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Case Study: The Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo, the state zoo of Kentucky, is a nonprofit organization founded 42 years ago and dedicated to the pursuits of education, conservation, scientific study and recreation. The Zoo’s extensive collections include botanical gardens and exhibits with over 1,300 animals in naturalistic  settings representing both geographical areas and biomes or habitats. The Zoo has over 35,000 members and 800,000 annual visitors, making it one of the nation’s most-visited zoos.

Ashley|Rountree consultants have been honored to help the Zoo successfully complete two successive capital campaigns. In 2004, board and staff leaders approached Ashley|Rountree to assist in managing the final phase of a campaign for a new aviary exhibit that would highlight the Zoo’s lorikeets.  Once finished, the Zoo asked our consultants to undertake an assessment study to examine the feasibility of a campaign for an ambitious new exhibit, Glacier Run, which would require more than $20 million, the largest fundraising effort in the Zoo’s history. As a result of helpful information secured by Ashley|Rountree in over 40 community interviews, the boards of the Zoo and the Zoo Foundation concluded that a goal of $25 million-plus was achievable.  The Zoo once again turned to Ashley|Rountree in 2005 to serve as campaign counsel, guiding staff and board to successfully go over goal with more than $26 million raised by campaign’s end in 2010, including a successful $900,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation.

Simultaneously with these campaigns, Zoo staff has asked for focused assistance in evaluating opportunities for growing the annual giving program. The team from Ashley|Rountree guided the Zoo in creating innovative methods for converting members to donors, as well as strategies for identifying affinities within non-donor groups. Also, our consultants provided ongoing coaching to senior staff leadership, covering a variety of areas in development, community outreach and board relations.

2525 Nelson Miller Parkway, Suite #106 | Louisville, KY 40223 | P: 502.244.5835 | F: 502.244.5837