Jim Guerino was a city kid from Chicago when he came to the Twin Cities to work for BNSF Railway. He was fortunate to meet and marry his coworker, Nancy, who is a Minnesota girl. Jim and Nancy made their life here in Minnesota and Jim soon learned what he loved about living here was his exposure to the outdoors and nature.
Jim was drawn to the Minnesota Zoo in the 1970s for a number of reasons. As an amateur photographer and a lover of the natural world, the Zoo offered wonderful photo ops and a chance to learn more about our connection to animals. This inspired him to spend more time and energy learning about the mission of the Zoo. Eventually, Jim and Nancy became members and over the years, their involvement in the Zoo brought them to a better understanding of our connectedness to the natural world.
Jim especially enjoyed his winter visits to the bird show and the lush warmth of the Tropics Trail where he would spend three to four hours at a time enjoying a "mini vacation… a winter getaway."
In his retirement, Jim began volunteering at the Zoo, which was a complete departure from his role at BNSF as an information technology specialist. He enjoys sharing the mission of the Zoo with visitors. "All I need is to see one kid have the lightbulb go on and make the connection to the animals….That makes my day!"
Jim and Nancy have consistently made gifts to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation and now most of their gifts come directly from their IRA. They know that it is a great way to make a significant gift to support the Zoo while providing some nice financial benefits to themselves. The amount of the gift counts toward the required minimum distribution from their IRAs and is not counted as taxable income for the couple. In addition, it reduces their AGI (adjusted gross income) and in their case, it reduces their Medicare premiums. "It's just a smarter way to give to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation."
If you would like to learn more about how to make a difference at the Zoo through a tax-wise gift to the Minnesota Zoo Foundation, visit our planned giving website or contact Amalie Frankel at 651.539.6518 or Amalie.Frankel@mnzoo.org.