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
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
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.

The Kansas City Zoo celebrated the renovation of the Three Billy Goats Gruff Yard in March 2017. This interactive exhibit adds a 5,000 foot playground for more than 20 goats, including critically endangered Arapawa goats. This hands-on exhibit allows children to get up close and personal with the animals through feedings.

In October 2017, the Zoo broke ground on our newest addition, Stingray Bay, set to open in May 2018. The new 23,000 gallon saltwater touch pool includes cownose rays, southern stingray and bamboo sharks. Stingray Bay will provide an opportunity for guests of all ages to interact with 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 bring an the first All-Inclusive Zoo Playground to the Kansas City community. 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 2017, the Zoo generated over $325,000 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 opportunity for support includes: 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 will welcome 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 $450,000.00
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 note 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 $8,000.00
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
Compensation $200,001 - Plus
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, and the new Billy Goats Gruff Yard.
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.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Former CEOs
NameTerm
Ralph Waterhouse Jan 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 Development
Title Director of Facilities
Title Director of Education
Title Director of Marketing
Title Director of Human Resources
Title Director of Guest Services
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 196
Paid Part-Time Staff 123
Volunteers 300
Paid Contractors 0
Retention Rate 77%
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 - Accreditation2011
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
CEO Comments


Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Todd LaSala
Company Affiliation Stinson Leonard Street LLP
Term Oct 2018 to Oct 2022
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Ms. Karen Begelfer Sprint
Mr. Brad Bodamer Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP
Mr. Chuck Caisley KCP&L
Mrs. Sharon Cleaver Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City
Mr. Rod Crawford Glazer's Distributor
Mr. Wes Dixon Keywest Technologies
Mr. Chris Egan Service Management Group
Mr. Wesley Fields Bryan Cave LLP
Ms. Hayley Hanson Husch, Blackwell, Sanders
Mr. Mark Killen American Century Investments
Mrs. Gayle Krigel Community Volunteer
Mr. Todd LaSala Stinson Leonard Street, LLP
Ms. Jill McGee St. Paul's Episcopal Day School
Mrs. Yvette Miceli Construction Broker, Inc.
Mr. Sal Montalbano PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
Mr. John Myers Research Medical Center
Mr. Dean Rodenbough Hallmark Cards
Mrs. Melissa Roe Community Volunteer
Ms. Cici Rojas Central Exchange
Mr. David Sanchez Jr.PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Ms. Carla Sanders AMC Theaters
Ms. Trish Sexton Polsinelli, PC
Mrs. Kathy Smith Community Volunteer
Mr. Tom Waggoner 360 Architecture
Mr. David Yeamans Burns & McDonnell
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 20
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 14
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, 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $27,447,429
Projected Expenses $27,442,389
Endowment Value $10,118,384
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage 80
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2015, 2014, 2013: 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 Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$2,044,692$2,565,109$2,188,202
Government Contributions$11,267,004$11,763,627$12,809,411
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified$11,267,004$11,763,627$12,809,411
Individual Contributions------
$0$0$0
$12,623,779$11,244,863$10,377,348
Investment Income, Net of Losses$381,339$555,350$428,797
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$694,640$607,266$575,149
Revenue In-Kind$18,229$18,229$116,202
Other$44,586$70,822$67,822
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$23,633,779$22,654,284$29,092,851
Administration Expense$1,717,772$1,588,669$1,498,733
Fundraising Expense$775,443$782,900$590,958
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.041.070.85
Program Expense/Total Expenses90%91%93%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue6%5%4%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$12,424,960$12,043,843$12,340,221
Current Assets$3,777,525$3,308,147$4,173,322
Long-Term Liabilities$175,000$0$0
Current Liabilities$1,473,733$1,803,473$3,721,988
Total Net Assets$10,776,227$10,240,370$8,618,233
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.561.831.12
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
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 to 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
Organization Comments


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