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Grant gives Mill Mountain Zoo ‘momentum’
An initial $25,000 grant will be doubled if the zoo can raise $50,000 in matching donations.
Friday, March 8, 2013
For the second time in as many months, Mill Mountain Zoo’s fundraising efforts have been boosted by a significant charitable grant.
The Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust awarded the zoo a $25,000 grant, with the promise of an additional $25,000 if the zoo can raise $50,000 in matching donations, according to the zoo’s executive director, Ray-Eric Correia.
The Fralin grant comes about one month after the Alexander McCausland Trust awarded the zoo a matching grant of $50,000.
“This really creates some momentum for us,” Correia said Friday.
The zoo, which operates on an annual budget of about $800,000, launched a public campaign in December to help it raise enough money to survive the winter months when visitation is lower. Correia estimates that the campaign has brought in about $65,000 in donations, not including the grants.
“The public has really stepped up,” Correia said. “They have certainly helped us get to the warmer months when cash flow is better.”
Much of the money raised has already been spent, however, because the zoo burns through about $60,000 a month on average.
The zoo is planning several fundraisers this spring, which include a golf tournament, a motorcycle poker run and a Sunday music series.
The zoo has not had to lay off any staff this winter, Correia said, although it did part ways with a private security company and hired a less-expensive security guard.
“We have a very classic problem financially,” Correia said. “We don’t have an expense problem; we have an income problem. We have to find new streams of income or bring more people through the gate.”
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