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Zoo donations strong

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Donors give nearly $3.9 million in 2003, N.C. Zoo’s second-best year.

By Todd Cohen

ASHEBORO, N.C. [03.15.04] — Donations to the North Carolina Zoological Society totaled nearly $3.9 million in 2003, the second-best year ever for the fundraising arm of the Asheboro-based North Carolina Zoo.

While unrestricted contributions fell to $1 million in 2003 from $2.7 million in 2002, when the group received $4.2 million overall, including a bequest of $2.5 million, restricted contributions grew to $1.9 million in 2003 from $1.5 million a year earlier.

Membership fees totaled $1.1 million, the same as in 2002, while gift-shop revenue grew to $275,000 from $240,000, and investment income on the Zoo Society’s $7 million-asset unrestricted planned-giving fund gained $850,000 in investment income after a loss of $275,000 in 2002.

As part of the restricted dollars it received, the Zoo Society netted $62,000 in annual fund drives, down from $77,000 a year earlier, and raised $536,000 for a three-season exhibit of Australian animals and plants.

Russ Williams, the group’s executive director, says he expects the effort to reach its goal of $550,000.

The Zoo Society also has raised $3.5 million over four years in a campaign to more than double its facilities for African elephants and southern white rhinos, and expects to reach its goal of $6 million by 2006.

The planned-giving effort, known as the Lion’s Pride Fund, added 10 new couples or individuals in 2003 and now counts at least $30 million in deferred gifts it expects to receive.

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