My name’s Steve Dotterrer, and I have been a donor to Basic Rights Oregon since it started, and a donor and activist with its predecessor, Right to Pride, before that. Becoming a regular donor is a good habit to get into, and it benefits BRO.

2021 is BRO’s 25th Anniversary year, and, looking back, we’ve made great strides in advancing the rights and recognition of LGBTQ Oregonians. But we are not done yet. As the last federal administration made clear, backsliding can be very real and dangerous to the LGBTQ community, particularly for LGBTQ people of color and the trans community. For that reason, I know we’ll need BRO for a long time to come.

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). That rule was suspended in 2020 because of the initial impact of the coronavirus lockdowns on the economy and the stock market. But the stock market did very well for most of 2020, and the RMD is back.

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 current 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.

As Basic Rights Oregon turns 25, we have a lot to celebrate. And with so much both forward-looking and defensive work for LGBTQ Oregonians yet to do, donating your RMD is a way I recommend to help BRO continue in its success.

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 without paying taxes on the increased value until you actually need it.

Have questions? Contact Mikki Gillette, Major Gifts Officer, at

Steve Dotterrer