The money came from Jayne Jackson, "an animal and zoo lover," who died in December. She was very interested in the Zoo’s bird population and loved the fact that the birds are part of the education and outreach of the Zoo. "Animals are what made her happy,” a zoo representative commented. “It was no surprise after we got to know her that the zoo was what she wanted to leave her estate to upon her passing."
The trust creates an endowment fund. Ms. Jackson made arrangements and created the trust with the zoo as the beneficiary some time ago. "Jayne Jackson connected with animals and found a way to connect with the Little Rock Zoo forever by establishing this generous endowment fund," said Lisa Buehler, chair of the Arkansas Zoological Foundation.
The Zoo has not stated what it plans to do with the endowment, and the dollar amount is not set because it will be based on investments and market performance. The Zoo Foundation reminded potential donors to include the Arkansas Zoological Foundation in their estate planning, which can be a meaningful tribute at someone's passing.
Reference: Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette (June 14, 2016) “Animal lover leaves Little Rock Zoo nearly $3M, biggest gift ever”