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Animals : Zoos and Aquariums

CN Advisory: Moderate Concern

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife

three stars

89.07

4850 West Powell Road Powell, OH 43065
tel: (800) 666-5397   Web Site
EIN: 31-4390844

Board Leadership
Chad Jester
Chairperson

CEO
Tom Stalf
President and CEO

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On April 1, 2021, it came to the attention of Charity Navigator that Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the subject of an investigation by the Office of the Ohio Attorney General according to an article titled, "As scrutiny of Columbus Zoo mounts, board says they will release some investigation details." For this reason, we have issued a Moderate Concern CN Advisory. For more information regarding the charges reported, please see The Columbus Dispatch article.

  • On March 29, 2021, The Columbus Dispatch published an article titled, "Columbus Zoo: Top officials resign following Dispatch investigation." For more information, please see The Columbus Dispatch article.

  • On April 8, 2021, NBC4 published an article titled, "Former Columbus Zoo executives respond to investigation." For more information, please see the NBC4 article.

  • On June 10, 2021, The Columbus Dispatch published an article titled, "Columbus Zoo and Aquarium officially begins search for new leader after resignations." For more information, please see The Columbus Dispatch article.

  • On June 29, 2021, The Columbus Dispatch published an article titled, "'This office will get to the bottom of it.' Columbus Zoo investigations: Here's where things stand." For more information, please see The Columbus Dispatch article.


This charity has received a Moderate Concern Advisory due to an open or pending investigation regarding allegations of possible illegal activity, improper conduct, organizational mismanagement, or other matters of concern. Please note that this investigation has not concluded and that the allegations being investigated have not been confirmed by the U.S. legal system. Charity Navigator aims to provide donors and users with as much information as possible in order to make an informed giving decision. This advisory will be updated once we become aware that the investigation is completed. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors of sources used for the reported information, and not those of Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is not responsible for the nature or content of the information presented through such external sources and websites. For more information on how or when we decide to publish a CN Advisory, please review our methodology.

  Score
(out of 100)
Rating
Overall Score & Rating 89.07 three stars
  Financial 90.27 four stars
  Accountability & Transparency 88.00 three stars
This rating was published 03/01/2021 and includes data from FY2019, the most recent 990 received at that time.

The mission of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife.

Today, the Zoo is a nationally and internationally acclaimed conservation center, housing more than 10,000 animals representing nearly 600 species.

In addition to its role as a global conservation leader, the Zoo is a renowned year-round educational and recreational facility for visitors of all ages, backgrounds and experiences - attracting 2.2 million visitors annually with a membership base representing more than 82,000 households.

The Zoo resides on 580 acres consisting of six zoogeographic regions, a water park and a golf course - making it one of the fastest growing zoos in the world and the third largest municipally affiliated zoo in North America.

The mission of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife.

Today, the Zoo is a nationally and internationally acclaimed conservation center, housing more than 10,000 animals representing nearly 600 species.

In addition to its role as a global conservation leader, the Zoo is a renowned year-round educational and recreational facility for visitors of all ages, backgrounds and experiences - attracting 2.2 million visitors annually with a membership base representing more than 82,000 households.

The Zoo resides on 580 acres consisting of six zoogeographic regions, a water park and a golf course - making it one of the fastest growing zoos in the world and the third largest municipally affiliated zoo in North America.

Financial

four stars

90.27

Accountability & Transparency

three stars

88.00

This rating was published 03/01/2021 and includes data from FY2019, the most recent 990 received at that time.
Overall Rating Chart
  Program Expenses
(Percent of the charity's total expenses spent on the programs
and services it delivers)
84.6%
  Administrative Expenses 12.8%
  Fundraising Expenses 2.4%
  Fundraising Efficiency $0.05
  Working Capital Ratio (years) 2.91
  Program Expenses Growth 1.9%
  Liabilities to Assets 10.1%
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on recent 990s filed with the IRS.
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on recent 990s filed with the IRS.

