Donate Leave a Legacy

Making a legacy gift to the Zoo Society has a lasting impression and helps sustain the Zoo's world-class animal care, education programming and conservation efforts. 

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Since 1882, the Zoo has evolved from a source of community pride to a conservation agency with worldwide influence. Today the Zoo is the largest provider of informal science education in the region, a leader in animal welfare standards and an invaluable partner in the global effort to secure a future for wildlife. Private philanthropy raised by the Zoo Society helps catalyze and support the excellence of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo vision.

To learn more about how to create your legacy gift, please contact development office Andrea Ponikvar at (216) 635-3323. If you have already included the Cleveland Zoo Society in your estate plans, please let us know so that we may thank you and make sure the purpose of your gift is fulfilled.

Planned Giving Options Available

IRA Charitable Rollover - A Win-Win for you and the Zoo!

If you’re age 70½ or older, you may be able to take advantage of an important incentive for charitable giving. Congress has passed into permanent law a provision that allows donors to make tax-free gifts totaling up to $100,000 from their IRA accounts to one or more charities. This means that you may be able to direct that amount to your favorite charity with no federal income tax liability.


Bequests are an easy way to make future gifts to the Zoo Society and help promote cutting-edge conservation programs at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and around the world

When you direct a portion of your estate to the Zoo Society you gain significant tax advantages for your estate and your heirs. Simply have your attorney draft a new will for you or add a codicil to your existing will for sample language.

Life Insurance

  • Permanent recognition on the Spot to Remember sign in the Honor & Memorial Garden
  • Invitations to special events and exhibit previews

By naming the Zoo Society as a life insurance beneficiary, you can benefit your heirs and yourself while helping to promote research on endangered species. Choose from several life insurance gifting options:

  • Name the Cleveland Zoological Society as beneficiary, successor beneficiary, or owner of your existing policy
  • Purchase a new policy and name the Zoo Society as beneficiary, or as owner and beneficiary

Appreciated Securities

By gifting a minimum of $10,000 in securities to our ZooFutures Fund, you may increase your yield substantially while supporting education programs that raise the public’s awareness of its key role in helping to protect wildlife. A personalized financial analysis will show you how a gift of appreciated securities can benefit you and the Zoo Society.


You can help us answer the call of the wild through conservation and education programs, zoological medicine, field studies, research and animal enrichment by establishing a trust with the Cleveland Zoological Society. We offer numerous types of trusts, such as:

Charitable Remainder Trust- A charitable remainder trust pays a fixed-percentage annuity to one or more individuals for an established period of time, after which the assets are transferred to the Zoo Society.

Charitable Lead Trust- A charitable lead trust pays a fixed-percentage annuity to you or a loved one for an established period of time, after which the assets are transferred back to you.

Charitable Gift Annuities

A charitable gift annuity can help to support projects like local and worldwide conservation studies that protect endangered species and preserve habitat.

For a minimum of $10,000, a charitable gift annuity pays a fixed income for life to you and your spouse, or other beneficiary. A portion of the income (present or deferred) is tax-free. Upon the death of the beneficiaries, the Zoo receives the balance of the principal as a gift.

Retirement Plans

Retirement plans are among the largest assets many people own. When you designate the Zoo Society as a beneficiary of your retirement IRA, 401(k) or 403(b), you help the Zoo increase public understanding of the fragile relationship between wildlife, plants and people. Simply request a change of beneficiary form and designate the Zoo Society as a beneficiary.

Real Estate

With a gift of real estate, you can help expand conservation science by advancing our Zoo from good to great.

Some options allow you to continue living in the property for your lifetime, while receiving income for life. You also eliminate the burden of upkeep, property taxes, and insurance. A personalized financial analysis will show how a gift of real estate can benefit both you and the Cleveland Zoological Society.

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