Friends of the Zoo, Inc. of Kansas City, MO dba Kansas City Zoo
6800 Zoo Dr
Kansas City MO 64132
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 5951234
Fax 816- 595-1234
Mission Statement
The mission of the Kansas City Zoo is to connect people to each other and the natural world to promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation.
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Randy Wisthoff
Board Chair Mr. Todd LaSala
Board Chair Company Affiliation Stinson Leonard Street LLP
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1975
Former Names
Kansas City Zoological Gardens
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer

 

The Kansas City Zoo needs you so that we can continue to make a real difference for the natural world. Your donation is an investment in yourself, your community, your world, and your Zoo. Consider making a gift to help with our conservation, research, exhibition, and education efforts. Your gift will contribute to these efforts as well as enhance your Zoo experience. You have the opportunity to permanently change the future of the world for you, your children and grandchildren. From symbolically adopting an animal through our Adopt a Wild Program to partnering with us for our largest fundraising event, Jazzoo, we offer many ways for individuals, corporations and community organizations to support the Zoo. A full list of ways you can support the Zoo is included on our website at www.kansascityzoo.org. Checks can also be mailed directly to the Zoo - 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, MO 64132.

If you're able to give your time, the Kansas City Zoo is also seeking volunteers to support our programs including the Adult Animal Volunteer Program, the Zoo Docent Program, the Team Habitat Volunteer Program, and the Zooscaper Volunteer Program. To learn how you can become a volunteer, visited the "Get Involved" tab at kansascityzoo.org and apply to become a volunteer.

Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement The mission of the Kansas City Zoo is to connect people to each other and the natural world to promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation.
Background Statement

In 1909, Kansas City set aside 60 acres in Swope Park, originally the Kansas City Zoological Garden. In 1959, civic leaders established Friends of the Zoo, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving and supporting Zoo facilities, animals, exhibits and educational programs. Privatized in 2002, the Zoo is now operated by Friends of the Zoo (FOTZ), and the Zoo's property is owned by the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Zoo's mission is to connect people to each other and the natural world to promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation. The Zoo is home to over 1,700 animals and serves 1,000,000 guests annually, including more than 70,000 children through educational programming and more than 30,000 Friends of the Zoo memberships. The Zoo holds nearly 100 public and 60-70 private events annually. As a leader in wildlife education and conservation, the Zoo participates in local and global wildlife conservation and research efforts.

Impact Statement
As part of the Kansas City Zoo’s strategic plan, we will continue to develop our brand as a world-class destination and global leader among family attractions by improving facilities, developing innovative experiential exhibits, and focusing on education and conservation initiatives regionally and across the world.
 
New at the Zoo in 2019 are a camel feeding deck and a revamped tree kangaroo exhibit, both up-close-and-personal experiences for animal lovers of any age. Stingray Bay, which opened in May 2018, continues to amaze all who visit. This 23,000 gallon saltwater touch pool includes cownose rays and southern stingrays. Stingray Bay provides an opportunity for guests to touch aquatic animals, study their biology and learn about marine conservation efforts.
 
With inclusivity as a top priority for the Zoo, we continue to make improvements to existing facilities and add additions to the Zoo’s infrastructure. The Zoo recently partnered with Variety Kansas City to create the first All-Inclusive Zoo Playground in the country. The nature-focused play area, located in the Africa section of the Zoo, includes equipment that allows children of all abilities to play alongside one another.
 
As the Kansas City Zoo fulfills its mission to connect people to each other and the natural world, the Zoo’s conservation, education and scientific study initiatives will highlight signature programs that link to and promote the Zoo’s brand and strengthen its impact. In 2018, the Zoo generated over $380,000 in support of staff-initiated research projects and field studies, worldwide conservation partnerships, educational signage at the Zoo, and the Conservation Crisis Fund to support areas affected by devastating natural disasters.
Needs Statement The most pressing support for the Zoo includes funding for capital expenses to continue to grow the number of world-class animal exhibits and on-grounds visitor improvements. Other opportunities for support include: financial support of the Friends of the Zoo endowment; support of educational programming and community outreach; growth of the Friends of the Zoo membership program; and development of the Zoo’s efforts in local and global wildlife conservation and research.
Service Categories
Zoos & Aquariums
Protection of Endangered Species
Areas of Service
International
National
MO
KS
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

The Kansas City Zoo strives to flourish into a world-class destination and global leader among family attractions. The zoological tax, approved by Jackson and Clay County voters more than six years ago, makes it possible for the Zoo to expand our workforce, grow our annual budget, enhance guest amenities, increase our educational outreach across the region, and develop new attractions. As a 109 year-old institution, we strive to make annual capital improvements each year to maintain and enhance current exhibits and facilities for the guests and animals alike.

