NGO Funding Request

The recipient entity's full legal name:  Audubon Nature Institute, Inc.

The recipient entity's physical address:
           6500 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70118

The recipient entity's mailing address (if different):
           6500 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70118

Type of Entity (for instance, a nonprofit corporation):  Non-Profit Corporation

If the entity is a corporation, list the names of the incorporators:
          Agent: Michael DeShazo
Officer: Ron Forman, Kyle Burks PhD

The last four digits of the entity's taxpayer ID number:  7624

What is the dollar amount of the request?  $24,000,000

What type of request is this?  Capital Outlay Appropriation

Is this entity in good standing with the Secretary of State?  Yes

Provide the name of each member of the recipient entity's governing board and officers:
           Willard Dumas, Chairman, 5427 Bancroft Dr., New Orleans, LA 70122
Dennis Lauscha, 1st Vice Chair, 1221 First Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Leslie P. Gottsegen, 2nd Vice Chair, 2633 Napoleon Ave Ste 610, New Orleans, LA 70115-7418
Anne Long, Recording Secretary, 920 State Street, New Orleans, LA 70118

Chris Bardell, PO Box 2486, LaPlace, LA 70069-2486
Linda Baum, 1 Cromwell Pl., New Orleans, LA 70118
Beau Box, 5500 Bankers Ave., Baton Rouge, La 70808
Leah Brown, 5125 Perlita Street, New Orleans, LA 70122
Rick Buchsbaum, 1539 Fourth Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Caroline Calhoun, 452 Audubon Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
Hunter Cazes, 1123 Arabella Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
Edgar Chase IV, 4748 St. Roch Ave., New Orleans, LA 70122
Angus Cooper, P.O. Box 1566, Mobile, AL 36633
John Davies, 525 Lafayette Street, #1008, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Megan Eustis, 5930 Laurel Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
James Ewers, 11120 South Idlewood Court, New Orleans, Louisiana 70128
K. Barton Farris, 104 English Turn Dr., New Orleans, LA 70131
Joseph A. Jaeger, 3001 17th St, Metairie, LA 70002-3805
Kay Kerrigan, 5815 Hurst St., New Orleans, LA 70115
Beth Lambert, 1449 4th St., New Orleans, LA 70118
William Langenstein, 5527 Danneel Steet, New Orleans, LA 70115
Walt Leger, 2020 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130
Peter Moss, 109 Bellaire Dr., New Orleans, LA 70124
John Payne, 1444 Henry Clay Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118
Caryn Rodgers-Battiste, 2504 Prentiss Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70122
Lynes R. Sloss, 525 St. Charles Avenue, #400, New Orleans, LA 70130
Susan Stall, 3427 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Bernard Van der Linden, 320 Rue Saint Ann, Metairie, LA 70005
Sandy Villere III, 1662 State Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
Thomas D. Westfeldt, PO Box 51750, New Orleans, LA 70151-1750

The criteria for Audubon Nature Institute Board members includes: evidence of civic or business leadership; experience on other area non-profit boards; past support or capacity to support Audubon at a significant level; ability to connect Audubon to new funding opportunities; commitment to improving the quality of life for the entire community.

President/CEO: Ron Forman, 1806 Palmer Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118
Executive Vice President/COO: Kyle Burks, PhD, 914 7th Street, New Orleans, LA 70115

