Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

aka Indianapolis Zoo   |   Indianapolis, IN   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

EIN: 35-1074747


We protect nature and inspire people to care for our world.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Mr. Robert W. Shumaker Ph.D.

Main address

1200 W Washington St P.O. Box 22309

Indianapolis, IN 46222 USA

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Subject area info

Arts and culture



Botanical gardens

Population served info



Low-income people

NTEE code info

Zoo, Zoological Society (D50)

Botanical Gardens, Arboreta and Botanical Organizations (C41)

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Exhibits and Community Programs

We protect nature and inspire people to care for our world. The Indianapolis Zoo provides cutting edge animal habitats and engaging programming for our guests – driving forward our vision that we believe in a world where nature and people thrive. We tell compelling animal conservation stories that connect our guests to our broader conservation mission.

The White River Gardens is a stunningly beautiful 3.3-acre landmark botanical attraction that encourages guests to experience nature in new ways and to discover connections to the world around them.

Conservation is the focus of all educational programming at the Indianapolis Zoo – including interpretive graphics on the grounds of the Zoo, chats and presentations, and in-depth programming for youth, students, teachers, and adults.

Over one million people visit the Indianapolis Zoo each year and include a diverse audience of residents and visitor populations from throughout Indiana as well as nationally and internationally.

Population(s) Served

The Indianapolis Prize awards $250,000 to an animal conservationist who has achieved major victories in advancing the sustainability of an animal species or group of species. The Prize also awards five Finalists with $50,000 each. It’s granted biennially and brings the world’s attention to the cause of animal conservation and the brave, talented and dedicated men and women who spend their lives saving the Earth’s endangered animal species.

Frequently referred to as the Nobel Prize for animal conservation, the Prize is a signature initiative of the Indianapolis Zoo. Since its inception, the Prize has awarded more than $5.6 million and in 2021, reached more than 3 billion people globally. In 2023, the next Prize Winner and Finalists will be awarded along with the new Emerging Conservationist, an award to an individual under the age of 40 who has the potential to make a significant impact on saving animal species.

Population(s) Served

One of the keystones of the Indianapolis Zoo’s commitment to conservation is to support efforts locally and around the world to save wildlife and wild places that are in danger. The Zoo’s support reaches far and wide through its involvement and monetary assistance with many organizations, researchers and scientists in the field whose hard work is helping to preserve unique animals and their habitats for future generations. Each year the Zoo awards grants to organizations making a difference in animal conservation.

Population(s) Served

The Indianapolis Zoo’s Global Center for Species Survival is a partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC). The Global Center is built upon a partnership and a commitment to conservation. As human pressure continues to drive biodiversity loss, the work of conservationists from around the world becomes more vital in protecting and restoring nature. Only through collaboration can we protect species and the space they call home.

The Global Center Team consists of seven conservation experts, a behavior change specialist, a public relations specialist and a director. The Team supports, connects and communicates with more than 10,500 volunteer conservationists, joined together in the 167 Specialist Groups, Task Forces and Conservation Committees of the IUCN SSC. They all work to secure a future for animals, fungi and plants in more than 160 countries.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


10 Ten Zoos in the Country 2017

Conde Nast Traveler

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of animals in collection

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates in the collection.

Number of species in collection

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Total Annual Attendance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Exhibits and Community Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

2020 Attendance lower due to closure of Zoo from March 17 to June 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reduced capacity since re-opening.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The strategic goals of the Indianapolis Zoo are to:

A. Manage operations prudently to ensure the continuation and sustainability of the mission by:
1. Developing new or refining existing programs that increase efficiency and advance the Zoo's mission;
2. Developing programs that will achieve attendance goals;
3. Developing departmental budgets consistent with revenue and expense targets;
4. Developing and implementing new programs to improve customer service and increase measured guest satisfaction and
retention, and;
5. Advancing safety and emergency preparedness programs, including cross-departmental involvement.

B. Act proactively and energetically in the pursuit of our mission by:
1. Achieving the highest community, inclusion, and industry standards with respect to our collection, environment, guests,
governance, staff, and suppliers;
2. Advancing conservation initiatives;

C. Fostering a climate in which staff are valued, challenged, and encouraged to be diligent to their responsibilities and our mission.

The annual institutional goals are based on the strategic pillars as defined in the Board-approved Strategic Plan. The strategic pillars are:

• Create a differentiated product
• Develop a distinctive image
• Create compelling experiences that enhance audience engagement
• Stimulate attitudinal change
• Maintain long-term perspective and planning.

Individual departmental business plans are developed as a result of the institutional goals and include detailed action plans along with departmental budgets.