In 2017, we celebrated the opening of the renovated Three Billy Goat Gruff Yard, improved the popular Red Panda exhibit for guest viewing, repaved pathways in Africa, revamped animal facilities, remodeled the Zoological Operations Building, and opened Bluey’s BBQ Restaurant and expanded its existing deck for improved animal viewing.

Additionally, through collection activities around the Zoo, we raised more than $325,000 for the Conservation Fund. Through this fund, the Zoo is creating a steady funding stream for conservation efforts around the globe including reforestation efforts for endangered animals in Malaysia and rhino anti-poaching initiatives in Zambia. The Zoo’s Conservation Fund supports staff-initiated research projects and field studies, worldwide conservation partnerships, and the Conservation Crisis Fund to support areas affected by devastating natural disasters.

The excitement continues in 2018 as we prepare to unveil our newest interactive exhibit, Stingray Bay. Thanks to the support of the Kansas City community, guests of all ages will have the opportunity to interact with aquatic animals, study their biology and learn about marine conservation efforts. In May 2018, we welcomed cownose rays, southern stingrays and bamboo sharks to landlocked Kansas City, inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards and creating a new experiential learning opportunities for children.

2017 was a year of many successes as nearly one million visitors entered our gates, including 70,000 schoolchildren and more than 117,000 Friends of the Zoo members. It is our goal to connect the community with our animals, giving each of our guests a new appreciation for the natural world. The milestones we reach each year are a tribute to all the support this city and the region provides year-round.

- Randy Wisthoff, Executive Director/CEO & Todd LaSala, Friends of the Zoo, Inc. Board Chair

Programs
Description This program includes the conservation and care of the Zoo's collection of animals. Included in this program are animal breeding programs, animal collection programs and animal training programs.
Program Budget $6,000,000.00
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Zoological Parks & Aquariums
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Positive comments about animal exhibits by Zoo visitors; and staff research and educational programs that provide better diagnostics and better therapeutics for the animals in the Zoo’s care and in the wild.
Long-Term Success Through the positive health and well-being of the Zoo’s animals; increased attendance at Zoo; and staff research and educational programs that provide better diagnostics and better therapeutics for the animals in the Zoo’s care and in the wild.
Program Success Monitored By Zoo attendance, annual animal reports, publications and presentations by staff at industry conferences.
Examples of Program Success Continued AZA accreditation and USDA licensure; Staff research found in 6-10 publications annually; Education programs for 10-12 students annually in veterinary medicine, veterinary technology and dental hygiene.
Description Programs offered to the Friends of the Zoo members include free admission to the Zoo year round, member special events and discounts, a member newsletter, and invitations to special FOTZ Member only events.
Program Budget $230,000.00
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Zoological Parks & Aquariums
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short-Term Success Reaching our goal of 30,000 members in 2016 and increasing our number of first-time membership sales and increasing the number of renewal members in 2017.
Long-Term Success Continuing to grow our annual membership by 5-10% annually.
Program Success Monitored By Increase or decrease in memberships purchased as well as the retention and renewal of previous year's FOTZ Members.
Examples of Program Success

The FOTZ Membership program has increased in member household numbers consistently each year. Since 2008 the FOTZ Membership program has nearly doubled in overall size from 15,636 households to over 30,000 in 2017. 

