Diamond Life Sponsors Bill and Joan Matthaei of West Fargo, North Dakota, have supported Ducks Unlimited since the mid- 1990s, but it wasnt until Bill started giving through his individual retirement account (IRA) that he became a Major Sponsor. When Bill turned 70 1/2, he realized that he had the opportunity to use his retirement plan more efficiently, and to support conservation at the same time. At that age, he had to take an annual required minimum distribution (RMD) from his IRA, whether he needed the money or not. Alternatively, he could give his RMD directly to a charitable organization like DU.

The answer was easy for me, Bill says. I would support charities I was passionate about, including Ducks Unlimited. I support my church and I support conservation organizations that focus on habitat, because it is the habitat that sustains lasting wildlife populations. Bill and Joan have directed philanthropic dollars to the Prairie Pothole Region, where most of North Americas waterfowl are produced.

If you are 70 1/2 or older, you can make a gift to Ducks Unlimited from your IRA by requesting an IRA charitable rollover from your retirement plan administrator. This rollover gift will count toward your required minimum distribution but will not count as taxable income.