ATLANTA-FULTON COUNTY ZOO INC

aka Zoo Atlanta   |   Atlanta, GA   |  www.zooatlanta.org

Mission

Zoo Atlanta's mission is to save wildlife and their habitats through research, conservation, education and engaging experiences. The Zoo's efforts connect people to animals and inspire conservation action.

Ruling year info

1986

President & CEO

Mr. Raymond B. King

Main address

800 Cherokee Avenue SE

Atlanta, GA 30315 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

58-1655184

NTEE code info

Zoo, Zoological Society (D50)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Wildlife and their habitats around the world are in decline. The survival of all species – humans included – depends on the preservation of our planet’s biodiversity, but the connections between people and nature are becoming increasingly fragile. Zoos save species and their wild environments by recognizing our responsibilities as leaders in global biodiversity preservation and by excelling at the roles we are uniquely capable of playing. Our seven steps to saving species: 1) Education and expertise; 2) Reintroduction of animals in the wild; 3) Creating connections to inspire people to take action; 4) Preserving future options for wildlife by maintaining assurance colonies; 5) Offsetting threats to wild populations; 6) Research and support to aide colleagues in the field; 7) Conservation funding to make a difference where it matters most. The strength of zoos lies in our ability to play all of the roles in which we excel, for the countless species who need us today.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Access Programs

Zoo Atlanta is a community resource and being accessible to all citizens is an integral part of the Zoo's mission. The Zoo creates and delivers a guest experience that is fun, interactive and inclusive of its diverse audience and inspires guests to take conservation action. As a dynamic contributor to Atlanta’s cultural landscape, Zoo Atlanta maintains several key community access programs and partnerships to ensure all members of Georgia’s diversity cultural communities can enjoy the Zoo. During the 2019-2020 school year, the Sponsored Admissions Program provided free admission for 8,851 participants from 72 Title I schools in Georgia. The Zoo ACCESS Program distributed free admission tickets to 185 disadvantaged Georgians through partnerships with local government agencies and community organizations. Partnering with the Georgia Public Library Service, the Zoo offered free admission through the Family Library Pass Program presented by PNC Bank and served 7,384 Georgia residents. In 2020, 7,386 active-duty, reserves, veterans, and retired members of the Armed Forces received free admission.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Zoo Atlanta develops a pathway of educational experiences that allows individuals to establish a lifelong connection to the Zoo and its mission. The Zoo creates fun and engaging experiences to connect visitors to wildlife, provide and support curricula to improve students’ understanding of the natural world, and empower individuals to take action. In 2020, Zoo Atlanta’s education programs served 376,707 participants through public, instructor-led and self-guided field trip programs. Zoo Atlanta assists students in mastering the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) academic disciplines while preparing them for future careers utilizing their new talents and skills. The Zoo’s Education team works closely with the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Public Library Service and school systems throughout the state to design programming to serve the community and support all state education standards. Using this expertise, the Zoo’s programming teaches STEM concepts to students through basic biology, behavioral science, ecology and conservation lessons. A few examples of Zoo Atlanta’s unique education programs include ZooMobile Outreach, Safari Day Camps, Stroller and Adventure Cubs Programs, Teacher Training Workshops, Wild Encounters, Keeper for a Day and NightCrawlers Overnight Program.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Zoo Atlanta guides conservation action, both locally and globally, using its expertise and position within the community. The Zoo leads by example and is an excellent steward of its environment. Zoo Atlanta is directly involved in field conservation programs for wildlife and wild places worldwide, including work in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, as well as locally in Georgia and the Southeastern U.S. Additionally, the Zoo contributes to other established conservation organizations that share Zoo Atlanta’s mission to enable a greater total impact in the field. It supports projects in which Zoo staff are personally engaged in field work, community outreach programs, research and education programs. The Mabel Dorn Reeder Conservation Endowment Fund allows Zoo Atlanta to support conservation to make a meaningful impact on reversing species decline by leveraging the resources of donors, staff and animal ambassadors represented in the Zoo’s animal population. The most significant conservation investment Zoo Atlanta has contributed is more than $10 million for the conservation of wild giant pandas in China. Zoo Atlanta is one of only three U.S. zoos with giant pandas.