Provide a summary of the project or program:
           Audubon Nature Institute requests a total appropriation of $24 million in state capital outlay for improvements to Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium. Odenheimer Complex Phase II transforms one of the Zoo’s oldest exhibits into a natural history experience and modernizes the adjacent reptile house. The Louisiana Swamp Exhibit upgrades educational exhibits, life support and animal care areas of this award-winning habitat and completes exhibit improvements in the Reptile House. At the Aquarium, the Sea Turtle Rescue Exhibit converts the former southern sea otter habitat into an exhibit designed to engage and educate our guests about Audubon’s efforts as the only entity in the state of Louisiana responsible for the rehabilitation of live marine mammals and sea turtles. The total request includes:
•Reauthorize $9,500,000 in Priority 1 for Odenheimer Complex Phase II. The State Bond Commission approved a cash line of credit at its October 19, 2023, meeting.
•Reauthorize and move from Priority 5 to Priority 1 $9,500,000 for the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit. This project was in Priority 5 in Act 465 and received a non-cash line of credit at the October 19, 2023, State Bond Commission meeting.
•Add $5,000,000 to Priority 5 for the Sea Turtle Rescue Exhibit at Audubon Aquarium. The space will include a live sea turtle habitat, a state-of-the-art life support system, and an interactive learning experience. Guests will learn about turtle habitats, the dangers turtles face, and survival strategies. A CEA is in place, and FP&C has assigned project number 50-N03-22-01. Audubon manages the nation’s largest collection of nature-themed attractions that are among the state’s top paid attendance destinations. Audubon Facility Renovations and Improvements: Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium will improve facility infrastructure and exhibits while making additions and enhancements that invest in a dynamic existing business in a growing sector—a plan consistent with economic development best practices. As a driver for family tourism, Audubon was severely impacted by COVID restrictions and continues to experience visitation 40% below 2019 levels. Building new projects during this recovery period will minimize guest inconveniences, construction delays and operational costs while providing visitors compelling reasons to come to Louisiana when they are ready to travel. As Louisiana’s tourism industry recovers, new attractions and experiences will allow it to successfully compete against other destinations. The $24 million capital investment by the State of Louisiana in 2024-25 is a significant step in helping Audubon keep pace with other national nature-oriented attractions and ensures Louisiana remain a leader in regional tourism. These projects will be completed by 2026; they are currently in the conceptual design phase. Audubon will provide $7,990,000 in matching funds from private donors and limited tax bonds to meet the 25% statutory match requirement. This total is 25% of the total project cost and 33% of our state request. Board resolutions certifying the match will be passed as the construction contract for each project is approved. Through its annual operating budget, Audubon will designate a minimum of $720,000 (3% of the request total) to maintaining the projects after the first five years of completion. Audubon Facility Renovations and Improvements: Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium is part of Audubon Nature Institute’s five-year capital program, which will add $129 million in improvements across Audubon’s attractions, parks and research facility. Private donations, city capital outlay funds, federal community project funds and proceeds from limited tax bonds will support the $96 million for projects not included in this capital outlay request.

What is the budget relative to the project for which funding is requested?:
          Salaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . $0
          Professional Services. . . $3,995,000
          Contracts . . . . . . . . . . . $24,000,000
          Acquisitions . . . . . . . . . $0
          Major Repairs . . . . . . . $0
          Operating Services. . . . $0
          Other Charges. . . . . . . $3,995,000

Does your organization have any outstanding audit issues or findings?  No

If 'Yes' is your organization working with the appropriate governmental agencies to resolve those issues or findings?

What is the entity's public purpose, sought to be achieved through the use of state monies?
          Under a management agreement, Audubon Nature Institute, a 501 (c) 3 not for profit, is responsible for day-to-day operations and development of 8 facilities owned by the City of New Orleans through the Audubon Commission. The Commission is a quasi-public agency created by LA State Act #191 to oversee Audubon Park Operations.
The Commission has no staff; all operations and construction are performed by the Institute. This successful public/private partnership enables Audubon facilities to thrive and bring positive attention to Louisiana. Audubon Nature Institute evaluates its actions through the lenses of purpose and mission. Our purpose states “Each of us has the power to impact the natural world—for better or for worse, and we exist for the better.” Our mission is: Audubon Nature Institute celebrates the wonders of nature by creating a family of museums and parks dedicated to the natural environment. We do this through an engaging family of facilities and public spaces, events and experiences, and sustainability initiatives and conservation programs. Through public facilities - Audubon Zoo and Audubon Park, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Insectarium, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center and Audubon Wilderness Park - Audubon gives Louisiana families and visitors new and ever-expanding opportunities to enjoy and contemplate the marvels of life. And through its conservation campus, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Audubon works to ensure the same opportunities for future generations through programs such as Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife, Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries and the Coastal Wildlife Network. Audubon Zoo opened in 1919 in uptown New Orleans on the site of the 1884 World’s Fair and Cotton Exposition. The success and growth of Audubon Zoo waxed and waned until the 1970’s, when declining resources and limited interest found the Zoo at an all-time low. The City took action and, through the Audubon Commission’s governance and with public and private support raised through Friends of the Zoo, transformed the Zoo’s image from an “animal ghetto” to an “urban oasis.” Friends of the Zoo, which originally held the management contract with the city, has evolved into Audubon Nature Institute, which currently operates nine Audubon facilities on behalf of the City of New Orleans. Each member of Audubon Nature Institute’s family has been greeted with success, measured in such tangibles as: visitor attendance which far surpasses projections; the hatching of critically endangered birds such as Mississippi sandhill cranes and whooping cranes; the births of endangered species including Okapi antelope and Sumatran orangutan; and research firsts such as the birth of endangered African wildcats through the use of assisted reproductive technologies like cloning. The annual economic impact of Audubon is estimated at $651 million, with an increase to $677 million expected after Audubon 2020 projects are completed (ConsultEcon, Inc., Economic Impact of the Audubon Nature Institute and Proposed Master Plan, May 2019). The one-time economic impact from Audubon’s Capital Plan construction activities provides an additional $140 million in expenditures, $51 million in wages and salaries, and 944 person-years of employment. Audubon’s state capital outlay request will build upon its proven track record of success, giving a strong framework to ensure Audubon Nature Institute continues to provide a stimulus for tourism and positive economic impact for the state as well as an important cultural and conservation resource for the region.

