Trustee, Suzi Rapp. In Oklahoma, CCF Trustee Vicki Gourley hosted the annual cheetah ambassador party at the Meinders OKC Penthouse with our cheetah friends in the Southwest.
This year I had the pleasure of attending many smaller events around the country to support the endangered cheetah. La Herradura in St Helena, CA, to name one, was a great afternoon event with ambassador cheetah Themba supported by the NO CA Chapter. As I traveled my way to Santa Barbara, I made a brief stopover at Moorpark College to receive as their honoree the Platinum Paw Award for cheetah conservation at Rendezvous at the Zoo.
The 2016 Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner was held at the Fess Parker Resort in Santa Barbara this fall and it was wonderful to visit with all of my Explorer Club friends while hosting a small CCF luncheon at the harbor with cheetah donors from the area.
In St. Louis, CCF Trustee Paul Zemitzsch and Challenger supporters James & Katherine Snowden hosted a lovely evening at Log Cabin Club in Ladue with major cheetah supporters from the area.
In New York City, CCF was hosted by Extraordinary Journeys and Empowers Africa to support the cheetah with travel opportunities to Namibia. It was a great evening to spread the mission of all the work we are doing at CCF with the hope of bringing more visitors to Africa.
I also had the opportunity to fly to Little Rock, AR for a special donor reception and fundraiser hosted by the Little Rock Zoo at the home of Rick Fleetwood and Gary Davis. It has been years since I visited the area and it was rewarding to touch base with everyone and meet new cheetah friends.
My tour also encounter many small luncheons and private dinner parties as well as a few sunset sailing trips in California. Entertaining on a smaller scale with intimate parties is a wonderful way for me to personally thank our special donors and cheetah friends while traveling the USA.
All of these incredible events this year both great and small were made possible through the dedication and support of our CCF Board and Trustees and Staff as well as the local CCF Chapters and volunteers at the various zoo facilities who support CCF through their ambassador cheetah programs. I am grateful to have such a successful 2016 fall tour and look forward to 2017.