The Indianapolis Zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1989, meeting the highest standards for zoos and aquariums in the country. The Zoo is also accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM). In 1996, it was accredited by the AAM as a zoo, aquarium, and a botanical garden, the first zoo to receive all three accreditations.

The organization has made many noteworthy achievements over the years, demonstrating its capabilities to advance its conservation mission, but also a proven ability for fiscal sustainability. Some of these achievements include:
• The Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center opened in May 2014. The Center is home to one of the largest groups of orangutans in any American zoo. It serves as a vital education, research, and conservation center for orangutans.
• In September 2006, the Indianapolis Zoo awarded the first Indianapolis Prize and Lilly Medal to Dr. George Archibald. The biennial Indianapolis Prize is the world's leading award for animal conservation. In 2014, the Zoo increased the cash award from $100,000 to $250,000 and each of the five finalists receive a $10,000 cash award.
• In March 2000, the Zoo announced the first conception of an African elephant through artificial insemination. This historic event was the result of 10 years of work and research into elephant reproductive physiology. Today, the Zoo has the only two female elephants to have successfully given birth to three calves each through artificial insemination.
• The White River Gardens opened in 1999 as a result of a $14.5 million campaign. This 3.2-acre garden complex was built to connect visitors to the natural world through plants and garden designs that they can replicate in their own yards. It includes a glass conservatory, design gardens, a wedding garden, and 1.5 miles of paths and walkways.
• In 1995, the Indianapolis Zoo became the first zoo in the world to successfully hatch the endangered Grand Cayman blue iguana and has been recognized for its participation in a breeding program for the Jamaican iguanas, the rarest lizard in the world.
• The Zoo has consistently maintained a balanced operating budget within a few short years of relocating to White River State Park in 1988 and does not carry debt. Approximately 70% of the Zoo's annual revenue is earned income, and a strong philanthropic community provides additional operating funds as well as capital project funding.
• The Zoo has received major grants from such national organizations as the National Science Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Lilly Endowment, Eli Lilly Company Foundation, Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

Phase I of the Campaign for Conservation and Community was completed - a $31 million campaign to invest in the Zoo's campus and infrastructure projects which included Oceans (opened in 2007) and the Dolphin Pavilion (opened in 2005). New and renovated exhibits have historically provided increased Zoo attendance and revenue. Attendance increased by 12% with the renovated Dolphin Adventure in 2005, and by 11% with renovated Oceans exhibit in 2007.

The Phase II, Campaign for Conservation and Community: Saving the Orangutan was completed in 2014. This was a $30 million campaign that was developed as a result of the 2010 Strategic Plan and included new and renovated exhibits and enhanced shows and attractions through 2017. The exhibits that were developed as part of this campaign included: Tiger Forest (which opened in 2011), Flights of Fancy (which opened in 2012), and the new $23 million Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center (the Center) which opened in May 2014. Attendance in 2014, a record 1.24 million, reflected an increase of 21%.

The Center is truly the best orangutan exhibit in the world as its design stimulates the apes' physical, social and intellectual abilities while providing the public with an incredible opportunity to interact with these amazing animals like no other exhibit in existence. The goal of the Center is to engage and enlighten visitors about the critical status of orangutans in their natural habitat, and to empower them by offering an opportunity to contribute directly to conservation efforts in Borneo. One such project is a tree planting program in Kutai National Park. Visitors can donate during their visit by swiping a credit card at one the kiosks in the Conservation Station area of the exhibit. Through 12/31/2017, over $39,000 in donations were made by visitors to plant trees.

The Zoo's conservation focus has advanced through the Indianapolis Prize and through partnerships with and support of a wide range of in situ projects, including: the Tarangire Elephant Project, the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project; the Kutai Orangutan Project, the Amur Tiger Conservation Project, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the International Elephant Foundation, and others.


Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Financial documents
2021 A-133 Single Audit 2021 2021 Audited Financial Statements - Indianapolis Zoological Society Inc.
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9.23 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 12.9 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 25% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $2,702,731 $1,794,870 -$3,687,959 $21,582,740 $7,464,299
As % of expenses 9.6% 6.1% -13.8% 72.8% 23.5%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$3,771,273 -$4,956,003 -$8,883,580 $16,799,500 $3,300,011
As % of expenses -10.9% -13.8% -27.8% 48.8% 9.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $29,548,526 $46,518,850 $23,714,934 $63,172,595 $42,184,759
Total revenue, % change over prior year -5.1% 57.4% -49.0% 166.4% -33.2%
Program services revenue 68.1% 42.8% 60.3% 42.4% 64.1%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 3.7% 3.0% 5.9% 1.9% 2.7%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 19.6% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 28.2% 53.8% 35.1% 31.4% 32.7%
Other revenue -0.1% 0.4% -1.3% 4.7% 0.5%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $28,259,588 $29,260,557 $26,746,105 $29,638,085 $31,778,001
Total expenses, % change over prior year 5.9% 3.5% -8.6% 10.8% 7.2%
Personnel 58.8% 58.5% 60.2% 60.1% 58.6%
Professional fees 6.4% 6.7% 6.4% 8.4% 8.3%
Occupancy 5.8% 5.6% 5.9% 5.5% 5.5%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 2.1% 1.1% 1.1% 1.2% 1.1%
All other expenses 26.8% 28.1% 26.3% 24.9% 26.5%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $34,733,592 $36,011,430 $31,941,726 $34,421,325 $35,942,289
One month of savings $2,354,966 $2,438,380 $2,228,842 $2,469,840 $2,648,167
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $7,127,807 $0 $5,340,013 $20,686,829
Total full costs (estimated) $37,088,558 $45,577,617 $34,170,568 $42,231,178 $59,277,285

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 8.4 9.2 10.4 17.7 13.7
Months of cash and investments 27.4 35.0 40.1 44.9 37.0
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 10.9 8.4 6.5 12.4 6.6
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $19,857,944 $22,359,723 $23,251,237 $43,643,964 $36,328,774
Investments $44,732,720 $63,066,854 $66,108,879 $67,197,192 $61,640,253
Receivables $3,752,267 $2,279,769 $2,225,465 $9,027,622 $9,544,095
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $167,900,399 $173,970,562 $175,067,952 $178,317,121 $198,880,448
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 61.5% 62.7% 64.6% 64.9% 60.2%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 3.8% 5.1% 6.8% 4.7% 6.2%
Unrestricted net assets $90,354,470 $85,398,467 $76,514,887 $93,314,387 $96,614,398
Temporarily restricted net assets $31,993,330 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $22,969,060 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $54,962,390 $79,767,593 $88,814,532 $106,555,527 $100,930,648
Total net assets $145,316,860 $165,166,060 $165,329,419 $199,869,914 $197,545,046

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President & CEO

Mr. Robert W. Shumaker Ph.D.

Dr. Rob Shumaker joined the Indianapolis Zoo in 2010 and has more than 30 years of experience working in the zoo community. In January 2018, Dr. Shumaker became President of the Zoo and assumed the role of CEO in January 2020 upon the retirement of Michael I. Crowther. During his 20 year tenure at the Smithsonian National Zoo, Dr. Shumaker worked as an animal keeper, curator, biologist, exhibit designer and scientist. He spent several years at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa as the senior scientist supervising all research with orangutans. Dr. Shumaker has written several scientific articles and scholarly books on primate behavior and cognition. He is currently on the faculty at Indiana University-Bloomington and is an affiliate of the Krasnow Institute at George Mason University. His last book, Animal Tool Behavior, is considered the definitive work on the use and manufacture of tools by animals. In addition, he has appeared in dozens of documentaries and programs.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 12/15/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Devin Anderson

E & A Industries Inc.

Term: 2021 - 2023

Jeffrey Harrison

Citizens Energy Group

Devin Anderson

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Marisol Sanchez

Endress + Hauser, Inc.

Steve Alonso

Fifth Third of Central Indiana

Kathryn G. Betley

Community Volunteer

Steve Cagle

Retired Partner, Smith Geiger

Larry Coan

Raytheon Technical Services Company

David DeWitt

DeWitt & Shrader, P.C.

Cheri Dick

Community Volunteer

Patrick Early

Somerset CPA's

Lauren Edmundson

Community Volunteer

Nancy Elder

Community Volunteer

Beth Klapper

Community Volunteer

Blake Koriath

High Alpha

Bill Rosenbaum

Rosenbaum Law, P.C.

April Sasso

Community Volunteer

Andy Sellers

Community Volunteer

John Sharpe

Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Robert Shoemaker, M.D.

Community Heart and Vascular

Richard J. Thrapp

Ice Miller

Pete Ward

Indianapolis Colts

Michael W. Wells

REI Investments, Inc.

Amy Willis

Liberty Fund

Christa Adkins


Julia Gard

Barnes & Thornburg

Peter Jorgenson

Republic National Distributing Company

Todd Katz

Healter Health, LLC

Kristi Lee

Radio Host

Karen Ann Lloyd

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Connie Bond Stuart

PNC Bank

David Trogden

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Ronda Shrewsbury


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Whit Grayson

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Shane Hageman

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Anita Harden

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Myrta Pulliam


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Allen Wright

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Carolina Rashidfarokhi

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Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/27/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data


Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser