One of the non-profits that contributed to Detroit's high ranking was the Detroit Zoological Society, which ranked fifth out of the region's top 45 charities in financial stability, accountability, and transparency with a score of 67.28.* One of the ways the zoo got such a high ranking was cutting down on administrative costs, which raised its rating from only two stars four years ago to four stars today. Now, WXYZ reports that salaries are going up, starting with the man at the top, Ron Kagan.I have my students research sustainability-related charities in Detroit every semester and I’m amazed how how many high-quality charities there are here. In fact, Charity Navigator rates Detroit’s charities as better than those of New York and Washington, D.C. I’ll have to write up that research and post the link.I don't have time to do a complete write-up right now. Instead, I direct my readers to the site's Metro Market Study 2013. It shows Detroit's charities rank 11th in the U.S., while Washington, D.C.'s rank 17th and New York City's rank 18th.
Director of the Detroit Zoo takes big pay raise
As long as administration's share of the budget doesn't go up and the program services continue to improve, the zoo's Charity Navigator rating shouldn't be harmed. In fact, Kagan's salary has gone up at the same time the zoo's ratings have improved, so I'm not too worried. Just the same, I'll keep an eye out for next year's ratings to see if the zoo's score goes down and brings Detroit's ranking down with it. Only then will I think that WXYZ's concern was justified.
*The local charities ranked higher than the zoo are Helping Hand for Relief and Development in first with a score of 69.25, Forgotten Harvest in second with a score of 67.82, Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society in third with a score of 67.73, and American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association in fourth with a score of 67.35. Among the local organizations my students would write about for their assignments, that places the zoo in third behind Forgotten Harvest and the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society. That's something to be proud of.