Couples’ Shared Love of Indy Zoo Inspires Estate-Plan Gift to Continue Their Support

Photo of Matt Homes and  Amanda Stevenson-HolmesGrowing up in Indiana, Amanda Stevenson-Holmes’ family exposed her to the Indianapolis Zoo at a young age when it was located off Washington Street. More than 35 years later, the entire family still loves telling exciting stories about experiences with elephants and giant tortoises.

The excitement continued several years later when Amanda met Matt Holmes at the Indianapolis Zoo’s White River Garden, while she was photographing a wedding in which he was a groomsman. Their love and shared appreciation for the Indianapolis Zoo began right there.

When they started to see in the media rampant forest destruction and dying orangutans, they were emotionally gripped.

“How could we help when we’re half way across the globe?” said Matt.

While attending Elegant Vintages, an Indianapolis Zoo fundraising event, they learned more about the Zoo’s global animal conservation mission. They knew they could help by supporting the Zoo’s Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center and Indonesian reforestation initiative in Borneo’s Kutai National Park.

By supporting the Indianapolis Zoo, Matt and Amanda make a positive impact locally and globally. Plus, the Zoo team made establishing their legacy easy. Matt and Amanda simply provided a copy of their will that included their allocation to the Zoo to Julie McDearmon, director, institutional advancement, and Ed Sandifer, planned and major gifts officer, and they handled the rest.

Additional benefits of supporting the Zoo and its care for all living things is that it’s fun and enriching! These benefits have brought Matt and Amanda full circle with the Zoo. They enjoy attending the premier Indianapolis event, Zoobilation, every year. Even more, they treasure creating memories with family members, especially their young niece, Avelyn, at exclusive events and Behind the Scenes with a variety of animals and their care teams.

“We want as many animals to exist on this planet when Avelyn is 90 as the day she was born,” said Amanda.

And with their support and legacy, Matt and Amanda’s family will continue to tell exciting stories for decades to come about their experiences with animals and the Indianapolis Zoo.


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