Planned Giving

Pony Planned gifts to the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society endowment will help the Zoo to grow and flourish for current and future generations. Your children, grandchildren and their children will have a wonderful zoo to visit and appreciate due largely to the generosity of those who had the foresight to make planned gifts. Through your planned gift to the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society, you will have a lasting impact on the Buttonwood Park Zoo.

Planned giving opportunities at the zoo include making an outright gift of cash, a donation of stocks/securities to the zoo, or listing the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society as a beneficiary in wills, trusts, retirement plans and/or insurance policies.

Gifts can be restricted or unrestricted. An unrestricted gift is one that is intended for the general support of the zoo and is used at the discretion of the Board of Directors. While unrestricted bequests are of particular value to the Zoo because of the flexibility allowed in application of funds, the Zoo realizes many of our supporters have a special connection to particular programs and choose to make a specific request. Therefore, the Zoo welcomes restricted bequests. Since a bequest will likely not be received by the Zoo until far into the future, we ask that its terms be as general as possible to avoid a gift benefiting a project that the Zoo no longer pursues or with terms that will be difficult to meet. If you are considering a bequest for a specific purpose, please call our office to discuss.


Naming the Zoo in Your Will

If you wish to include the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society in your will, the Board of Directors suggests the following language:

“I give ___________ (specific amount, percentage or residuary share) to the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society, a private, not-for-profit organization, having its principal offices at Buttonwood Park Zoo, 425 Hawthorn Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, to be used for ______________ (general or specific restricted purpose.)”


Charitable Remainder Trust
If you have an asset that you would like to give to the zoo but you currently need the income that asset provides, a charitable remainder trust may allow you to achieve both of your goals. By forming a charitable remainder trust, a donor irrevocably transfers assets to a trust for a designated period of time during which the trust provides income to the donor (and/or beneficiaries) until their death or the termination of the trust term. At that point, the remainder of the trust, the corpus, is transferred to the zoo.


Benefits to the Donor
A charitable remainder trust may offer a donor the following benefits:

  • Receive an income tax charitable deduction for the present value of the estimated remainder that will be left to support the zoo. This may result in significant income and capital gain tax savings.
  • Increase current cash flow.
  • Provide supplemental retirement income.
  • Provide for other family members.


Charitable Lead Trust

If you have a large estate you are planning to pass on to your children, you should know about the charitable lead trust. Estate and gift taxes can severely reduce the value of property passed on to your heirs. A charitable lead trust enables you to reduce gift and estate taxes and make a charitable contribution to the zoo at the same time. In establishing a lead trust, the donor makes an irrevocable transfer of assets to a trustee. The zoo then receives income from the trust for a stated period of time or until the end of the donor’s life. At the end of the stated term, the principal is distributed to the donor’s heirs as stated in the trust agreement.


Benefits to the Donor
A charitable lead trust offers a donor benefits in that it may reduce gift and estate taxes and allows a donor to provide for family members while supporting the zoo.


Life Insurance Policy
Life insurance policies can be used for charitable giving. One simple method is to designate The Buttonwood Park Zoological Society as the primary beneficiary (full or partial) of the policy’s proceeds. The Zoo may also be named as the contingent successor beneficiary, where we receive the death benefits only if a named individual beneficiary predeceases the policyholder.


Retirement Assets
Many individuals are investing in qualified retirement plans such as IRAs, 401(k)s and 403(b)s. Unfortunately, these plans can carry an array of potential tax liabilities. One satisfying way to lessen or avoid these liabilities is to use retirement assets in charitable giving. There are multiple ways to use these assets to support the zoo.


Naming the Zoo as Beneficiary of a Retirement Plan
A donor can simply fill out a “Change of Beneficiary” form, provided by the plan administrator, and designate the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society as primary beneficiary (full or partial) of the plan.


Offset Retirement Plan Distributions with Direct Zoo Gifts
The plan owner can begin taking structured withdrawals for the retirement plan at the required age and make outright gifts to the zoo. This will generate an offsetting charitable deduction.


Transfer Retirement Plan Residual to a Charitable Remainder Trust
The donor can establish a charitable remainder trust in their will for the residual of their retirement plan assets. The trust will name beneficiaries and include The Buttonwood Park Zoological Society as the charitable remainderman. Upon the death of the donor, beneficiaries of the trust (e.g. spouse, children, etc.) will receive income from the trust for a period of years. After that point, the remainder of the trust, the corpus, is transferred to the zoo.