Charity Navigator Awards N.C. Aquarium Society Fourth Consecutive Top Rating

Pine Knoll Shores

Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of charities, has awarded the North Carolina Aquarium Society the prestigious four-star rating for good governance, sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

The Aquarium Society, which supports the three North Carolina Aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, is one of only a handful of aquarium organizations in the country to receive four stars. According to Charity Navigator President Michael Thatcher, only nine percent of the charities measured have achieved this rating for four consecutive years, which “differentiates the North Carolina Aquarium Society from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their support.”

“We are honored to receive Charity Navigator’s highest rating over this period, and are proud to share this news with our donors, members and constituents,” said Chuck Revelle, Chairman of the Society’s Board of Directors. “This distinction reflects our accountability and our commitment to support the Aquariums’ future.”

Charity Navigator works to help charitable donors make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on more than 5,000 charities nationwide and by evaluating their financial health. It calculates each charity’s score based upon several broad criteria, including how much is spent per dollar raised, what percentage of funds goes to programs vs. administrative and fund-raising expenses, and the organization’s long-term financial health. It then assigns a rating from one to four, with four being the best rating. These are available at

“Our track record with Charity Navigator coupled with the Aquariums’ growing reputation highlights our focus on good stewardship of charitable contributions and maintaining the public trust,” said Dr. Neal Conoley, President of the Aquarium Society.

The nonprofit Aquarium Society, founded in 1986 as a support organization for the state’s three public aquariums, has been instrumental in helping each facility expand its educational exhibits and programs to better serve visitors. Following a loss of appropriated construction funding due to Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the Society stepped in to borrow the $26 million needed to rebuild and expand the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Today, the Society’s “Living Treasures” Campaign offers giving opportunities for corporations, foundations and families to help meet the Aquariums’ needs for new exhibits, programs, and conservation initiatives.

The Aquariums are located at Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, at Pine Knoll Shores, near Atlantic Beach, and on Roanoke Island, near the Outer Banks. Jennette’s Pier was rebuilt and reopened in Nags Head in 2011. The four sites hosted more than 1.4 million visitors last year. The Aquariums are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and were created to inspire the appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic life. For more information on the Aquariums and the Aquarium Society, visit

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is five miles west of Atlantic Beach at 1 Roosevelt Blvd., Pine Knoll Shores, NC 28512. The Aquarium is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $10.95 for ages 13-61; $9.95 for ages 62 and up and military; $8.95 for ages 3-12; no charge for ages 2 and under and North Carolina Aquarium Society members. State taxes are additional to fees. For more information, see or call 252-247-4003.

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