Description Education Programs are formal learning opportunities related to the Kansas City Zoo’s collection with an emphasis in conservation education and college and career readiness standards. More than 118,000 children and adults participate in these programs annually. Education programs are offered at the Zoo as well as offsite.
Program Budget $1,390,000.00
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Zoological Parks & Aquariums
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Adults
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Evaluation results from electronic surveys.
Long-Term Success Increased program attendance and requests.
Program Success Monitored By A comparison between pre-and post-program tests determine success of informal programming. ZooED and after school programs have outside evaluation conducted by UMKC. Customer satisfaction surveys are conducted for all programs.
Examples of Program Success
"My child is a HUGE fan of the camp.  This was the first one we have signed up for, but I hope it is not the last.  We are lucky to have found you!" - Safari Day Camp parent
 
"The teachers can't say enough about the program...We like the curriculum because we are taking advantage of a quality resource that is local and is also meaningful to our students." - Michelle Schmitz, Shoal Creek Principal, about the ZooED program 
Description With 192 regular volunteers and approximately 1240 annual volunteers, our volunteer programs work with individuals, families, community groups and corporations to facilitate learning and engagement about the Zoo both on-grounds and off and assist with public special events, among others.
Program Budget $325,000.00
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Zoological Parks & Aquariums
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Attrition rate under 20% per year for regular volunteers. Exceeding demand levels for volunteers at special events and education programs.
Long-Term Success Increase volunteer participation with current volunteers by 10%. Increase participation in new volunteers to 10% above minimum expectation.
Program Success Monitored By Periodic surveys of volunteers, volunteer attrition rates, and volunteer hourly commitments.
Examples of Program Success
“Just wanted to let all of you know how much my children and I enjoyed our visit to the zoo on the 9th of July. The koalas were especially neat to see, and the volunteer that was working in there overseeing the exhibit was especially nice and had a lot of information on the koalas that she shared with my kids…” – Zoo guest
 
“I had a blast. Wouldn't have missed it for anything. 15,000.00 people! WOW!!” –Boo at the Zoo Volunteer
CEO Comments As we move forward to build a great Zoo for a great City, the diversity of programming to ensure the health and well-being of our animal collection, as well as programming to engage our public to enjoy and support the Zoo, will be crucial for our current and future success.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Randy Wisthoff
Term Start Nov 2003
Experience
In September 2003, the Kansas City Zoo hired Randy Wisthoff as Executive Director / CEO after an extensive, nationwide search. Previously, Randy had served at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha for 26 years. He worked as an animal keeper, caring for elephants, gorillas, and orangutans before working his way into Zoo management.
 
Randy’s leadership of the Kansas City Zoo has brought about remarkable changes during his 14-year tenure. Shortly after his arrival, he worked with board members and city leaders to spearhead a $30 million bond package for deferred maintenance and a polar bear exhibit that set the stage for many more improvements.
 
Randy and the FOTZ Board directed a campaign in 2011 that resulted in the creation of a Zoological District in Jackson and Clay Counties in Missouri. This 1/8 cent sales tax provides the Zoo a steady funding stream to continue to provide outstanding services and has helped to build improvements like Helzberg Penguin Plaza, Orangutan Canopy, Billy Goats Gruff Yard and the new Stingray Bay.
Over the past decade, Randy has led his team in developing a culture of customer service at the Zoo, resulting in a 37% growth in visitor satisfaction. In 2017, the Zoo reached a new milestone, welcoming more than one million visitors through its gates, and also reaching 30,000 Friends of the Zoo households.
 
Randy resides in Lee’s Summit, MO, with his wife of more than 40 years, Barb. He is a Professional Fellow with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Conservation Ambassador for the Missouri Department of Conservation and serves as a board member for Zoo Conservation Outreach Group (ZCOG) and Visit KC.
Former CEOs
NameTerm
Ralph WaterhouseJan 1987 - Dec 1991
Mark Wourms PhDJan 1992 - Aug 2003
Senior Staff
Title Chief Financial Officer
Experience/Biography


