While a love of animals is not a prerequisite for sitting on the board of Elmwood Park Zoo, it sure seems to be a recurring theme among those who do.
Two new board members will be taking their respective seats at the table this month, and we sat down and had a conversation with each of them.
“We’re very excited to have these two new board members joining the Elmwood Park Zoo family,” said Executive Director and CEO Albert Zone. “Their appreciation for what we do here, and their individual skill sets are going to make an immediate impact on the board. We’re very lucky to have them both coming joining us.”
Morgan DeNicola, who lives in south Philly, is the humanitarian program manager for Cosmo DeNicola Companies, (CDC).
CDC is a holding company for a variety of businesses, ranging from technology, heathcare, publishing, professional football, and Hollywood talent management.
“We’ve known Al (Zone) and his family for a few years now,” DeNicola said. “I’ve always loved being around animals. Anything that has to do with animals and conservation is very appealing to me, so when the opportunity came up to serve on the board I didn’t want to pass it up,” DeNicola said.
“I’ve been able to work with an NGO (non-governmental organizations) called The Humpty Dumpty Institute that works with the United Nations. I’ve had the pleasure of accompanying a congressional delegation to Africa. We had a conversation with the Malawi government about the Amitofo Charity Center, an organization run by Buddhist monks that help orphaned children all around Africa.”
The Amitofo Charity Center helps children who have lost both parents and try ensure the children receive an incredible education, security, stability and spiritual guidance. Morgan DeNicola is looking forward to her return to Africa to ensure the delivery of a Mobile Medical Van the Cosmo DeNicola Companies are supplying to the ACC Center, this medical van will not only supply the children of the orphanage with basic medical care but also the remote villages surrounding the Amitofo Charity Center.
“I feel like Elmwood Park Zoo is more about the educating the community and the enrichment of the animals, which is something that I can definitely support and put my motivation and passion behind,” said Morgan.
Jim Cohn, who lives in Plymouth Meeting, is president and owner of Mid-Atlantic Events magazine, which he launched a little more than 30 years ago.
“I’ve been involved with other organizations and when I started looking at what I had done in the past I wanted to change things up,” Cohn began. “When I met Al, he had some visions for the growth of the zoo. I saw a lot of excitement there. I like Al’s energy with the zoo, I thought maybe I’d be able to add to it.
“I look at the zoo as a wild place to throw around ideas,” Cohn continued. “We talked about a Safari Chic event, and I thought, that sounds like a lot of fun. Zoobile was an event where people were dress pretty elaborately, they took over the whole zoo in Philadelphia. There were all kinds of events along the walk way.
“Now the biggest event in Philly is Diner en blanc. They get a lot of press. I thought there’s nothing like that in Montgomery County. Beast of a Feast (Elmwood Park Zoo’s annual fundraiser) is pretty big, but I thought there could be something in addition to it.
“I said to Al one evening, what if you colored some of the areas, one could be in blue, one in red. Someone could say, hey I’m over in red. You could put all of the deserts over in the blue area, and they could use something blue in them. For the zoo, if they’re standing up at the top when they come in, they could see all of the different colored areas.
For Safari Chic, they would wear some safari outfits. I looked at Al that night and he was dressed to the nines. I thought I why weren’t other people.”
Cohn said his love of animals started when he was a young boy. He had dogs growing up, and he has three dogs now, one a feral dog that had been running wild throughout his neighborhood. He said the dog would follow his dogs when they were out walking, but no one could catch her. ‘Bonnie’ was being fed by neighbors, so she was sticking around. One cold winter day Cohn opened the door to let her come in, and after a while, she finally stayed.
“I’d like to see more companies come into the zoo and do more private events. I think that area of the zoo is very attractive. I’d like to be able to help out on that level,” said Cohn. “If a group has an event there they have the extra advantage of being able to walk around the zoo, something they don’t get from a boring hotel ballroom.”
Original article found at: http://montco.today/2018/07/elmwood-park-zoo-announces-two-new-board-members/