I have been a donor and to Basic Rights Oregon since it started, and a donor and activist with its predecessor, Right to Pride, before that. And while we have made great strides in advancing the rights and recognition of LGBTQ citizens, our current administration has made it clear that we still have much to do.

This year I am beginning a new form of donation to the BRO Education Fund. For those of us lucky enough to reach a mature age and to have some resources beyond our own needs, it’s possible to donate directly from our IRA accounts (either traditional or Roth IRAs).

That’s because once we turn 70 ½ , the federal rules for IRAs require that we take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) and continue to do so each year after that. But you can ask your IRA plan provider to make a donation in your name directly to the Basic Rights Education Fund. It counts as part of your RMD and it has other benefits as well.

In fact, it is a win-win-win situation for you and for the Basic Rights Education Fund:

  • Because you do not receive the funds directly, they may be excluded from gross income for federal income tax purposes – therefore you can get the income tax benefit of your donation even if you don’t need to itemize your deductions under the new tax law.
  • BRO gets the funds it needs to do critical work.
  • You get to see your money at work, knowing that you made a good investment in the future for LGBTQ Oregonians.

There are of course limits on how you can use this method to donate:

  • The transfer of funds must be on the appropriate form, which you can get from your IRA plan provider.
  • It must be an outright gift to the Basic Rights Education fund, as it must be for charitable purposes and not for political campaigns.
  • You must be 70 ½ before you can make the donation—70 will not do, as I discovered.

With so much both forward-looking and defensive work for LGBTQ Oregonians yet to do, this is one more tool. I recommend it.

And for those of you who are far from 70 ½, setting up an IRA now is something to think about. You may or may not need it when you retire, but you are likely to live a long time and this is a great way to save.  If you do not need it, let us hope that Basic Rights Oregon will not either. But if it does, you have bought a form of insurance. And if not, I am sure that some other group that you want to help will need it.