Birmingham Zoo
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Planned Giving

Otter Team

The Zoo creates memories every day. You can make a lasting impression through thoughtful estate planning and leave a lasting legacy. An estate gift will provide needed funds to maintain existing operations, expand international species survival research or purchase animal provisions.

Ensuring a Bright Future

Please remember the Birmingham Zoo in your will or estate plan. Notify us when you do. The Zoo would like to thank you.


A bequest is a written direction contained in a will, which disposes of some or all of the property controlled by the will. Through a will, it is possible to give cash, securities, life insurance proceeds and real and personal property. It is also possible to create a trust through a will. Bequests may be used to establish memorials in honor of the donor, family members or others. Click here for the Recommended Form for Bequests.

If you wish to discuss the language of your bequest with a member of the Birmingham Zoo staff, please contact Karen Carroll at (205) 397-3856.

Charitable Gift Annuity (Giving & Receiving an Income)

To make a charitable gift while increasing your annual income and receiving fixed and guaranteed payment for the rest of your life, please consider a charitable gift annuity. The Birmingham Zoo is partnering with the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham to issue charitable gift annuities. For more information, please contact Karen Carroll at (205) 397-3856.

Charitable Remainder Trust 

A charitable remainder trust allows a donor to irrevocably transfer assets into a trust. The trust pays income to the donor or other beneficiaries during their lifetimes, and the remainder goes to a qualified nonprofit.

Charitable remainder trusts may be established during a donor’s lifetime or at death. The donor usually names a bank or trust company to serve as trustee of the trust.

Charitable Lead Trust

A charitable lead trust is a philanthropic and estate planning tool. A donor can transfer assets, such as cash, stocks and artwork, to a trust for a set term of years. Each year, payments are made from the trust to the donor’s designated charity/charities.

It is called a lead trust because the charity/charities is/are entitled to the lead (or first) interest in the trust asset, and the non-charitable beneficiary receives the remainder (or second-in-line) interest.

Life Insurance

Gifts of life insurance provide a way to make a sizable gift at relatively low cost. Certain gifts of life insurance, such as a gift of a paid-up policy, may be considered as a current gift, rather than deferred. A gift of life insurance is made either by delivering and assigning ownership of the policy to the nonprofit organization, or by naming the organization as the beneficiary. By making an outright gift of a paid-up life insurance policy and naming the organization as the irrevocable owner and beneficiary, a donor may claim an immediate tax deduction equal to the replacement value of the policy, A donor may also contribute life insurance policies that are partially paid and claim an immediate tax deduction equal to the cash surrender value of the policy. A donor may even purchase and support a new policy naming the organization as the irrevocable owner and beneficiary. In this case, and immediate tax deduction may be claimed for the premium payments made.


The Zoo’s Endowment Fund will ensure the Zoo’s preservation and growth for years to come. If you are interested in contributing to the Endowment Fund, please contact Karen Carroll, Vice President Development, at or 205.397.3856.


This information does not constitute legal or tax advice. Please seek the services of a professional for assistance in specific cases.