OAKLAND -- The Chabot Space and Science Center served more than 177,000 people, or about 500 visitors a day in 2012.
The center's teaching labs and mobile community programs introduced science, technology, engineering and mathematics to more than 67,000 students. And the center delivered professional development to more than 2,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers.
"It's a great day for kids," said Troy Flint, spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District. "I know that our schools, particularly at the elementary level, but also in middle school, appreciate the partnership we have with Chabot."
Despite the tough economy, the center's income slightly exceeded its expenses, according to Chabot's recently released report to stakeholders on its previous fiscal year. The science center had income of $6,425,159, compared with expenses of $6,423,845. Admission accounted for almost $1 million in revenue, while government grants and allocations accounted for about $1.4 million. Of the income categories reported by Chabot, admission revenue and grants and allocations were the two highest sources of income.
Chabot spent about $3.6 million on programs, almost $2 million on its facility and operations and about $500,000 on administration. Fundraising costs were about $400,000.
"We are fortunate in that over the last several years, we have not had wide swings in our costs or revenue," said Melissa Russo, Chabot's director of institutional advancement. "But we continue to struggle with the awareness of the center."
She said many people perceive the center to be "far away, so we have to continually be nimble with how we promote and market the center."
Russo said the board, chief executive officer and senior staff make sure each new initiative by the center meets certain requirements before implementation. For example, the staff might ask if the initiative is environmentally sound or if it is financially sustainable.
"There are about seven or eight check marks in all that we have to consider," Russo said.
In addition, the center puts its programs through a financial model called a Taproot.
"The model helps us determine the actual costs of a program, including utilities and back office overhead," Russo said.
Besides the check marks and financial model, Russo attributed Chabot's success this past year to funding from educational programs and public programs.
The public programs fund the center through admission revenue, "but it is primarily local residents who support the center through their charitable giving," Russo said. "Individual charitable giving helps to fund the operations, and larger gifts, from family and corporate foundations, help to fund new exhibits, or support programming."
The educational programs are self-funded because the reputation of the education team attracts grants and contributions. The team is led by a director with more than 20 years of experience at Chabot, and the educators on the team each have more than 10 years of experience.
Flint, the school district spokesman, said the school district is "extremely bullish on the relationship and looks forward to a continued partnership."