Asheboro, NC - The North Carolina Zoo Society set an annual fund-raising record at the end of 2012, its 44th full year in support of the N.C. Zoo, shattering the previous record, netting $8,937,574 without investment income, compared to $4,744,201 in 2009. The increase over 2011's net of $3,225,658 is 177 percent.

Bequests led the way in 2012 with 33 planned giving distributions from 18 estates totaling more than $6.2 million. Membership dues were also up to $1,702,279, from $1,651,988 in 2011.

Contributions (other than from estates) were $1,877,498, compared with $1,906,724 last year.

The estate of Dr. Addison Mangum of Albemarle provided more than $3.7 million of the above 2012 totals and is expected to provide about $4 million in total when closed in 2013.

The estate of Juanita Spalding of Greensboro bequeathed more than $1,305,000 in 2012, and the estates of Dorothy Knox Sudderth of Lenoir and Catherine Harley, of Greensboro and Florida, provided $500,000 each. Both the Sudderth and Spalding estates are also still in probate.

A $250,000 grant from BB&T to complete the Society's "Project: Polar Bears" capital campaign was the largest, non-bequest of 2012. It will name the new "Ice Cave" at the zoo's Rocky Coast exhibit, now under construction.

"2012 was a unique year, but we expect similar years in the future, as our wonderful members and donors continue to value their Society membership and their zoo," said Cheryl Turner, N.C. Zoo Society interim executive director.

The N.C. Zoo Society is a private, non-profit organization that supports the N.C. Zoo and its conservation and education initiatives. The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.