David Calkins: Giving through Required Minimum Distribution

Oct 24th, 2018
David Caulkins in front of snowy mountain

Former Director of US EPA Air Programs
Chooses IRA Gift to Support Ridge Trail

As a lifelong hiker and member of the Ridge Trail since 1989, Dave Calkins has fond memories of hiking with his children as they were growing up.  “My daughter Miranda and I did Ridge to Bridge when she was in high school as a father-daughter activity, and I’ve hiked portions of the John Muir Trail with both my daughter and son Matthew,” Calkins shared noting, “And now Miranda takes her kids out on the Ridge Trail.”

Calkins, who graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Environmental Policy & Planning from USC, was a charter member of the EPA, joining the agency when it was created in 1970.  Over his long career, Calkins directed air quality programs for the Southwest regional office of EPA and, as a consultant to the World Bank and World Health Organization, worked with several countries as they established their first air pollution protection programs.

A longtime resident of Orinda, now retired, Calkins enjoys organizing regular hikes for Bay Area members of the EPA retiree’s association, a group Calkins helped start.  “We organize and offer hikes every six weeks or so to 175 members here in the Bay Area.  The logistics are challenging, but people love these hikes.  Both Bob Siegal and Harry Englebright have helped me organize hikes on the Ridge Trail for EPA retirees,” Calkins explained.  Through hikes like these Calkins hopes to introduce people to the Ridge Trail and, particularly, to sections of the Trail on the Peninsula, in the East Bay and Marin County.

Only recently learning about the option of making an IRA gift to the Ridge Trail, Calkins said, “They’ve made it easier in the past few years to make gifts from your IRA that count toward your RMD.  The process was simple and straightforward.  Reducing taxable income was helpful, but it was much more about helping out.  I’m planning to use IRA gifts again and to leave a percentage of my living trust to the Ridge Trail.”

Reflecting on his decision to support the Ridge Trail with an IRA gift for the first time, Calkins is frank, “It’s very difficult to see federal proposals put forward to cut regulations and policies that protect the environment, like reducing federal standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions.  Climate change is real!  So it’s really more important than ever to support environmental causes however you can.  I hope more people recognize IRA gifts as an option.”

The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council is honored to welcome Dave Calkins as a member of its Legacy Circle.  For more information about the Ridge Trail Legacy Circle, contact Eileen Morris at (415) 561-2595 x 203 or eileenmorris@ridgetrail.org.


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