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Your Guide for Gifting to the Gladys Porter Zoo

Your Gift to the Gladys Porter Zoo
It is possible for you to make a significant gift in support of the Zoo and its efforts and benefits from earning secure income with generous tax savings.

Characteristics of Giving
UNRESTRICTED Gifts "without strings" enable the Zoo to take advantage of unexpected opportunities, to support projects and good ideas not eligible for funding from other sources and to support smaller projects that are innovated and worthy but unlikely to attract the attention of foundations and large donors.

RESTRICTED If you see a problem or opportunity and want to address it, require that your gift be used in a particular way. For example, if you are interested in preserving endangered species, create an endowment for the purchase, maintenance and breeding of endangered species. If the Zoo accepts the gift under restricted terms, you can be sure that your wishes will be followed.

Methods of Giving

Bequests are outright gifts to the Zoo made in your Will. These may save your estate federal estate taxes. Bequests can be specific (dollar amounts or portions of an estate); residual (the Zoo receives a percentage of the estate following provision of other legacies); contingent: (the Zoo receives a share of the estate only after the deaths of other beneficiaries); and trust remainder bequests: (the Zoo becomes a beneficiary after the deaths of other surviving beneficiaries).

Life Insurance
Through life insurance, donors can make very large gifts to charity at only a small fraction of the actual value. A person in his or her fifties for example, can purchase a One Million Dollar life insurance policy naming the Zoo as a beneficiary at the relatively small cost per year for the premiums. The premiums would be treated as charitable contributions for tax purposes, further reducing net cost.

Charitable Gift Annuities
Gift annuities are partly the purchase of an annuity and party a charitable gift. You transfer assets to a qualified nonprofit organization. In turn, that organization makes regular, fixed payments to you (or to you and another beneficiary) for the rest of your life (or for the life and that of the other beneficiary). You may begin receiving your annual payout immediately or you may choose to defer your income.

Charitable Trusts
Remainder Trusts

You create a trust by transferring assets to a trustee, who invests the funds and manages the trust for you. In the case of a charitable remainder trust, you contribute assets to a qualified nonprofit organization; the trust then pays you an income at least annually for your lifetime or for a specific term up to twenty years. If the payout is a fixed amount based on a percentage of the initial value of the trust the mechanism is called a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust. If the payout is based on a percentage of the trust assets as valued annually, the mechanism is called a Charitable Remainder Unitrust. At the termination of the trust, the principal passes to the nonprofit organization.

Lead Trusts
Lead trusts function in a reverse fashion from remainder trusts. You donate assets to a qualified nonprofit organization. The charity receives income from the trust for a term of years. At the termination of the trust, the principal passes to you or a beneficiary of your choosing. Depending upon the type of Lead Trust used, you may be entitled to an income tax deduction for the value of the gift. If you do not qualify for an income tax deduction when the trust is established, the interest income from the trust is not taxed in your income stream. The ultimate beneficiaries pay less in death taxes when they receive their share.

Whether or not you adopt a trust, your Will remains the cornerstone of your estate plan. A carefully drawn Will allows you to divide your property among family members, friends and charities according to your own personally desires instead of a rigid plan set by the legislature.

Without a Will, your estate may be settled by someone you would not have chosen. If you leave minor children, the court may choose a guardian you might not have approved. Your assets may be shrunk by estate taxes you could have avoided by proper planning and your heirs will be exposed to a maze of legal technicalities.

The Art of Giving
Aristotle once said, "To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man's power nor an easy matter."

The planned giving of charitable contributions is indeed an art. It can be dynamic, adaptive process which meets the donor's changing needs and wishes. The Gladys Porter Zoo is the perfect example of what one planned contribution can accomplish. Located in Brownsville, Texas and opened to the public in 1971, the Zoo remains a monument to the determination, spirit and careful planning of one family, a dream that became reality.

Gladys Porter and her family felt a deep concern for the vanishing wildlife of the world. Their desire to do something that would not only help endangered species, but would also alert people to the need for continued work in wildlife conservation, inspired the Sams Foundation to build the Zoo and then give it to the City of Brownsville. The Gladys Porter Zoo is dedicated to education of all, conservation of wildlife, scientific studies in zoology and medicine, recreation for families and appreciation of nature.

Current sources of funding for this or any other zoo are inadequate to cover all of the tremendous expenses of operating and maintaining as well as enhancing a world class zoo. Your help is critical.

Benefits of Giving
Each of the gift vehicles described above can provide these benefits:
1. You can receive an immediate income tax charitable deduction for the gift value of the transferred assets.
a) Cash. If you transfer cash, you may deduct the gift value up to fifty percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) in the calendar year given.
b) Property. If you transfer appreciated property (land, stocks, jewelry, etc.), you may deduct the gift value up to thirty percent of your AGI in the taxable year given. EXAMPLE: You donate securities to establish a Charitable Remainder Trust. Your charitable deduction is $50,000 and your AGI is $70,000 so you may deduct $21,000 ($70,000 x 30%) this year. You may carry over the remaining $29,000 deduction for up to five years or until the deduction is fully utilized, whichever comes first.

2. You may receive a regular income from the gift.

3. Depending on the asset used to fund the gift, you may substantially reduce or even eliminate estate taxes and avoid income taxes on any gain in the property.

4. Charitable contributions have always represented a substantial portion of the Zoo's necessary funds. Without them, the Zoo would not be able to offer its current educational programs, meet its operating expenses or continue to be a world leader in zoological research and conservation.

For more information contact vze@gpz.org or call the Office of the Director at (956) 546-7187.