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Planned Giving

Cougar Mountain Zoo greatly appreciates your interest in our planned giving opportunities. Please know that your planned gift can help build our endowment to ensure a stable financial future for your Zoo. You can also receive a number of tax benefits such as a reduction in estate, gift and/or current income taxes.

Gift Types

  1. Charitable Bequest
  2. Charitable Gift Annuities
  3. Charitable Remainder Trusts
  4. Charitable Lead Trusts
  5. Pooled Income Fund
  6. Gifts of Life Insurance
  7. Gifts of Real Estate
  8. Whom do I contact about a Planned Gift?

Charitable Bequests

A general bequest is for a certain dollar amount of property, usually cash:  “I give to Cougar Mountain Zoo, Issaquah, Washington, or any successor organization thereto, the sum of $500,000.”


A specific bequest directs that the Zoo is to receive a specific piece of property:  “I give to Cougar Mountain Zoo, Issaquah, Washington, or any successor organization thereto, 250 shares of XYZ stock.”


A residual bequest designates all or a portion of whatever remains after all debts, taxes, expenses and other bequests have been paid:  “I give Cougar Mountain Zoo, Issaquah, Washington, or any successor organization thereto, twenty percent (20%) of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate.”


You may designate that your bequest be used for a particular purpose, and you may indicate whether it is for current needs or endowment.  Because a bequest is revocable, there is no immediate income tax deduction, but your gift will be deductible from your taxable estate.  Please consult with an attorney when writing your will in order for your wishes to be clearly articulated.


Charitable Gift Annuities

Gift annuities are popular plans that can help you make a substantial gift to Cougar Mountain 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.


Note:  The tax aspects of a gift annuity depend on the age of the beneficiary (ies), the annuity rate, the timing of the payments and the IRS discount rate in effect at the time. 

Charitable Remainder Trusts

You may have an asset that you would like to give to Cougar Mountain Zoo, but for now you need the income it provides.  One possibility is to leave it as a bequest.  But with a charitable remainder trust, you can make your gift now and continue to receive income for life or a term of years.



  1. You receive an income tax charitable deduction for the present value of the estimated remainder that will be left to support the Zoo.  This can result in significant tax savings over the period during which you report the deduction on your tax returns.  For many donors, an even greater benefit is the avoidance of tax on the capital gain at the time the asset is sold by the trust.

  2. Increase current cash flow

  3. Provide supplemental retirement income

  4. Provide for other family members


Charitable Lead Trusts

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 minimize or even eliminate gift and estate taxes and make a charitable contribution to Cougar Mountain Zoo at the same time.


In establishing a lead trust, you make an irrevocable transfer of assets to a trustee.  The Zoo receives income from the trusts for a certain number of years or until the end of your life or another’s.  At the end of the term, the principal is distributed to your heirs. This greatly reduces gift and estate taxes.


Pooled Income Fund Contributions

A pooled income fund, which operates much like a mutual fund, enables you to receive life income when you make a contribution of cash or certain securities.  The pooled income fund available to the Zoo donors is a trust, in which the contributions of many separate donors are “pooled” and invested under professional management.



  1. You receive a regular share of the Fund’s net income in proportion to the shares you own

  2. Because your contribution to the Fund is an irrevocable charitable gift, it yields important tax benefits.

  3. You receive an income tax charitable deduction in the year of your contribution.

  4. If you contribute certain appreciated securities, you receive a second tax benefit because you pay no tax on the capital gain.

Gifts of Life Insurance

There are several ways you can use life insurance to support the Zoo.  One simple method is to designate the Zoo as the beneficiary of a policy’s proceeds.  You can also contribute a policy you already own but no longer need, or purchase a new one as your gift.  And if you have other assets you’d like to contribute to the Zoo, you may wish to obtain life insurance to replace the value of those assets to your heirs.


Gifts of Real Estate

You may donate a personal residence (not necessarily your principal residence) or farm to the Zoo, but retain the right to occupy or make other use of it for the duration of your life.  You receive an income tax deduction for the present value of the remainder interest and avoid any potential tax on capital gain.


The donor may be called upon to agree to pay any property taxes on the property, to maintain the property, provide a qualified appraisal, to provide adequate property insurance and/or provide a Phase II Environmental Survey.  Cougar Mountain Zoo will attempt to sell any donated real estate as soon as feasible.


Who do I contact about a planned gift?

The Zoo will be happy to give you more information and explain how planned giving can work for you.  Please contact our Development Department:


By email at, attention Development Department

By mail at 19525 SE 54th Street, Issaquah, WA 98027, attention Development Department


The information above does not constitute legal or financial advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice.  Cougar Mountain Zoo encourages you to seek professional legal, estate planning and financial advice before deciding on a course of action.  All information submitted will be held in confidence.

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