Bactrian camels in exhibit Bactrian camels in exhibit

Ways to Give

There are many ways to make a gift that keeps Lincoln Park Zoo free and open 365 days per year while helping to support exemplary animal care, worldwide conservation efforts, and exceptional learning programs.

Monthly Giving

Scheduling a monthly gift is an easy and convenient way to spread your Lincoln Park Zoo gift over the entire year—and monthly gifts add up quickly! For just $1 per day, you can become a member of the zoo’s Donor Clubs, earning you valuable benefits throughout the year.

Enroll Today

Matching Gifts

Make your dollar go further with a matching gift! If your company has a matching gift program, please contact your human resources department for a matching gift form. Include your form with your contribution or email it to We’ll do the rest—and you will be recognized at the combined level of your personal and matching gift.

Stock or Wire Transfer

Donating appreciated securities is an easy, tax-deductible way to support Lincoln Park Zoo. When you donate stocks, bonds or mutual funds that you’ve owned for more than one year, you may claim a tax deduction for the fair market value of the shares, without paying capital gains tax. Donors’ representatives do not always include the donor’s name on stock or wire transfers. Please let us know in advance so that we can identify and properly acknowledge your gift.

Download Instructions

Donor-advised Fund and Family Foundation Contributions 

Making a grant through your donor-advised fund or family foundation is a flexible way to support your favorite charities. Grants may be directed to the Lincoln Park Zoological Society in any amount. Please note: when making a grant via one of these vehicles, the entire gift qualifies as a charitable deduction, and Lincoln Park Zoo is prohibited from providing tangible goods or services, such as unlimited free parking. Members may, however, qualify for discounts in zoo shops and restaurants, and on learning programs and special events. For more information, please contact us at 312-742-2321 or view the Important Gift Update below.

IRA Charitable Rollover Gift 

If you are aged 70 ½ or older, it is possible to make gifts from your traditional or Roth IRA directly to one or more qualified charities, such as Lincoln Park Zoo. If you are 72 or older, charitable gifts from your IRA count toward your required minimum distribution without increasing your income tax liability. Donors may contribute all or a portion of their IRA distribution to charity, up to a total of $100,000 each year. There is no federal income tax liability on the withdrawal; there may also be state income tax savings. In order to receive this special tax treatment, IRA gifts must be transferred directly to Lincoln Park Zoo from your IRA administrator. IRA administrators do not always include the donor’s name on the check, so please let us know if advance so that we can identify and properly acknowledge your gift. For more information, please see the Important Gift Update below.

Disclaimer: This general information is furnished with the understanding that neither its authors nor Lincoln Park Zoo is authorized to provide legal or tax advice. We strongly encourage the reader to consult professional counsel before taking action on any gift, estate or financial planning options.

Important Gift Update

In December 2017, the IRS released information that prompted the zoo to review how it handles gifts from:

  •  Donor-advised funds
  •  Family foundations
  •  IRA rollovers
  •  Foundations

IRS Guidelines: 

  •  Prohibit you from receiving tangible benefits in exchange for contributions made via these vehicles
  •  Require you to either waive benefits, or use a personal source to pay for 100% of a gift that contains valued benefits
  •  Prohibit “buying back” the tangible benefits associated with your membership using personal funds

What This Means for You

If you choose to pay for your membership using one of these methods, we will provide you with a “waived benefits” membership. This membership will continue to offer discounts in zoo shops and restaurants, invitations to special events, and access to early camp registration, but will not include free parking at Lincoln Park Zoo.

But I Want Free Parking!

We are happy to provide our members with exclusive benefits throughout the year.  If you would like to receive your full donor benefits, including unlimited free parking, you may:

  •  Use a personal source to pay for 100% of your membership
  •  Consider purchasing an additional, basic-level zoo membership with personal funds. A Safari-level zoo membership offers unlimited free parking for $189/year.

More Information

If you have questions about this policy, we would be happy to discuss them with you or your financial advisors.  Please contact us at 312-742-2321.