The information on these pages will lead you through three questions that will help meet your gift desires. This discussion is meant to be an introduction to methods for designing a gift that best suits your financial needs and meets your charitable objectives.
As you consider the information presented here, the Zoo Society encourages you to consult your legal counsel, accountant, and/or estate planner to determine which method of giving is best for you. All gifts other than gifts of cash and appreciated securities are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees of the Seneca Park Zoo Society.
When you do not restrict the use of your gift, the Seneca Park Zoo Society gains the flexibility to direct your gift toward an area of need. Unrestricted gifts help to fuel our education and conservation programs, assist in the development of new programs, and keep the Zoo as a place where people of all walks of life come together to be connected with wildlife and wild places.
It is the policy of the Seneca Park Zoo Society to direct 75% of each unrestricted bequest in excess of $25,000 to the Zoo Society’s general endowment funds, which provide a source of general operating support to the Zoo Society.
The Zoo accepts matching company gifts with individual donations.
Annual membership fees help support the Zoo’s conservation and education programs, as well as our operating costs.
Partners in Conservation
The generosity and commitment of our Partners in Conservation allow the Zoo to continue to be the natural place for families while building on its role in conservation leadership.
Make a donation to the Zoo’s Annual Fund, which supports our operations and future development.
Buy a Brick
Leave your mark at the Zoo by purchasing a brick.
Honors and Memorials
Commemorate a loved one’s birthday, honor the memory of a good friend, or simply celebrate the fact that you are able to help the Zoo. By giving to the Seneca Park Zoo Society in memory or in honor of a loved family member, friend or pet, many generous donors have found a way to express their caring spirit while helping to ensure the success of your Zoo. If you would like to make a donation in remembrance or honor a beloved person, pet or event, you can:
Many people who give to the Zoo Society request that their contributions be used toward a specified program or project. Whether your gift is an outright gift, a pledge, or a bequest, you have the option of deciding how you would like your financial support to be used. Examples of restrictions include educational programming, conservation priorities, capital expansion and general endowment. For further ideas about targeting your gift, please contact the development office.
Those interested in supporting our education programs can choose from a variety. Examples include, but are not limited to ZooCamps, Book & Beast, ZooClass and Scout Programs.
Those interested in supporting our conservation priorities can choose from a variety. Examples include Butterfly Beltway, ZooMobile, Citizen Science Nature Hikes and One Cubic Foot.
Your support helps keep our animals healthy and strong by providing enrichment items that encourage physical and mental stimulation.
Stay tuned for information regarding donating to our Capital Campaign.
Gifts to the Endowment
A gift of endowment enriches Seneca Park Zoo by investing in its future. A gift of endowment is invested and held in perpetuity, with its yield usable by the Zoo Society to support programs or positions you have endowed. An endowment reflects your interest and serves as an enduring testament to you and the person for whom the endowment is named. In general, a minimum gift of $25,000 is needed to establish a named endowment. Of course, gifts of lesser amount may be made to any the Zoo Society’s existing endowment funds.
Forever Wild Society
In an effort to encourage planned gifts, the Seneca Park Zoo Society has established the Forever Wild Society.
Gifts of Real Estate
Under certain circumstances, the Zoo Society will accept gifts of real estate. As in the case of appreciated securities, you may find it more economically beneficial to donate appreciated real estate rather than selling the property. Gifts of real estate are deductible in amounts up to 30% of your adjusted gross income. Gifts in excess of that limit can be carried forward for up to five additional years.
It is also possible to give your personal home and remain living in it. This arrangement, called a retained life estate, transfers ownership of your residence to the Zoo Society but allows you and your spouse to continue using it for the rest of your lives. When you make a gift of a retained life estate, you agree to maintain the property as long as you live there. You are entitled to an income tax charitable deduction for the value of the future interest that you convey to the Zoo Society (based upon your age and the fair market value of your property).
Making a gift of your retirement plan may have significant potential tax advantages for you. You may choose to name the Seneca Park Zoo Society as the beneficiary of a retirement plan while leaving other, less-taxed assets to heirs. You may also fund a charitable remainder trust using retirement funds.
In Your Will
Make a bequest in the Zoo Society’s name in your will.