Title Director of Living Collections
Experience/Biography


Title Director of Animal Health
Title Director of Facilities
Title Director of Education
Title Director of Marketing
Title Director of Human Resources
Title Director of Guest Services
Title Director of Finance
Title Director of Operations
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 200
Paid Part-Time Staff 150
Paid Contractors 5
Volunteers 250
Retention Rate 82%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 28
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 274
Hispanic/Latino 12
Native American/American Indian 3
Other 1
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 213
Male 106
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
External Assessment and Accreditations
Assessment/AccreditationYear
American Zoos and Aquariums Association - Accreditation2015
United States Department of Agriculture - Organic Certifying Agent Accreditation2014
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Cornerstone Award - Polar Bear PassageEconomic Development Corporation2012
Best Kid AttractionKansas City Convention & Visitor Bureau2012
Best Family Outing VenueIngram's2012
Best Charitable Event - JazzooIngram's2012
Best of KC - Best Benefit Party - JazzooPitch2014
Midwest Travel TreasureAAA2010
Silver Award - JazzooIngram's2011
Gold Award - Kids AttractionIngram's2011
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? Yes
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Todd LaSala
Company Affiliation Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Term Oct 2018 to Oct 2022
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Ms. Karen BegelferSprint
Mr. Brad BodamerShook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP
Mr. Chuck CaisleyKCP&L
Mrs. Sharon CleaverBoys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City
Mr. Rod CrawfordGlazer's Distributor
Mr. Alan DillinghamSprint Corporation
Mr. Jeff DillonVanTrust Real Estate
Mr. Wes DixonKeywest Technologies
Ms. Trish DorseyPolsineslli PC
Mr. Chris EganService Management Group
Mr. Wesley FieldsBryan Cave LLP
Ms. Jan FrancisHeartland Golf Development
Ms. Hayley HansonHusch, Blackwell, Sanders
Mrs. Gayle KrigelCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Todd LaSalaStinson Leonard Street, LLP
Ms. Jill McGeeSt, Paul's Episcopal Day School
Mrs. Yvette MiceliConstruction Broker, Inc.
Mr. John MyersResearch Medical Center
Mr. Joe Pregern
Mr. Terry RileyTransformation Consultants LLC
Mr. Dean RodenboughHallmark Cards
Ms. Cici RojasTico Productions
Mr. David Sanchez JrPricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
Mrs. Kathy SmithCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Tom WaggonerHOK
Mr. David YeamansBurns & McDonnell
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 21
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 15
Female 11
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 60%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Education
Finance
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Board Development / Board Orientation
Building
Marketing
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Executive
Legislative
CEO Comments The Zoo will continue to build a highly motivated Board of Directors and management team to provide direction in programming, animal management and conservation, visitor services, fundraising and financial management to ensure the successful growth of the Zoo.
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2020
Projected Revenue $27,567,449
Projected Expenses $27,525,749
Endowment Value $9,162,885
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage 80
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item includes contributions from individuals. 
Detailed Financials
 
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$1,253,138$972,995$2,044,692
Government Contributions$9,327,766$9,261,990$11,267,004
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified$9,327,766$9,261,990$11,267,004
Individual Contributions------
----$0
$14,631,160$14,932,489$12,623,779
Investment Income, Net of Losses$906,132$59,348$381,339
Membership Dues----$0
Special Events$678,521$631,731$694,640
Revenue In-Kind----$18,229
Other----$44,586
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$23,151,918$23,262,392$23,633,779
Administration Expense$2,007,644$2,028,504$1,717,772
Fundraising Expense$676,995$745,244$775,443
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.040.991.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses90%89%90%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$15,115,755$13,078,807$12,424,960
Current Assets$5,123,882$4,016,531$3,777,525
Long-Term Liabilities$0$75,000$175,000
Current Liabilities$2,783,476$2,015,766$1,473,733
Total Net Assets$12,332,755$10,988,041$10,776,227
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.841.992.56
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%1%1%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount $7,327,766Zoological Tax District $10,102,559 --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount $2,000,000Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust $50,000 --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Francis Family Foundation $50,000 --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose The primary goal is to provide capital for new exhibits. The second goal is to raise funds to protect wildlife. The third goal is to secure the future of the Zoo by funding an operating endowment. The fourth goal is to provide funding for education efforts.
Goal $40,000,000.00
Dates Jan 2014 to Dec 2019
Amount Raised to Date $8,064,045.00 as of Apr 2015
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years Yes
Other Documents
Organization Name Friends of the Zoo, Inc. of Kansas City, MO dba Kansas City Zoo
Address 6800 Zoo Dr
Kansas City, MO 64132
Primary Phone (816) 5951234
Contact Email development@fotzkc.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Randy Wisthoff
Board Chair Mr. Todd LaSala
Board Chair Company Affiliation Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Year of Incorporation 1975
Former Names
Kansas City Zoological Gardens