If you are 70½ or older, temporary legislation now allows you to make a tax-free distribution of up to $100,000 from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to The Nature Conservancy. This special opportunity lasts through December 2013 and is retroactive to January 1, 2012.
If you're wondering what the benefits of such an IRA distribution might be to you and nature, just read the story of Conservancy member Austin Okie.
Under the temporary Pension Protection Act of 2006—when the charitable IRA rollover provision was first made available—Okie saw a win-win opportunity: a chance to make a gift from his retirement assets to support conservation without incurring income tax on the withdrawal.
Austin Okie attributes his concern and love for nature to the simple fact that he grew up working and playing outdoors. “As a boy, I was outside all the time, working on the farm—that was just the way it was,” he says.
His time spent outdoors cultivated a particular interest in birds and trees. A completely self-taught naturalist, he easily identifies local shrubs and trees and knows well the many birds that live and migrate through his corner of Delaware, a migratory bird hotspot.
He calls the natural places around him a “bird paradise.” But Okie has watched over the years as intense development has changed the landscape he has known and loved.
Okie and his family have not stood idly by however. In 1997, his family helped The Nature Conservancy purchase 403 acres adjoining Okie’s 154-acre farm (which itself has a conservation easement on it), creating the Bullseye-Ferry Landing Preserve.
Okie is also actively involved with a variety of environmental and local citizen groups and recently donated 118 acres of pristine coastal forest and marsh near his farm to the Conservancy.
“I want to preserve the history, wildlife and environment of this area,” he says. “I’ve seen that The Nature Conservancy has done good things to protect land.”
In addition to these extraordinary gifts of land, Okie has for many years supported the Conservancy’s work with monetary gifts as well.
When the Pension Protection Act of 2006 became law, Okie saw a win-win opportunity: a chance to preserve the natural places he cares about while also gaining significant tax savings. Because of this legislation, he was able to make a cash gift to the Conservancy from his IRA without incurring income tax on the withdrawal.
Okie chose to designate the proceeds of his IRA distribution to a project in Delaware and to the Conservancy’s work in North Carolina along the Roanoke River, one of Okie’s “favorite places in the whole country” and an area he regularly returns to.
Okie’s concern for these places extends to cultural and historical preservation as well. And while he knows local history well, his interest in new cultures has taken him to such distant places as Jordan and Egypt.
But it seems his greatest passion is to save Delaware. Though he is discouraged by the pace of development here, he has taken the long view, choosing to remain informed and active in order to preserve the natural places around him for the future.
There are those who, in the face of such rapid change, might throw up their hands and abandon all hope. But not Okie. He has instead invested time and money in doing his part.
“I have to do something about it,” he says. “I can’t just leave it up to fate.”
Learn how a gift of assets can benefit you and nature.
There are many types of life-income gifts. Learn more.
Try our Real Estate Gift Guide.
You can protect migratory birds and other natural places by making a planned gift with The Nature Conservancy. Contact us today.