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New Bainbridge nonprofit starts ‘boomerang’ giving

The idea of a senior discount may take on a whole new meaning this winter.

Over the next two months, Bainbridge Island seniors will be able to join the “pay it forward” movement with just a trip to the movies.

A new island nonprofit, Boomerang Giving, has partnered up with Bainbridge Cinemas and Lynwood Theatre to give moviegoers ages 65 and over the option to donate their senior discount to local charities.

“We started thinking about it because a lot of grocery stores were asking if you wanted to round up,” said co-founder David Harrison of ways that businesses have supplemented particular charities.

“This would bring more distinct figures,” Harrison said.

In an effort to get baby boomers and other older Americans to give back, Harrison joined up with his wife Cindy Harrison, Val Tollefson, Elaine Von Rosenstiel and Alice Shorett last summer to create Boomerang Giving.

Customers who opt to “Boomerang” their senior discount will purchase movie tickets at the full price. The theater will then keep the discounted price, and forward the difference to the Bainbridge Community Foundation.

The foundation offers seniors a way to give back to future generations by granting 100 percent of the Boomeranged donations to organizations that work to improve the lives of young people on Bainbridge. Through the foundation’s Community Grant Cycle the Boomeranged donations will be distributed mid-year to organizations that provide youth programing that builds physical and emotional health and promotes education and civic involvement.

This two-month trial of Boomeranging senior discounts at movie theaters may be the first step in a national movement of seniors giving back to younger generations, Harrison explained.

“I think that it’s something that’ll eventually happen all over the place, and we’ll be able to say it started on Bainbridge Island,” Harrison said.

The organization was named Boomerang Giving because baby boomers are now hitting 65. Many baby boomers have been fortunate, Harrison added, and a lot of them don’t need the senior discount.

Through February, Boomerang Giving will give seniors the chance to opt out of a senior discount and opt in for a donation to island youth.

If the two-month pilot project is successful, the organization hopes to not only recruit more businesses like Bainbridge theaters to participate, but also develop technology that will continue the movement.

The group is right now thinking about creating an application, Harrison explained.

Through an app, Bainbridge seniors and seniors from other communities around the U.S. would have individual accounts where they can easily upload a list of local participating organizations and businesses. By providing a list of local organizations to donate their discounts, future seniors will be able to choose how they’d like to offer support to their community.

Nonetheless, for now, Boomerang Giving asks seniors to boomerang their senior discount at Bainbridge Cinemas or Lynwood Theatre to donate to the Bainbridge Community Foundation.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/boomeranggiving or their website www.boomeranggiving.com.

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