The Minnesota Zoo’s Circle of Life Society recognizes and honors donors who have made gifts of future support to the Minnesota Zoo.  These gifts expand our endowment, improve Zoo exhibits and facilities, and support conservation and education activities both here and around the world.  The Circle of Life Society gives the Zoo the opportunity to thank you today for the support you are providing for the Zoo tomorrow.

Circle of Life Society brochure.

When you make a planned gift to the Minnesota Zoo, you’re helping ensure that connections between people and animals are made each and every day, and that future generations will live in a world that thrives with wild animals.  Your gift will help meet the need to expand our educational impact throughout the state, to provide ever-improving care for animals at the Zoo, and even to return endangered animals to the wild.  Your gift will help continue our legacy of connecting people, animals and the natural world.

Planned Giving

There are a number of ways to make a planned gift to the Minnesota Zoo, helping to ensure the Zoo will continue its conservation and education work for generations to come. To learn more about any of the options below, please contact the Minnesota Zoo Foundation at 952.431.9237 or [email protected].


A bequest allows you to make a gift to the Zoo without affecting your family’s current financial security.  While a bequest offers no immediate income tax benefits, it can reduce or even eliminate estate taxes.

You can make a bequest to the Minnesota Zoo through your Will or by designating the Zoo as a beneficiary of your insurance policy or retirement plan.  To include the Zoo in your Will, we suggest the following 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.”

If you prefer, Minnesota Zoo Foundation staff are happy to talk with you and your legal advisor regarding the designation of your gift.

Insurance Policy

Naming the Zoo as a primary or secondary beneficiary of an insurance policy is a very simple way to give a significant gift.

Retirement Plan

The Minnesota Zoo Foundation can be named as the beneficiary of all or a percentage of the residual balance of a qualified retirement plan.

Click here for a sample letter to your retirement plan provider requesting a direct charitable distribution from your IRA, per the rollover which has been extended through the end of 2013.

Gifts of Stocks or Mutual Funds

While many donors prefer to make gifts of cash, many contribute gifts of appreciated stocks or mutual funds as they can provide a double tax benefit: you can receive an income tax charitable deduction and you reduce or avoid capital gain taxes on the appreciated value of the securities.

Income-Generating Gifts

Gifts to the Zoo that create a stream of income and charitable income tax deduction for you include charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder unitrusts.

Charitable gift annuities are one of the most popular planned gift options.  Gift annuities can provide you with a guaranteed fixed income for your lifetime as well as significant tax benefits. In an uncertain economy, the stability of a charitable gift annuity is very attractive to donors who wish to avoid risk.

Charitable remainder unitrusts give you payments that fluctuate annually with the fair market value of the trust.