Planned Giving

Planned giving enables friends of the Arboretum to extend their support into the future. It enhances the Arboretum's long-term financial stability by establishing a continuous revenue source for ongoing operational expenses, designated projects and special needs.

You, too, can leave a legacy to help support the facilities and programs of the Arboretum of tomorrow. Planned (or deferred) giving helps to strengthen the Arboretum's financial future, and also can address your own estate-planning needs through tax advantages or other benefits. In some cases, it can increase your retirement income. Always, it seeks to devise a gift plan that serves the donor's own philanthropic goals and financial objectives, as well as the Arboretum's. Examples include:

  • Estate gifts: Bequests from wills or living trusts, retirement plan assets. 
  • Income-producing gifts: Charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder annuity trusts, charitable remainder unitrusts.
  • Other planned gifts: Charitable lead trusts, life insurance policies, gifts of real estate, or other unique assets.

Donors of planned gifts are recognized as members of the Leon Snyder Heritage Society and the University of Minnesota Heritage Society, and they are invited to attend special Heritage Society events. A list of current Leon Snyder Heritage Society members appears in the Arboretum's annual report

If you would like to make a planned gift to the Arboretum or wish to discuss estate planning goals, or if you already have included the Arboretum in your estate plan and would like to be enrolled in the Heritage Society, please contact the Planned Giving Officer, Susan Taylor at 612-301-1266 or

Berens cabin winter

Berens Cabin

Intertwined with the early history of the Arboretum is the historic Berens Cabin, located near the start of Three-Mile Drive. The cabin was known as ‘the ranch’ to Mary Berens, her two sisters, brother and parents, a family summer escape from their home in Excelsior. In 1958, the Berens family sold the property to what would become the Arboretum.

More than 40 years later, Mary and her sister Lola contributed to a fund established by the Arboretum Auxiliary for renovation of the cabin (the Men’s and Women’s Garden Club of Minneapolis and other donors also contributed). Mary’s estate created an endowment for the cabin and recently, her estate (she died in 2007) distributed final funds for maintenance.