Essex County News

Mount Family Charitable Foundation Donates $500,000 to Turtle Back Zoo

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Sign Announcing the Lion and Hyena Exhibit Opening in Spring 2017 Credits: Karen E. Hughes
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Ian Mount at the announcement of the Ronald J. Mount Lion and Hyena Exhibit at the Turtle Back Zoo Credits: Jonathan Sym
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Ronald J. Mount Building at the Turtle Back Zoo Credits: Karen E. Hughes
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Team from Essex County, the Turtle Back Zoo and Ian Mount at the future site of the Lion and Hyena Exhibit. Credits: Jonathan Sym
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WEST ORANGE, NJ – A standing room only crowd gathered on Wednesday inside the Ronald J. Mount Education Building to honor its namesake with the announcement of the Ronald J. Mount Lion and Hyena Exhibit at the Turtle Back Zoo. Construction on the site is already underway and is expected to be completed in Spring 2017. The Mount Family through their charitable foundation donated $500,000 to the project.  Support from the Pooled Government Loan Program from the Essex County Improvement Authority rounds out the funding for the $3.6 million exhibit. 

Ronald J. Mount was a 45-year resident of Millburn Township and was very active in the community, serving on the Board of Education, coaching youth soccer and little league baseball. Mount also sat on the board of the Millburn Soccer Association and was the director of the Millburn Invitational Soccer Tournament for over a decade. 

His dedication to service and charitable endeavors reached well beyond the borders of Millburn. Mount was a trustee and President of the Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children for 18 years. He was also a founding trustee and advisory for the Hollister Foundation that focuses on education and health care assistance for children in need. His son Ian has taken on the mantle of the President of the Board of Trustees in his father's stead. 

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Mount's personal legacy of supporting educational opportunities for deserving individuals was solidified with the founding of the Ronald J. Mount Educational Foundation. He was particularly proud of his family's involvement in his educational foundation with his daughter and wife acting as officers.  

Mount was an avid supporter of the Turtle Back Zoo, as a Trustee of the Zoological Society of NJ and as a volunteer with the Docent program. Executive Director of the Zoological Society of New Jersey Adam Kerins said. “Ronald Mount had an incredible impact on Turtle Back and associating his name with the exhibit in perpetuity is an incredible honor.” Mount helped bring the Black Bear Exhibit to the zoo, and now his family continues the tradition of supporting Turtle Back by bringing in the lions and hyenas exhibit. Mount's son Ian said, “When I think of Lions, I think about pride, and that reminds me of my father. I’m proud of him when I think of all the lives he has touched."

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