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OK Boomer-Check that IRA

OK Boomer-Check that IRA

This column is difficult for me to write as it hits close to home.  My birth year of 1963 places me on the cusp of the baby boomer generation, and recently I find myself and my fellow boomers facing the scrutiny of younger generations.

For those of you who have yet to be hit with an “OK Boomer” moment in your social media feed or in a real life encounter, let me bring you up to speed – but brace yourself as this might sting a bit.

“OK Boomer” is a viral internet slang phrase used, often in a humorous or ironic manner, to call out or dismiss out-of-touch or close-minded opinions associated with the baby boomer generation and older people more generally.   In other words, it is not a phrase of endearment.

We all experience those boomer moments when our kids or grandkids reveal that we have just said or done something that is out of touch with their world and it gives us a great chance to laugh together and try to bridge the generation gap.  But this most recent trend has a bit of edge to it that reflects the frustration of our times.

There has been much written and discussed about boomers lack of attention to caring for our environment, our education system and social and economic sustainability.  Gen X and Millennials are ready for boomers who still hold leadership roles in the workforce to make room for their advancement and opportunities and frustrations around these issues are increasing.  New national initiatives are launching to assist in bringing generations together for conversations and healing.

The field of philanthropy is working to balance the needs of their boomer donors while inspiring and engaging the next generation.  Next generation community advocates tend to want to take direct action in their charitable endeavors which creates opportunities for retirees and young professionals to work side by side.

But boomers have a unique opportunity to impact charitable giving and can greatly assist local nonprofits to support the causes near and dear to all of us no matter our age.

In 2019 charities reported a 67 percent increase in the number of Individual Retirement Account (IRA) gifts.  More than half of nonprofits said they’ve seen the size of those gifts increase.

Qualified charitable distributions, informally known as QCDs, allow donors to make tax-free gifts of up to $100,000 straight from their IRAs. Individuals are required to make a minimum withdrawal of funds from their accounts beginning at age 72, and contributions to charity can satisfy that requirement.

There are currently 10,000 baby boomers turning 70 every day, making 70 to 80-year-olds the fastest growing age bracket in the U.S. — the same age bracket that is eligible for QCDs. This age group will continue to grow dramatically over the next 10 years, providing unprecedented opportunities for nonprofits to attract valuable new donors.

OK Boomers, let’s check those IRAs and use the QCDs that are uniquely ours to fuel the nonprofits and causes we care about and support, and don’t miss the chance to connect with and listen people from every generation.  We could start a whole new trend.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use your IRA to support the causes you care about, reach out to me at [email protected]om

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $7.7 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $134.9 million, it has provided $85 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit

Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More