Better Business Bureau Report for
Chicago Zoological Society

Better Business Bureau Report issued May 2014
Better Business Bureau Report expires May 2016

This BBB Accredited charity meets all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability. Find out more...

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Chicago Zoological Society
Address: 3300 South Golf Road
  Brookfield, IL 60513
Phone: 708-485-0263
Web Address:
Also known as:Brookfield Zoo
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Formerly known as:Chicago Zoological Park

Year, State Incorporated: 1921, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Chicago Zoological Society meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Among its historical firsts are indoor multispecies exhibits, zoo nutrition residencies, methods for animal husbandry, and medical care that includes successful brain surgery for a gorilla. In addition to conservationists, the Society inspires and engages children, students, teachers, and others among the general public to make a positive impact on the natural world around them. From protecting regional wilderness to creating environmental stewardship through zoo interactions and educational opportunities, from guiding future scientists to pioneering global conservation efforts, the Society sits at the apex of care for animals and their habitats. In building its legacy of animal care and compassion, the Society has launched two new centers: the Center for Conservation Leadership and the Center for the Science of Animal Welfare (CSAW). These innovative learning and research hubs will integrate a wide variety of disciplines, changing the way animal conservation issues are considered and advancing the science of “animal-directed” care around the world.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012, Chicago Zoological Society's program expenses were:

Animal Collection and conservation programs 15,645,000
Gues Services 11,968,000
Care of buildings and grounds 10,090,000
Depreciation 7,637,000
Public education and communications 5,301,000
Marketing and public relations 3,391,000
Admissions and Parking 3,132,000
Donated goods and services 277,000
Total Program Expenses: $57,441,000
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Chief Executive : Stuart D. Strahl, President and CEO

Chair of the Board: William C. Kunkler III
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: Executive Vice President, CC Industries

Board Size: 47

Paid Staff Size: 426

*Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances.
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Fund Raising


Method(s) Used:

direct mail, invitations to fund raising events, print advertisements, television, radio, grant proposals, internet, planned giving arrangements, membership
Fund raising costs were 12% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $25,804,000, are donations received as a result of fund raising activities.)
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Tax Status


This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.
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The following information is based on Chicago Zoological Society's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012.

Source of Funds  
Guest services 16,302,000
Forest Preserve District of Cook County - Tax Collections 15,640,000
Admissions and parking 11,664,000
Membership dues 10,684,000
Contributions and bequests 7,946,000
Investment income 4,259,000
Other income 1,421,000
Federal, state, and other grants 1,290,000
Donated goods and services 928,000
Total Income $70,134,000


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 84%  Fund Raising: 4%  Administrative: 9%  Other Expenses: 3%

Total income $70,134,000
Program expenses $57,441,000
Fund raising expenses 3,078,000
Administrative expenses 6,504,000
Other Expenses 1,944,000
Total expenses $68,967,000
Income in Excess of Expenses 1,167,000
Beginning net assets 149,427,000
Ending net assets 152,371,000
Total liabilities 59,026,000
Total assets $211,397,000

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An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

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