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Why We Give

Diane Brown

1978 Zoo High School Graduate Wants to Give Back

I received a very pleasant message back in August from a 1978 graduate of what is now called our Zoo Academy. This is a program for juniors and seniors in high school to achieve their high school diploma through the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. She was in the second graduating class and recently came to tour the Zoo with me. She said so much has changed for the better including that the Zoo Academy’s program is now a college readiness program whereas when she attended it was more of a vocational program. Now we have designated classrooms, laboratories and even lockers for the students who attend! Back then, it was a very new offering through the Cincinnati Public School system and it is still going on today. We should be very proud of our program both for the Zoo’s foresight in this and for our community.

"I'd like to discuss estate options. I was a student of the Cinti Zoo Academy's 2nd class and would like to include the zoo in my estate planning. Although I have always had this in mind, I want to offer my whole hearted support of the zoo in light of the devastating loss of Harambe and excruciating decision the zoo staff had to make to save a child. I got to know a lot of the zoo staff as a student there. I know this was the worst conceivable option for them to make. Please feel free to contact me to discuss further. – Thanks."


On a recent trip to Naples, I called on two Zoo donors to say ‘Hi’ and to bring news from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Betsy and I enjoyed a lovely waterside lunch and we will stay in touch into the future.


A Story of Two Sisters

Marcella was born in 1918 and died ninety years later in 2008. She married but had no children. Her sister Marion was born in 1919 and passed away this year at age 97, never having married. Both sisters established Charitable Remainder Trusts with themselves as the income beneficiary for life and each other as remainder income beneficiaries. So when Marcella died in 2008, the income from her trust continued to pay to Marion until her death. They both listed the Zoo as one of three charitable beneficiaries to receive the proceeds upon the passing of the second to die. In addition to the Charitable Remainder Trusts, they set up revocable living trusts that also left income and assets to the remaining sister and ultimate distribution to the same three charities. So a month or so ago, the Zoo received four checks representing the final distributions from these four trusts from these two generous women.

Unfortunately, we never knew them. They must have come through our gates at some point in the past, but we were unaware of them. The moral of this story is that we will continue to strive for excellence in all we do so that our guests, like Marcella and Marion, will take note of the exceptional place that this is regardless of whether we meet them or not. We may never know when we are sharing our hospitality with unknown future benefactors.

donor couple

"Bill, our trust officer, spoke to us numerous times about setting up a charitable lead trust that would ultimately benefit our grandchildren. He suggested that we could fund a trust that would pay income each year to our favorite charities for the next 20 years and then distribute the principle to our grandchildren. This would help us to know that we have done something significant for our heirs, as well as for the charities that mean so much to us. From a tax benefit standpoint, we are moving significant assets to our grandchildren in a very tax favorable way. That made a lot of sense, so we did it, and possibly will do it again if the circumstances are right. We love this idea."
—Joe and Mary Brinkmeyer

I recently got a call from Sam who asked about a gift annuity for his wife who believes deeply in the mission of our Zoo. In fact, according to Sam she spends more time on the Zoo's web site than any other site! Sam just retired and has a deferred compensation plan from his employer that will end in nine years. He also had some highly appreciated stock that he knew would make a great gift to the Zoo. By gifting the stock to the Zoo for a charitable gift annuity, he could utilize 100% of the value of the stock to fund the gift annuity for his wife's benefit. He also gets to use 53% of the value of his gift as a tax deduction on next year's taxes. By deferring the payout of the stock for nine years to coincide with the end of his compensation plan, the payout percentage was much higher (7.8%) than if he took an immediate payout (5%)*. In 2025, when the annuity payment begins it will last for the rest of his wife's life and the amount is guaranteed! It won't matter what the stock market does over the rest of her life or even between now and then. This set of circumstances is perfect for this type of arrangement. Contact us for other unique ideas.
*Both rates are based on the age of the annuitant, the current government mid-term, and the American Council on Gift Annuity rates.

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Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
3400 Vine St.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
(513) 559-7716

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden a specific item, 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

"I [name], living at [complete address], give, devise and bequeath to the Cincinnati Zoo Foundation, a not-for-profit Ohio corporation supporting the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (the "Zoo"), [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] to be used by the Society in such manner as is deemed most useful for the purposes of the Zoo."

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 Zoo 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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 Zoo as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 Zoo 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 Zoo where you agree to make a gift to the Zoo 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.

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