Planned Giving

Help the Zoo and Yourself.

For many of us, the last quarter of the year is a time to re-examine our financial plans and consider our support of charities that bring meaning to our lives. Why wait until then?

No matter how you plan, making a lasting donation to a community treasure committed to conservation, the future of wildlife and the education of children and families in any of the following ways would be greatly appreciated.  Because the Zoo receives no tax support of any kind, we rely on admissions, memberships, program fees, donations and grants to operate, as well as do critical conservation work and build fantastic new exhibits.  Will you leave a legacy at the Zoo?Planned giving methods may include:

  • Charitable bequests from wills
  • Gifts of life insurance
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Charitable lead trusts
  • Other personal property

A Bequest in Your Will.

Some think of a favorite charity, like the Zoo, as part of their extended family, and include them in a bequest in their will. This is easily and simply done. If wildlife preservation, education and protecting a community asset are important to you, talk to a professional about including a specific or residuary bequest in your will.  See example verbiage here.

Beneficiary Appointment of Life Insurance.

Not everyone knows that they can name their favorite charity as a beneficiary for part or all of the proceeds from an existing life insurance policy. You can do this easily by requesting a change-in-beneficiary form from your life insurance company.

You can also make an outright gift of a life insurance policy that may have served its purpose. Perhaps a policy bought for business reasons is no longer needed when the business is sold, or your children have matured and the need for family protection is no longer required. The policy can be donated to the Zoo or charity of your choice, after which the beneficiary can surrender the policy for its cash surrender value or continue the policy by paying the premiums. In either case, donors can receive tax advantages while charities receive financial support.

Other Ways to Give.

There are many options when it comes to planned giving, including charitable lead and remainder trusts and gifts of personal property, that may benefit you, the Zoo, and your family.

Using estate planning methods may create exemptions from capital gains taxes or reduce costly estate or probate taxes within present tax laws. There are other planned giving strategies, beyond those mentioned, which may be right for you. The Major Gifts and Planned Giving Manager at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is happy to provide additional information as needed for anyone considering a gift of this nature.  However, it is recommended that you consult a professional advisor before making a planned gift of any kind.

Where do the gifts end up?

All gifts, unless specified otherwise, go directly into the Zoo’s Endowment Fund, providing for the Zoo’s future.

How do I make a planned gift?

The first step is talking with your estate attorney.  He or she will help you decide on the type of gift that is most beneficial to you now and into the future.  In order to include the Zoo in your will or estate plan, you’ll need our legal name, and tax ID number, which can be found here, along with some sample bequest language.


Join the 1926 Society

That’s when it all began…

In 1926, Spencer Penrose founded the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Spurred into action by a growing collection of animals with nowhere to put them, Penrose was inspired to create the “zoo on the mountain.” When he incorporated the Zoo as a non-profit public trust for the people of Colorado Springs, he could hardly have imagined that his small menagerie would someday become one of the finest private zoological parks in the country.

Today, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is thriving, in no small part because of the unwavering community support we receive. Because the Zoo operates without any local or regional tax support, it is our friends and supporters who help us to achieve our mission of conservation, education and animal care. Over the years, many individuals and families have chosen to leave lasting gifts for the Zoo through planning giving, creating a unique way to leave their own legacy.


Leaving a legacy

The uniqueness of our Zoo creates experiences that last a lifetime. Your support allows the Zoo to continue to be a community treasure, while also participating in important conservation work locally and globally.

The 1926 Society is an elite group of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s long-time supporters who have included the Zoo in their estate plans. Their contributions help us bring the Zoo’s mission to life, and they create a lasting impact for future generations of guests who can help preserve wildlife and wild places.




We expected to love Colorado Springs when we moved here ten years ago, but it was a wonderful surprise to discover a unique and beloved community treasure: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo! As members, we have been continually impressed by the dynamic vision and talent of the Zoo’s leadership team, and the knowledge and dedication of its employees. The opportunity we have in Colorado Springs to see these magnificent animals and learn about conservation efforts is extraordinary, and a privilege we must not take for granted. By including Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in our estate plans, we are proud to be part of its future and the important work it is doing locally, nationally and internationally.



Will you join Jim and Janis and leave your legacy at the Zoo?

Your membership in the 1926 Society is activated once you notify us that your estate plans include the Zoo. Membership includes exclusive activities and events.

Have you already included the Zoo in your estate plan?  Let Us Know!
For information or to advise us of your plans, please contact Kelley Parker, Director of Development at [email protected] or 719-424-7810.