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (OH) 89.07 three stars
The Philadelphia Zoo (PA) 89.54 three stars
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium (PA) 91.32 four stars
Chicago Zoological Society (IL) 86.57 three stars
Denver Zoological Foundation (CO) 86.48 three stars

Compare These Charities (Highly Rated)

REVENUE  
Contributions  
   Contributions, Gifts & Grants $12,839,101
   Federated Campaigns $0
   Membership Dues $0
   Fundraising Events $560,907
   Related Organizations $0
   Government Grants $19,201,308
Total Contributions $32,601,316
   Program Service Revenue $33,603,496
Total Primary Revenue $66,204,812
   Other Revenue $17,833,937
TOTAL REVENUE $84,038,749
   
EXPENSES  
   Program Expenses $63,465,462
   Administrative Expenses $9,269,340
   Fundraising Expenses $1,909,410
TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $74,644,212
   
Payments to Affiliates $1,253,000
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $9,394,537
   
Net Assets $210,667,704

Program names and associated costs are listed for the top programs as reported on the charity's most recently filed Form 990. The top programs displayed will include the largest three programs, or those programs covering at least 60% of the charity's total expenses, whichever comes first.

Due to an error on this organization's Form 990, we are unable to display program information.

Within the last year, this charity had a CN Advisory removed. Read More

Ratings History

Form 990 FYE Date Published Overall Score Overall Rating
-- 04/16/2021 --Moderate Concern Advisory

On April 1, 2021, it came to the attention of Charity Navigator that Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the subject of an investigation by the Office of the Ohio Attorney General according to an article titled, "As scrutiny of Columbus Zoo mounts, board says they will release some investigation details." For this reason, we have issued a Moderate Concern CN Advisory. For more information regarding the charges reported, please see The Columbus Dispatch article.

CN 2.1
2019-12 03/01/2021 89.07 three stars
2018-12 02/01/2020 92.76 four stars
2017-12 03/01/2019 92.24 four stars
2016-12 05/01/2018 91.58 four stars
2015-12 05/01/2017 90.80 four stars
2014-12 06/01/2016 91.56 four stars
 
CN 2.0
2013-12 07/01/2015 93.88 four stars
2012-12 04/01/2014 97.92 four stars
2011-12 04/01/2013 97.03 four stars
2010-12 04/01/2012 96.62 four stars
2009-12 12/23/2011 95.38 four stars
2009-12 09/20/2011 89.07 three stars
 
CN 1.0
2009-12 06/01/2011 94.20 four stars
2008-12 06/01/2010 95.19 four stars
2007-12 07/01/2009 82.35 three stars
2006-12 06/01/2008 83.98 three stars
2005-12 04/01/2007 85.88 three stars
2004-12 06/01/2006 85.53 three stars
2003-12 05/01/2005 85.60 three stars
2002-12 12/01/2003 81.63 three stars

Historical CN Advisories

The data displayed on this tab is provided by the IRS in the form of Publication 78 and the Business Master File (BMF).

EIN 31-4390844
Name in IRS Master File COLUMBUS ZOOLOGICAL PARK ASSOCIATION
NTEE Code D50
NTEE Classification Zoo, Zoological Society
NTEE Type Animal-Related
Classification Charitable Organization
Subsection 501(c)(3)  (View the list of codes)
Activities (60) Museum, zoo, planetarium, etc.
Foundation Status Organization that normally receives no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one-third of its support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes.  509(a)(2)
Deductibility Contributions are deductible
Affiliation Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations).
Group Name [Not Applicable]
Ruling Date September, 1952
Filing Requirement 990 (all other) or 990EZ return
Fiscal Year End December
IRS Forms 990
(provided courtesy of Foundation Center)
(Log In or Register Now to View Forms 990!)
  • December, 2018
  • December, 2017
  • December, 2016
  • December, 2015
  • December, 2014
Compensation % of Expenses Paid to Title
$376,417 0.50% Thomas Stalf Chief Executive Officer
Other Salaries of Note
$568,789 0.76% Jack B. Hanna Director Emeritus

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (OH) 89.07 three stars
Nashville Zoo (TN) 100.00 four stars
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo (NE) 87.00 three stars
Zoo Atlanta (GA) 90.96 four stars
Chicago Zoological Society (IL) 86.57 three stars

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Charity Contact Info

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
4850 West Powell Road
Powell, OH 43065
tel: (800) 666-5397
fax: (614) 645-3465
EIN: 31-4390844

Mail donations to:
9990 Riverside Drive
P.O. Box 400
Powell, OH 43065

Visit Web Site

Board Leadership

Chad Jester
Chairperson

CEO

Tom Stalf
President and CEO

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