In a substantial new commitment to wildlife conservation, Zoo Atlanta announced in 2018 a new partnership with Conservation South Luangwa to protect African elephants and other species impacted by wildlife trafficking and human-wildlife conflict. The partnership represents a significant step toward a goal of increased leadership in African elephant conservation for us. Based in Zambia, Conservation South Luangwa is a nonprofit organization working to identify and prevent illegal wildlife trade using anti-poaching patrols, aerial surveillance and detection dogs trained to find ivory, animal skins, ammunition and firearms, and certain species killed for bushmeat. The partnership with Conservation South Luangwa is a commitment which strongly aligns with Zoo Atlanta’s Conservation Strategic Action Plan, to guide and enhance the Zoo’s conservation efforts both locally and globally. A few other examples of current conservation projects include Quarters for Conservation, 96 Elephants, Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Project, Chilean Flamingo Banding Project, Asian Turtle Crisis, Guatemalan Beaded Lizards Conservation Project, Bog Restoration in Georgia and Species Survival Plans.

Population(s) Served
Activists
Adults

Research is another integral part of Zoo Atlanta’s mission, and the Zoo contributes to the body of scientific knowledge by using the diversity of its animal populations and the expertise of its staff. The Zoo has more than 350 peer-reviewed publications, with an emphasis on primates, giant pandas and herpetology, focusing on animal biology, behavior, cognition and conservation. Not only does research help staff better understand and care for the animals at the Zoo, but it also provides staff with valuable insights that enables the protection of species’ counterparts in the wild. Experts at Zoo Atlanta participate in ongoing research programs in Georgia and around the world. A few examples of current research projects include the Great Ape Heart Project, Giant Panda Research, Kori Bustard Ethotrak Project and the Orangutan Learning Tree Project.

Population(s) Served
Academics
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Association of Zoos and Aquariums- Accreditation 2014

Awards

Atlanta's Most Admired Nonprofit CEO 2014

Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta's Most Admired Nonprofit CEO 2015

Atlanta Business Chronicle

World's First LEED Gold-Certified amphibian and reptile exhibit 2015

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council

Atlanta's Most Admired Nonprofit CEO 2016

Atlanta Business Chronicle

International Conservation Award 2017

Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA)

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of fields trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Education Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of free admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Community Access Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of clients participating in educational programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Students

Related Program

Education Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Education Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of guests who visited Zoo Atlanta

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of species in collection

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Conservation Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Over the next three years, Zoo Atlanta is focused on building a stronger Zoo with excellent management, strong fiscal results, expanded programming, increased attendance and greater community access. During the past decade, the Zoo has worked diligently to become fiscally and operationally strong. Zoo Atlanta's new Strategic Plan focuses on six Key Commitments in Animal Care, Conservation, Research, Education, Guest Experience and Resource Management. Each year, the Zoo's leadership team creates a Business Plan that articulates strategies to obtain specific goals and objectives for each Key Commitment to ultimately further the Zoo's mission and vision. The expected outcomes of the Business and Strategic Plans are tracked throughout the year by Zoo staff and evaluated annually by the Board of Directors.

Goal I: Animal Care
We lead in animal care through world-class habitats, health care, animal well-being, and industry-leading staff.

1) Build a state-of-the-art Animal Care Complex.

2) Develop an improved and holistic collection plan that supports animal well-being, research, conservation and guest experience and minimizes the Zoo's footprint and regional climate.

Goal II: Conservation
We guide conservation action, both locally and globally, using our unique expertise and position. We lead by example and are excellent stewards of our environment.

1) Make a demonstrable, meaningful impact to conservation by committing resources, both financial and professional.

2) Educate and empower people to take conservation action.

Goal III: Research
We contribute to the body of scientific knowledge by utilizing the diversity of our living collections and the expertise of our staff.

1) Conduct research to develop best practices for the care of our animal population and conservation.

2) Conduct basic research to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge.

Goal IV: Education
We create fun and engaging experiences to connect our visitors with wildlife, provide and support curricula to improve students' understanding of the natural world, and empower individuals to take action.

Create a pathway of educational experiences allowing individuals to establish a lifelong connection to Zoo Atlanta and our mission.

Goal V: Guest Experience
We create and deliver a guest experience that is fun, interactive, inclusive of our diverse audience and inspires our guests to take conservation action.

