By Jeffrey Buck
The Detroit Zoo has something important to celebrate, and it’s got nothing to do with animals. The Detroit Zoological Society was recently awarded the highest possible rating from the nation’s largest independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations, receiving four out of four stars.
Charity Navigator bestowed the honor for the sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. With four stars the Zoological Society joins only 21 charities in Michigan to receive the honor and one of only 16 zoos and aquariums in the United States to achieve the highest ranking. 5,500 charities are monitored annually by Charity Navigator.
“It’s great to be ranked among the top charities in the country. Our donors can invest with confidence knowing that we are good stewards of their philanthropy,” said DZS Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan.
According to Charity Navigator, a four-star rating indicates that a charity adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.
“Savvy donors are demanding more accountability, transparency and quantifiable results from the charities they choose to support with their hard-earned dollars,” said Ken Berger, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. “This coveted four-star designation demonstrates to the public that the Detroit Zoological Society is worthy of their trust and support.”
The other 20 four-star charities in Michigan include:
- Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan (Detroit)
- Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank (Comstock Park)
- Food Bank of Eastern Michigan (Flint)
- Food Gatherers (Ann Arbor)
- Forgotten Harvest (Oak Park)
- Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan (Detroit)
- Grand Rapids Community Foundation (Grand Rapids)
- Greater Kalamazoo United Way (Kalamazoo)
- Habitat for Humanity Kent County (Grand Rapids)
- Heart of West Michigan United Way (Grand Rapids)
- Helping Hand for Relief and Development (Detroit)
- IN Network USA (Zeeland)
- International Child Care (Kalamazoo)
- Life for Relief and Development (Southfield)
- Lighthouse of Oakland County (Pontiac)
- Mercy-USA for Aid and Development (Plymouth)
- Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society (Detroit)
- Michigan Environmental Council (Lansing)
- National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
- Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children (Eaton Rapids)