Boulder County Covid-19 Relief Fund raises $1.5M

Profile of the Community Foundation Boulder County

By Paul Hagey May 8 2020

Covid-19 has highlighted the great need many have now with disrupted lives and businesses and brought to the forefront some of the people and organizations designed to help local families and businesses in a crisis like this.

Last week, we profiled the Emergency Family Assistance Association and the work it’s doing helping Boulder families with food and financial assistance, and this week we profile the Community Foundation Boulder County, part of a network of community foundations across the nation designed to organize giving and support in local areas.

The community need spurred by Covid-19 is pervasive and broad, Jeff Hirota, the foundation’s CEO, told BLDRfly.

Jeff Hirota

Broadly speaking, the foundation, which was founded in 1991, has two main functions: it organizes giving to local nonprofits, and administers funds on behalf local donors. In 2019, the foundation donated between $8 and $9 million, approximately half of which went to Boulder County nonprofits, the other half went to various U.S.-based nonprofits from the funds the foundation manages on behalf of local donors.

The foundation currently manages $52.3 million across 313 funds, ranging from donor-advised funds, to dedicated funds, to a general Boulder County community fund. Some are set up as ongoing endowments, some have a specified shelf life.

The foundation jumped in to Covid-19 response with two feet. On March 13, it established the Covid-19 Response Fund Boulder County, which has raised $1.5 million, led by Boulder startup legend Brad Feld and his wife Amy Batchelor among others. The fund has donated $650,000 so far to Boulder County nonprofits and $100,000 to Colorado’s Covid Relief Fund.

Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor

In early April, the Boulder Chamber tapped the foundation to administer the Boulder Covid-19 Small Business Relief Fund, which gave grants of up to $2,500 to nearly 150 Boulder small businesses impacted by Covid-19. Thanks to the $200,000 the City of Boulder and the $50,000 the Zayo Group/The Caruso Foundation donated to establish a $250,000 challenge grant, the fund raised nearly $400,000.

Dan Caruso

Through May 5, that fund had given out a total of 148 grants — 79 percent to for-profit businesses such as gyms, restaurants, health care organizations and more.

Jeff says the foundation will accept donations to the small business fund through the beginning of June and donate any money it raises.

As for the Boulder County fund, the foundation sees a much longer horizon and plans to keep raising money and giving it out in batches directed toward different nonprofits as the Covid-19 recovery evolves from prevention and addressing basic needs to intervention and then recovery.

In addition, the foundation collects stories of Boulder County residents dealing with Covid-19 challenges in its Trends Diary.

Every other year, the foundation analyzes the county community’s most pressing needs its Trends Report (see the 2019-2021 edition here).

The foundation has also spearheaded an innovative giving initiative when it established Pledge 1% Colorado about a decade ago; the program which invites companies to pledge 1 percent of their equity, employee time, product or profit to support Front Range nonprofits. Some tech heavyweight companies took the idea and worked with the foundation into developing a global version of the program — Pledge 1%.

Header image: A family that benefited from Community Foundation Boulder County support. Credit: Community Foundation Boulder County.

Paul Hagey

Paul Hagey is BLDRfly’s founder and editor. When not wrangling video, audio and words in the name of story, he’s riding his mountain bike, trail running and hanging with his awesome wife Jen and their young daughter.