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Endowing the Future

A stronger endowment is the Racine Zoo's single most important philanthropic priority and the best way to fulfill the pledge to provide the best possible animal care and improve the Zoo for generations to come. Unrestricted endowment provides the financial base to ensure that the Zoo can remain a world-class recreation, education and conservation facility.

The cost of operating a modern zoological park increases annually and will rise dramatically with each new naturalistic exhibit. Life support and enrichment systems for the animals are sophisticated. Maintenance of the naturalistic habitats and interactive learning tools is costly. The charge to educate broadly and conserve wildlife internationally must be met by employing and supporting professional staff of the highest caliber.

Endowments allow the Racine Zoo to delight and engage thousands of guests every year in learning about the natural world.

Guaranteed Payments for Life

Charitable giving doesn't have to be a one-way proposition. It is possible to make a charitable gift and actually have an income stream flow back to you - all while generating valuable income tax benefits.

Gift annuities are popular plans that can help you make a substantial gift to the Racine Zoo while still providing for your personal financial needs. They offer significant tax benefits and depending on the asset contributed may even increase your cash flow. You will receive income for life where a portion is most often tax-free and receive an immediate tax charitable deduction. You can also reduce your estate tax in certain cases.

Charitable gift annuity is a simple contract providing for our payment to you (and an optional second beneficiary) of a fixed income for life in return for your contribution. The gift annuity offers you the assurance of an income that will not fluctuate, and payments that are secured by all the assets of the Racine Zoo.

You will receive a charitable income tax deduction for your gift annuity, based on the full value of the assets you contributed minus the present value of the life-income interest you retained.

Many younger donors create a series of deferred gift annuities over multiple years, jointly timed to begin income payments when they retire. To fund their gifts, they use assets they've already designated for retirement savings. Their deferred gift annuities give them an income tax deduction when they most need it and secure an additional source of retirement income for their later years.

A decision to make a charitable gift should be planned according to personal needs and goals, as well as assets and charitable interest.

Please be sure to check with your attorney and tax consultant before making these decisions.

Appreciated Securities

You may wish to consider using appreciated securities to enhance your giving. The IRS still allows a notable tax break for individuals considering a charitable gift. Donors may deduct the full, fair market value of appreciated assets given to the Zoo, with no recognition of capital gains. That means that donors can leverage a large donation and charitable deduction using an asset with a small cost basis.

If you own stock, it is almost always more tax-wise to contribute stock rather than cash. This is because a gift of appreciated stock generally offers a two-fold tax savings. First, you avoid paying any capital gains tax on the increase in value of the stock. Second, you receive an income tax charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the stock at the time of the gift.

Your gift supports the Racine Zoo, helps meet the needs of school children through educational programs, improves a Zoo that promotes tourism and economic growth, continues conservation efforts and preservation of natural resources, and continues memories for generations to come.