BOISE, Idaho — Zoo Boise and Boise Rescue Mission Ministries will soon be able to implement new improvements thanks to a very generous donation.
The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust recently donated a total of $1.25 million to the Treasure Valley non-profit organizations, with $750,000 going to the rescue mission and $500,000 to the zoo.
Zoo Boise will use the money to revamp its red panda exhibit, which was built as a temporary structure in 2004. The zoo said it has a successful breeding program for red pandas and hopes to have the area renovated in 2024.
The project includes three different outdoor habitats for the pandas, with overhead walkways, a space and nursery for cubs, additional climbing areas and more.
Thanks to M.J. Murdock's donation, Zoo Boise plans to add an accessible pathway for visitors near the exhibit. Zoo Boise Director Gene Peacock said the donation will cover half of the project's overall costs.
"The new red panda habitat will resemble an Asian forest full of lush vegetation and an overhead tree canopy," Peacock said. "We're excited to have more ways to educate visitors about red pandas and the struggles they face in the wild, and also to have more space to care for the cubs in our breeding program."
As for the Boise Rescue Mission, the $750,000 will be used to help the non-profit renovate its new transitional housing facility, 'Sonrise Manor: A Transitional Christian Community.' The organization recently purchased the former assisted living facility to add 60 housing units.
Transitional housing is for people who are able to move out of a shelter, but may not have the sustainability and resources to find permanent housing just yet.
The Boise Rescue Mission hopes to renovate the facility for large and small family groups, according to M.J. Murdock's news release.
"We're so excited to be able to support families and people moving into more permanent housing with this crucial service ," Boise Rescue Mission Reverend Bill Roscoe said. "And we're grateful to the Murdock Trust for their partnership."
The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust provides grants to organizations in Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The trust has donated roughly $41 million in the last 10 years to non-profits in the Gem State.
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