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Planned Giving

Karel Weigel

Giving With Passion

Karel Weigel

One of Karel's favorite quotes:
"In wilderness is preservation of the world." —Henry David Thoreau

Ever wonder about the impact you have on our world? Karel Weigel thinks about it a lot and has taken steps to make sure her impact is a positive one.

A respected leader in the Rochester community, Karel has been very active with the Rochester Area Foundation and served as the Rotary district governor from 2014 to 2015. From 2005 to 2013, she served on the Minnesota Zoo Board. With a background in biology, her passion for science made the Zoo a perfect fit.

"The natural sciences gave me an appreciation for the interconnectedness that plants, animals and all of us share," she says. "This fascinates me and is critically important to understanding ourselves."

A believer in education and conservation, Karel appreciates how the Minnesota Zoo teaches visitors about their world and the importance of conservation. "The Zoo illustrates how human activities affect the world. These lessons help us understand our personal responsibility."

Karel's desire to better the future for all of us inspired her to include the Minnesota Zoo Foundation in her estate plans.

"I have made the Zoo Foundation a beneficiary of my individual retirement account (IRA)." This gift qualifies Karel as a member of the Circle of Life Society, which recognizes those that have included the Minnesota Zoo Foundation in their estate plans.

Karel has retired from her position as administrator of community relations at Mayo Clinic. Now that she has reached the age that requires her to take a mandatory minimum distributions from her IRA, her financial advisor gave her a tax wise suggestion.

When Karel makes her annual gift to the Zoo Foundation, she makes it directly from her IRA as part of her minimum required distribution. Making her gift this way means she does not pay taxes on the gift amount and neither does the Foundation, so she is able to—in effect—make a larger contribution to the Zoo Foundation than would be possible with an outright gift.

"It's just a smarter way to give and make your gift do more," Karel says. "I do not have any children, but I can do something to help other people's children, now and in the future. Some people ask, 'What can I do, I'm just one person?' but many gifts together can create a lasting impact."

If you would like to learn how you can make a similar gift to the one Karel made, please contact Linda D. Carlson at the Minnesota Zoo Foundation at 952.431.9440 or [email protected] to get started.

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.