FISCAL YEAR 2022

COMMUNITY IMPACT REPORT

700,000 Annual Visitors

Each year, over 700,000 guests visit John Ball Zoo. They’re able to experience over 2,000 animals of over 230 species that represent the beautiful wildlife living in our world.

Prioritizing Inclusivity

We have hosted over 70,000 economically-disadvantaged children and adults in Kent and Ottawa counties, providing free Zoo admission through our JUMP program.

2022 ANNUAL REPORT

A Commitment to Care

Generations of Kent County families, seniors and children have been inspired by the Zoo. John Ball Zoo is a regional destination and a critical economic driver for Kent County and West Michigan. The Zoo has a $92 million annual economic impact in our community and is currently the most attended cultural attraction outside of Detroit in the state. John Ball Zoo also gives families and school groups in Kent County free admission to the Zoo, reduced admission for Kent County seniors to help ensure members of our community can enjoy the Zoo and learn about our efforts in wildlife conservation, sustainability and animal care.

Peter D’Arienzo

Chief Executive Officer

Saving Animals From Extinction

We participate in six Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) programs – three in the Great Lakes and two beyond the Great Lakes.

Watch Us Grow!

In 2014, John Ball Zoo became a nonprofit organization after having been managed by Kent County for decades. Since then, we have realized incredible growth in so many areas, including our team!

2022

368 staff members + 550 volunteers

2019

323 staff members + 602 volunteers

2017

280 staff members + 281 volunteers

Yellow fern

Our team has completed more than 24 total conservation projects, 21 of which were Great Lakes-focused

spent on conservation locally and around the world
$ 0 K
of our conservation efforts were focused on Great Lakes projects
0 %
The Zoo has a $40 million annual economic impact in our community
$ 0 M
2021 AWARDS

Washed Ashore:
Art Installation

Throughout the season, John Ball Zoo successfully showcased the impactful art exhibit “Washed Ashore,” featuring 16 large sea life sculptures crafted from marine debris collected from beaches. The exhibit not only captured the imagination of visitors but also conveyed the devastating consequences of plastic pollution in oceans and waterways.

Peter D’Arienzo, John Ball Zoo’s CEO, emphasized the role of art in inspiring the community to understand the profound impact of plastic pollution on wildlife. As part of the Zoo’s commitment to conservation, in collaboration with Fifth Third Bank, we continued the “Round Up for Conservation” initiative, encouraging guests to round up their Zoo purchases to help support conservation efforts in the Great Lakes and beyond. 

John Ball Zoo was the First AZA-accredited zoo in Michigan

2021 ANNUAL REPORT

Making an effort to save wild places for wildlife

In an effort to save wild places for wildlife, the Zoo continues to positively impact the environment. In efforts to reduce our carbon footprint in 2021, our Meerkat habitat solar panels produced 648 kWh, a carbon offset of 988 pounds of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of 10 trees. Our support to the Red Panda Network planted 8,000 trees, which has a carbon reduction of 955 tons of carbon dioxide. We also installed a new bike parking and repair station to encourage guests and staff to bike to the Zoo, which not only reduces carbon dioxide production, but also contributes to community wellness.

millions of gallons of water saved in efforts to reduce our carbon footprint
0 M
total waste/compost produced onsite was diverted from landfill or incinerator
0 %
John Ball Zoo participates in almost 50 species survival plans
0
The Animal Care team manages over 2,000 species, 365 days per year
0
Financials

Statement of Activities
Year Ending December 31, 2022

Revenue

$ 0

Expenses

$ 0
December 31, 2022 & 2021

Statement of Financial Position

CURRENT ASSETS 2022 2021
Cash & Cash Equivalents 848,003 1,624,658
Investments 2,847,294 7,226,000
Accounts Receivable 280,677 490,322
Pledges Receivable, Current Portion 1,058,079 1,020,946
Inventory 236,733 145,166
Prepaid Expenses 282,801 483,657
Total Current Assets 5,553,587 10,990,749
NONCURRENT ASSETS 2022 2021
Pledges Receivable, Net of Current Portion 577,310 2,533,699
Beneficial Interest in Assets Held by Community Foundation 89,355 109,533
Intangible Asset 9,167 11,167
Construction in Progress 16,754,083 8,006,629
Property & Equipment, Net 2,136,119 2,127,294
Right-of-Use Assets 161,128 -
Total Noncurrent Assets 19,727,162 12,788,322
Total Assets 25,280,749 23,779,071
CURRENT LIABILITIES 2022 2021
Accounts Payable 3,052,191 1,101,740
Accrued Expenses 651,355 502,625
Current Portion of Operating Lease Obligations 64,254 -
Deferred Income 462,580 498,816
Total Current Liabilities 4,230,380 2,103,181
NONCURRENT LIABILITIES 2022 2021
Operating Lease Obligations, Net 100,007 -
Total Noncurrent Liabilities 100,007 -
Total Liabilities 4,330,387 2,103,181
NET ASSETS 2022 2021
Without Donor Restrictions 20,586,427 18,166,278
With Donor Restrictions 363,935 3,509,612
Total Net Assets 20,950,362 21,675,890
Total Liabilities & Net Assets 25,280,749 23,779,071
Shopping Cart

Great Lakes Rare Turtles

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Turtles are in trouble around the world and locally. The Great Lakes Rare Turtle Program addresses on threats that are existential and widespread for Blanding’s, Spotted, Wood, and Box Turtles. The John Ball Zoo is working wth partners to study head starting as a conservation tool, protecting nesting habitat for Wood Turtles from raccoons, and researching the distribution and status of Spotted Turtles in Southwest Michigan. The zoo partners with local community scientists to indentify road crossings that pose a threat to Blanding’s and other species of turtles.

