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Planned Giving

Circle of Life Society: Creating a Wildlife Legacy for Future Generations

Bison LogoWhat is the Circle of Life Society?

The Minnesota Zoo’s Circle of Life Society honors individuals today for the support they will provide in the future through their estates or other planned gifts. These gifts expand our endowment, improve Zoo exhibits and facilities, and support conservation and education activities both here and around the world. As a member of the Circle of Life Society, you help ensure the Zoo’s work continues far into the future.

If you would like more information about the Circle of Life Society or have already remembered the Minnesota Zoo in your estate plans, please contact Brenda Teats at 952-431-9361 or [email protected]

Giving for the Next Generation

Harry HaynsworthMeet Harry Haynsworth, Dean Emeritus of William Mitchell College of Law and Circle of Life Society Member.

Harry and his wife Pat made a planned gift to the Minnesota Zoo in 2006. “It is important to live your life in a manner consistent with what you believe. A planned gift provided a way for us to make a much larger gift to the Zoo than would otherwise be possible,” said Harry. “I hope our support will provide future generations with increased opportunities to learn about animals and the environments that sustain them.”

Meet other members of the Circle of Life Society.

Circle of Life Society Benefits

The Minnesota Zoo provides Circle of Life Society members benefits and recognition in appreciation for your future gifts:

  • Inclusion in the Minnesota Zoo annual report and on the Zoo’s donor wall
  • Invitations to special Zoo events, including the Director’s Reception, the Circle of Life Society annual event, and exhibit previews and openings.

Download our Circle of Life Society brochure.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Minnesota Zoo an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

Bequest Language

"I give, devise, and bequeath to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation, a non-profit Minnesota corporation, located at 13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124, the sum of $____ (or, ___ percent of my estate, or, ___ percent of the residue of my estate) to be used for such purposes as the Board of Trustees determines at the time this bequest becomes effective."


able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and the Minnesota Zoo Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.