1) Instill a guest-centric culture among staff, volunteers, and third-party vendors.

2) Establish Savannah Hall as one of metro Atlanta's premier special event destinations and utilize the space to enhance and expand Zoo Atlanta's events and programming.

3) Develop and implement a comprehensive disruption plan that enables Zoo Atlanta to improve guest experience and exceed guest expectations during the Grand New View construction phase and use this plan as a model for future Master Plan disruptions.

Goal VI: Resource Management
We manage our resources responsibility while serving our community. We ensure our long-term sustainability and pursuit of our mission and are a dynamic contributor to Atlanta's cultural and economic landscape.

1) Develop enhanced systems for collecting accident data to allow the development on concrete accident reduction strategies.

2) Contribute to build a strong foundation for financial and physical resource needs by increasing attendance, providing best-in-class guest experience, growing individual donor base and improving efficiencies through use of analytics and system integration.

3) Ensure the Zoo attracts, develops and retains talent by providing market-base compensation, enhanced professional development, and a work environment that promotes a culture of individual diversity, collaboration and leadership.

Zoo Atlanta team members are experts, educators, biologists and researchers. Zoo Atlanta is a champion of the biological sciences – zoology, ecology, ethology, population dynamics and more. Our staff are skilled experts with the knowledge and experience to evaluate risks to species and biodiversity and to create solutions based on sound science.

The Zoo is a world-class source of education for universities, K-12 schools and students, families and individuals of all age levels and all walks of life. As conservation educators, we make it the business of our profession to educate ourselves on local and global threats facing wildlife and their habitats so that we can share what we know and inspire personal conservation action.

Zoo Atlanta reintroduces animals back to their native ranges in the wild. It is safe to say that species such as the golden lion tamarin would not exist in the wild today without the work of zoos like Zoo Atlanta. Zoo-based reintroduction programs are the basis for some of the most notable conservation success stories of our time.

We know the importance of persistence and long-term commitment to conservation programs, and we have the resolve it takes to follow through when progress may be years or even decades in the making. Zoo Atlanta scientists have the data and the know-how to use population modeling to align new initiatives with past efforts that have worked and to make modifications to efforts that have not.

Zoo Atlanta creates connections that inspire people to care about species and their habitats. In today’s era of mobile technology, people are more disconnected with the natural world than ever before. We are rearing new generations who are becoming increasingly “tuned out” of nature.

We preserve future options for wildlife by maintaining assurance colonies of endangered species in hopes of one day repopulating some species in the wild when current threats are eliminated. We are now in the midst of a mass extinction event, and it is our responsibility to ensure that no one we have an opportunity to touch fails to grasp what that really means.

Zoo Atlanta offsets the threats to wild populations by addressing real-world challenges for animals, plants and their environments. Conservation is a function of hope, and where we see hope, we take action. Zoos have the expertise to assess the long-term ability of animal populations to survive in the face of human-made pressures such as habitat loss, habitat degradation, overharvesting, poaching and disease. Zoos work directly with local, state and federal agencies and with international conservation partners to address challenges we know are contributing to animal population decline.

We contribute to a global body of scientific knowledge and provide aid for our partners in the field. The work of zoos helps us better understand the needs and behaviors of wild animals, enabling all of us to do a better job of preserving species in their native habitats.

There were several activities and partnerships that took place during the last 12 months that furthered Zoo Atlanta’s mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education and enhancing experiences. In 2018, Zoo Atlanta welcomed 856,441 visitors, and 354,442 individuals participated in the Zoo’s public, school and family education programs. The Zoo served more than 105,500 individuals in 2018 through several key community access programs and partnerships to ensure all members of the community can enjoy the Zoo.

The Zoo partnered with KultureCity in 2018 to achieve certification as a sensory inclusive destination, becoming just the third visitor venue in Atlanta to offer certified resources and accommodations for guests with sensory needs. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and other resources, are available to all guests at the Member Services Office. Zoo grounds also include three Quiet Areas and six Headphone Zones, marked with signage and are identifiable on the Zoo’s map.