Partners

Poweshiek Skipperling

Oarisma powesheik

Facts
Habitat

Grassland, Wetlands (inland)

Threat Range

Critically Endangered

Region

Extant (resident) - Canada (Manitoba); United States (Wisconsin, Michigan), Possibly Extinct - United States (South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa), Extinct - United States (Indiana, Illinois)

Screenshot 2023-02-15 at 10.34.14 AM

Mitchell's Satyr

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The prairie fens of southern Michigan are a stronghold for the Endangered Mitchell’s Satyr butterfly. We are working with Michigan State University, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center to develp to propagate this rare butterfly. Offspring reared in the program may be used to supplement wild Mitchell’s Satyr populations.

Partners

Freshwater Mussels

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Freshwater Mussels are one of the most fastenating groups of animals. Unfortunately they are also one of the most imperiled groups on animals with more than 70% of North American species listed as Threatened or Endangered. Our own Grand River is home to an impressive 32 different species, 19 of which are listed. The John Ball Zoo is working with scientists at Grand Valley State University to evaluate Grand River Mussel populations. During the 2023 field season, the team documented over 1,000 individuals from 27 different species. This includes the Endangered Snuffbox Mussel.

Partners

Habitat Hero

Community Science
About

The Habitat Hero program is focused on creating better urban pollinator habitat by giving away native plants to west Michigan community members. By giving away native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, we are inviting community members to provide crucial nectar sources for pollinators as well as become more involved in pollinator conservation in their own yards and gardens.

Partners

Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

Community Science
About

American Kestrels are one of North America’s most abundant raptors, but their populations have been steadily declining since the mid 1960’s. This year we have begun participating in the American Kestrel Partnership, run by the Peregrine Fund, to monitor local kestrel nest boxes and help better understand Kestrel population trends and biology.

Partners

Grand River Sucker Monitoring

Community Science
About

Suckers are a very important, and often overlooked, group of migratory fish that inhabit the Grand River. Every spring they migrate upriver from Lake Michigan to spawn in tributaries of the Grand River. We are joining a project started by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to determine how changes in temperature and flow of the streams impact the spawning behavior of the suckers.

Partners

Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

Community Science
About

One of the major threats to turtle populations is mortality associated with roads and vehicles. We have a team of trained volunteers who survey predetermined road crossing sites and report the number of turtles they find at these locations. We plan to use the data to assist in conservation decision-making regarding roads and turtles in west Michigan.

Partners

Michigan Butterfly Network

Community Science
About

As part of our pollinator conservation work, we want to understand how native butterfly populations are changing over time. By training community members to use the Michigan Butterfly Network monitoring protocol, we are offering passionate people the opportunity to help contribute to our understanding of butterfly populations in west Michigan.

Partners

Bat Surveys

Community Science
About

West Michigan is home to several species of rare and threatened species of bats. This summer we will have a group of volunteers collecting bat occurrence data by driving predetermined routes and using special recorders and software to identify bat species. The data will be submitted to the North American Bat Monitoring Project as part of their ongoing analysis of bat abundance and occupancy across North America.

Partners

Massasauga Rattlesnake

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The Massasauga is Michigan’s only venomous snake and plays an important role in the ecosystem. Unfortunately, these snakes are declining in numbers and are listed as Threatened. The John Ball Zoo helps to educate the public on the plight of the Massasauga and helps conservation biologists study them in the field. Currently, we are assisting Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Grand Valley State University, and Sarett Nature Center develop new technologies to monitor this secretive snake species.

Partners

City Nature Challenge

Community Science
About

The City Nature Challenge is one of the world’s largest annual community science events. Started by iNaturalist in 2016 as a friendly competition between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, this bioblitz has grown into a global phenomenon with over 500 cities participating. Taking place over the last weekend in April each year, the City Nature Challenge is all about getting outside and documenting the biodiversity in and around our communities while building and strengthening relationships with other people who are passionate about conserving local species. The West Michigan City Nature Challenge is Michigan’s only City Nature Challenge event, and encompasses Allegan, Barry, Kent and Ottawa Counties. We are excited to partner with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and many other local organizations to engage our communities in four days of exploring our biodiverse outdoor spaces.

Partners

Michigan Area

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Freshwater Mussels

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Habitat Hero

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Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

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Grand River Sucker Monitoring

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Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

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Michigan Butterfly Network

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Bat Surveys

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Massasauga Rattlesnake

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City Nature Challenge

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Get Involved!