Better Business Bureau Report for
Adler Planetarium

Better Business Bureau Report issued July 2012
Better Business Bureau Report expires July 2014

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

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Charity Contact Information

Name: Adler Planetarium
Address: 1300 South Lake Shore Drive
  Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312-922-7827
Web Address:
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Better Business Bureau Comments

Year, State Incorporated: 1968, Illinois
Affiliates: None
Stated Purpose: The mission of the Adler Planetarium is to inspire exploration and understanding of our universe.

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Evaluation Conclusions


Adler Planetarium meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
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The Adler Planetarium was founded by Chicago businessman Max Adler in 1930. For eighty-two years, the Adler has utilized its world-class collections, interactive exhibitions, state-of-the-art planetarium theaters, and innovative educational and research programs to share the wonder of science and exploration with the general public. Located on Chicago’s Museum Campus, the Adler currently serves local, regional, national and international audiences. More than 460,000 people visit the Adler annually, including 70,000 students and teacher on school field trips. The Adler’s outreach efforts focus in particular on Chicago Public Schools teachers, students and families. The museum serves this audience through teacher development programs, after-school and summer enrichment programs, and free field trips to the museum. In December 2011, the Adler completed a $54 million Campaign, the largest funding initiative in its history. The Campaign enabled major new investments in the museum’s exhibitions, shows, education and research programs. The marquee projects of the effort included the opening of Planet Explorers, the first permanent exhibition for families with young children (ages 3-8); and the new Grainger Sky Theater, the world’s most advanced planetarium theater.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, Adler Planetarium's program expenses were:

Professional and Educational 12,884,413
History of Astronomy 1,219,001
Total Program Expenses: $14,103,414
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Chief Executive : Paul H. Knappenberger Jr., PhD, President

Chair of the Board: John W. Estey
Chair's Profession / Business Affiliation: President and CEO, S&C Electric Company

Board Size: 42

Paid Staff Size: 242

*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, telephone, invitations to fund raising events, print advertisements, grant proposals, planned giving arrangements, membership
Fund raising costs were 23% of related contributions. (Related contributions, which totaled $10,055,336, 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 Adler Planetarium's audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011.

Source of Funds  
Contributions, bequests and foundation grants 5,068,629
admission charges 3,917,653
Other government grants 3,145,746
Distributions from the Aquarium and museum 1,907,229
Special event revenue 954,093
other 907,389
Donated services, expenses and equipment 886,868
Auxiliary activities 730,961
Membership dues 529,582
Investment Income 383,782
Total Income $18,431,932


Uses of Funds as a % of Total Expenses

Programs: 77%  Fund Raising: 12%  Administrative: 8%  Other Expenses: 3%

Total income $18,431,932
Program expenses $14,103,414
Fund raising expenses 2,285,545
Administrative expenses 1,425,951
Other Expenses 554,798
Total expenses $18,369,708
Income in Excess of Expenses 62,224
Beginning net assets 28,317,148
Other Changes in Net Assets 3,735,706
Ending net assets 32,115,078
Total liabilities 34,107,975
Total assets $66,223,053

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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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