As a child spending summers on a lake in northern Indiana, Rhonda Kittle learned to love the water and all that was a part of it. However, it was Rhonda’s father who specifically taught her to be respectful of her surroundings and to leave the world a better place for others. “Do no harm, and do something nice in return” was a constant theme that transcended Rhonda’s relationship with her father.
As with conservation, philanthropy was another important value taught to Rhonda by her father. “[Philanthropy] was always a part of my life,” stated Rhonda. “Dad would take me to the grocery, buy three or four bags of food, and deliver it to others in need while I watched. … [These experiences] taught me that there are no small gifts. Every gift counts.”
It was a logical conclusion many years later when Rhonda became inspired and involved with the Indianapolis Zoo and its mission to empower people and communities to advance animal conservation. Rhonda remarked, “The the Indianapolis Zoo is an important teacher for society. The Zoo’s role is critical because, through education, we can protect the world for generations to follow.”
Acknowledging that the Zoo’s education role also comes with a cost, Rhonda has not only gladly assisted the Zoo through her continued support in the Lowell Nussbaum Society, but she has also supported its recent Campaign for Conservation and Community to fund the construction of its Coral Reef exhibit. Never forgetting the lessons taught to her by her father, Rhonda shared, “Supporting the Zoo and its work is important because we have a responsibility as conservationists in our own community.”
A firm believer in supporting an organization’s endowment fund, Rhonda also dedicated part of her gift to the Zoo’s endowment to support the care and maintenance of this gift in perpetuity. “[Endowment support] makes a statement. It says this is what I stand for. I want the Zoo to be around for many more years to teach these lessons.”
For those who may be considering assisting the Zoo through its endowment, Rhonda could not be more encouraging. “Any endowment gift matters. There is no such thing as a small gift to the endowment. These gifts create a legacy, your legacy, because only the interest is used.” As such, endowment support and its impact will continue in perpetuity for the life of the organization.
The Indianapolis Zoo is truly grateful for Rhonda Kittle, and those like her, who have the heart and desire, through a planned gift, to financially support the Zoo long after her own lifetime. If you would like more information to follow Rhonda Kittle’s legacy by directly supporting the Indianapolis Zoo and its endowment or by including the Indianapolis Zoo in your estate plans, please contact Ed Sandifer, Planned and Major Gifts Officer, at (317) 630-2709 or email@example.com, or visit www.indyzoo.giftplans.org.
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