Linda Grunau: Continuing a Tradition

Linda Grunau"I remember packing the kids into the car, heading to the Zoo on a warm June night, bringing a picnic lunch and pulling the kids around in a little wagon at the Zoological Society picnic." That was more than 40 years ago. Yet Linda Grunau still speaks of it fondly. It's family memories like this that have made her an active supporter of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) for more than three decades and a ZSM member for 40-plus years. It's why she became a Simba member years ago by designating a donation in her will to the ZSM. "It was easy," she says. "I just had to state an amount I wanted to leave in my will when I had it drawn up." Grunau was a longtime member of the ZSM's Board of Directors and is a past chair of the ZSM Associate Board. Grunau helped start the popular Snooze at the Zoo fundraiser and says she inspired the creation of Zoo Ball by putting on an earlier fundraiser in the Zoo's Flamingo Café that was lots of fun.

"I wanted to be sure that families in the future have the same opportunity to be part of the Zoo and Zoo family that I had. I wanted to make sure that their children could participate in Zoological Society educational programs and other programs at the Zoo. Too often people think about leaving gifts only to social-services agencies or arts groups. I think part of the quality of life in Milwaukee is the diversity of opportunities that we have. And, of course, one of the best opportunities for families is the Zoo. It's an economical way for families to explore the environment and our relationship with animals, and to be outside together in a natural setting. So it's really important to leave money to the Zoological Society."

Simba means lion, and the Simba Circle's logo is a lion. Linda Grunau relates to the symbol "because I'm a Leo." Her favorite animals are lions, and she's seen them on safari in Africa as well as at the Zoo. "I adopted the lion cubs [in a Zoological Society animal sponsorship] for my grandson, because he's also a Leo. He was very excited, too." Grunau remembers her own grandmother bringing her to the Zoo when it was in Washington Park. "I want to make sure the next generation can continue to see and be involved in this beautiful place."

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the Zoological Society of Milwaukee a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to the Zoological Society of Milwaukee [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the Zoological Society or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the Zoological Society as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the Zoological Society as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and the Zoological Society where you agree to make a gift to the Zoological Society and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.