Fact or Fiction?
Separating fact from fiction on Audubon's oft-repeated claim that they operate without receiving substantial public funding.

"Without receiving any operational support from public money ...we have significantly improved park services ..." (Ron Forman, letter to the Times-Picayune, 8-14-01)

This quote, and many variations thereof, are often seen in ANI publications and statements and are reflected in media reporting, such as in these two cases:

"...the bulk of the money for Forman's and all other Audubon employees' salaries comes from the institute's self-generated revenue, including memberships in the zoo and aquarium, admissions, gift shop sales, grants and other gifts, Audubon Tea Room rentals and revenue from the park's golf course." (Bruce Eggler, Times-Picayune, 9-2-02)

"...Forman has turned a struggling enterprise into a sprawling empire, with annual revenue of more than $20 million, which comes largely through membership fees, admissions and donations from the private sector." (Stewart Yerton, Times-Picayune, 12-31-02)

While fond of touting their "self-generated" income derived from "operational" revenues, the ANI habitually downplays the value of the land,the capital improvements, even the animals-- all of which belong to the public, have largely been paid for through the years by public money, and through whose possession and operation the ANI has generated all of their so-called "self-generated" income. Wouldn't one expect any competently-run business to thrive under such largesse?

Revenue from city property taxes, government grants and interest earnings account for 30-35% of ANI income; revenues that the ANI considers "self-generated" or "operational" monies-- gate receipts, memberships, rentals, concession sales, catering, promotions-- account for approximately 60-65% of all ANI income.

Following article reprinted from 2004

1999 and 2000 are the most recent years for which we have been able to obtain financial information on the ANI. We have not included figures on the Audubon Institute Foundation, whose endowment of $23 million has also been derived in large part from public funds. Reconciling the revenue figures on the ANI's IRS Form 990's with those on their annual financial reports is difficult to accomplish, so we're presenting them both...

From ANI Financial Statements:

1999 2000
Operating Revenue$ 23,313,138(57.4%)$ 23,512,484(57%)

Non-Operating Revenue
- Dedicated Tax Revenue$ 6,623,553(16.4%)$ 7,251,137(17.5%)
- Intergovernmental Grants$ 5,340,820(13%)$ 5,878,027(14.2%)
- Interest Income$ 1,568,826(3.9%)$ 804,584(2%)
- ANI Transfers$ 3,785,137(9.3%)$ 3,817,720(9.3%)
- Totals$ 40,631,474$ 41,263,952
Net Income$ 3,896,969$ 5,656,198
Retained Earnings$ 71,896,680$ 77,552,878

From IRS Form 990:

1999 2000
Program Service Revenue$ 14,394,045(65%)$ 14,664,555(69%)
Public Support$ 7,704,652(35%)$ 6,427,677(30.3%)
Dividends/Interest$ 54,743(<1%)$ 126,088(<1%)
Totals$ 22,153,440$ 21,218,320

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