Animal highlights in 2018 included the births of an Angolan colobus infant, Gerri; Guatemalan beaded lizards; crowned lemur twins; Chilean flamingos; cape cobras; Guira cuckoos; and many more. New to the Zoo in 2018 was critically endangered male Sumatran Tiger, Sparky; a pair of critically endangered male African slender-snouted crocodiles; an endangered male drill; and an endangered female giant otter, Tocantins.

Conservation is at the forefront of Zoo Atlanta’s mission, and there is a long history of conservation program support and scientific research focused on enhancing a global body of knowledge on animal behavior. The Quarters for Conservation program, which donates 25 cents of every Zoo admission ticket to projects for wildlife, provided program funding in 2018 for the East Africa Vulture Project, Project Bush Dog and the Tiger Conservation Campaign. The 2018-2019 Quarters for Conservation projects are Lion Guardians, Drill Ranch and Rainforest Trust.

In 2018, Zoo Atlanta had yet another banner year in producing major research publications. Zoo colleagues have now been responsible for a more than 350 publications since 1978, which is when the Zoo started keeping records. Through efforts of Zoo Atlanta team members and collaborations with researchers at other institutions and academia, the animal population at the Zoo continues to further the knowledge about the basic biology of animals, as well improves and advances veterinary care and animal well-being.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Zip code data collected at Zoo Atlanta’s front gates and a visitor study conducted in the summer of 2015 indicate that 79% of Zoo visitors are from Georgia, with 67% of visitors residing in the 28-county greater Atlanta metro area. Approximately 73% of guests are women and 63% of guests are married. About 51% of first-time visitors and 76% of Zoo Members have children in their party who are 3 to 6 years old. The visitor study found that 54% of visitors are White/Caucasian, 28% are Black/African American, 11% are Hispanic/Latino, 6% are Asian, and 1% are other races. Ethnicity demographic results do not include school groups, special event participants

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email, Third Party Guest Surveys,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Zoo Atlanta partnered with KultureCity to achieve certification as a sensory inclusive destination, becoming just the third visitor venue in Atlanta to offer certified resources and accommodations for guests with sensory needs. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and other resources, are available to all guests at the Member Services Office. Zoo grounds also include three Quiet Areas and six Headphone Zones, marked with signage and are identifiable on the Zoo’s map.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Feedback from Zoo guests and Members have improved several key programs that help the Zoo realize its mission and vision through these commitments. Community access programs ensure all community members can enjoy the Zoo as a cultural resource. Education programs strive to empower guests to advance the Zoo’s mission through their own appreciation and conservation of wildlife and wild places. Conservation programs save wild animals and their natural habitats and promote sustainability. Research programs help staff better understand and care for the animals in the Zoo’s collection and enable protection of species’ counterparts in the wild.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

ATLANTA-FULTON COUNTY ZOO INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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ATLANTA-FULTON COUNTY ZOO INC

Board of directors
as of 8/9/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. R. Scott Taylor, Jr.

Carter & Associates

Term: 2021 - 2023

Bill Cary

Georgia Division of Investment Services

James Cheeks

RedBrick Homes & Development

Pedro Cherry

Georgia Power

Shan Copper

Atlanta Committee for Progress

Tye Darland

Georgia-Pacific

Cindy Davis

Greenberg Traurig

Mike Dickerson

ClickDimensions

Andrew Evans

Southern Company

Nick Franz

Ernst & Young LLP

Ron Frieson

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Kathleen Goddard

Community Leader

Dr. Duane Jackson

Morehouse College

Sonji Jacobs

Cox Enterprises

Beth Kytle Chandler

J.P. Morgan Securities

Lisa Laube

Floor & Decor

Nathan Lewis

Security Capital Brokerage, Inc.

Benna Logan

Ford Motor Company

Richard McPhail

The Home Depot

William Nemetz

Primerica, Inc.

Michael Paul

UPS

Erica Qualls-Battey

Marriott International

Deepak Raghavan

Manhattan Associates/Georgia State University

John Ripoll

Wells Fargo Private Bank

Mark Roberts

Bentley Holdings

Gigi Rouland

Community Leader

Lovette Russell

Cox Curry & Associates

Matthew Simon

Community Leader

R. Scott Taylor, Jr.

Carter & Associates

Meredith Cagigal

The Coca-Cola Company

Kelly King

Ypiretis Asset Management

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 06/10/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data