Contact:  Russ Williams

ASHEBORO-While the State, facing the challenge of falling tax income to cover its day to day costs, has called for a seven percent cut in expenditures at the North Carolina Zoo, members of the N.C. Zoological Society and its donors are still showing strong support for the zoo's new exhibit plans and more.

Almost $400,000 more dollars were raised for the zoo in 2008 than in 2007, despite the worsening economy. The Society netted almost $3.2 million for the zoo in 2008. The Society's volunteer Board of Directors is given much credit for the increase.

"Our Directors gave well over $250,000 directly and their family members and family foundations added over $300,000 more last year," Society Executive Director Russ Williams said of the 20-member Board.

"Many of our other 2008 donors proved to be loyal Friends of the Zoo who have been supporting it for decades," Williams added. "They seem to understand and appreciate that despite it's location near the small city of Asheboro, the N.C. Zoo is ranked among the largest and finest zoos in North America."

The Zoo Society also nets revenues from membership fees, retail sales at the Zoo and various fundraising events, as well as programs like Adopt-an-animal, corporate membership and annual appeals.

The N.C. Zoo Society is a private, non-profit organization that supports the North Carolina Zoo and its conservation and education initiatives. The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.