What are the goals and objectives for achieving such purpose?
          Audubon Nature Institute’s $24 million appropriation request for state capital outlay funds (reauthorizing $9.5 million in Priority 1, moving $9.5 million from Priority 5 to Priority 1, and adding $5 million in new funding to Priority 5) is part of a $129 million Capital Program to sustain mission of Louisiana’s most visited attractions. State funding, coupled with other public and private dollars raised by Audubon over the next several years, will ensure Louisiana’s leader for exceptional family fun can continue to provide world-class, educational experiences for Louisiana residents and visitors. Using pre-COVID economic impacts as a baseline, the project will:
• Help revitalize Louisiana’s tourism industry and restore Audubon’s annual visitation to over 2 million paid visits to the Zoo, Aquarium, and Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.
• Increase total annual economic impact by 4%, from $651 million to $677 million.
• Increase the number of jobs created and supported by Audubon activities 42%, from 6,936 to 7,223.
•Increase the annual amount of Audubon-related state and local taxes collected 11%, from $28 million to $31 million.
•Contribute an additional $140 million in expenditures, $51 million in wages and salaries and 944 person-years of employment due to project construction
•Strategically position Audubon to serve the next generation of Louisiana’s families and visitors as the nation’s leading operator of nature-focused family attractions. The requested state funding is an initial stimulus for economic growth and development with a proven leader in the region. Investments in the project will provide returns for the state, the city, and our citizens far beyond the year 2025.

What is the proposed length of time estimated by the entity to accomplish the purpose?
           The projects associated with this 2024-2025 request are expected to be completed by 2026. The entire Audubon Capital Plan will be active through 2028, with the majority of funding in place by 2025 and all construction completed by 2028.

If any elected or appointed state official or an immediate family member of such an official is an officer, director, trustee, or employee of the recipient entity who receives compensation or holds any ownership interest therein:
     (a) If an elected or appointed state official, the name and address of the official and the office held by such person:
     (b) If an immediate family member of an elected or appointed state official, the name and address of such person; the name, address, and office of the official to whom the person is related; and the nature of the relationship:

     (c) The percentage of the official's or immediate family member's ownership interest in the recipient entity, if any:

     (d) The position, if any, held by the official or immediate family member in the recipient entity:

If the recipient entity has a contract with any elected or appointed state official or an immediate family member of such an official or with the state or any political subdivision of the state:
(a) If the contract is with an elected or appointed state official, provide the name and address of the official and the office held by such person: 

(b) If the contract is with an immediate family member of an elected or appointed state official:
          Provide the name and address of such person:

          Provide the name, address, and office of the official to whom the person is related:

          What is the nature of the relationship? 

(c) If the contract is with the state or a political subdivision of the state, provide the name and address of the state entity or political subdivision of the state:

(d) The nature of the contract, including a description of the goods or services provided or to be provided pursuant to the contract:

Contact Information
name:  Laurie Conkerton 
                                       address:  6500 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70118

                                       phone:  504-212-5221
                                       fax:  504-865-7332
                                       relationship to entity:  Executive Vice President and CAO