4-24-13 by Pat Stryker, Fort Collins Coloradoan.
Let me share a little secret about giving ... I give because it feels good.
By creating Bohemian Foundation, I have an extraordinary opportunity to financially support local nonprofits in the important work they do. However, I also get pleasure from spending a few hours swinging a hammer at Habitat for Humanity or spending a day playing hide-and-seek in the woods as a volunteer victim, crouched down and waiting quietly for in-training search and rescue dogs to sniff me out. I consider all these donations of time, talent and treasure, both big and small, meaningful.
Too often, philanthropy is seen as a check-writing practice, something done only by the wealthy. But this is a myth, especially in Fort Collins. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy in a special report released last year titled "How America Gives," middle-income households donate a bigger share of their disposable income each year to charity than the wealthy. In addition, the report shows us that households in Fort Collins gave $82.5 million to charity in 2008, ranking the city an impressive 173 out of more than 11,500 cities studied. While that's a strong sign of our community's commitment to helping others, it doesn't tell the whole story.
From small acts to large financial gifts, there is a social value to giving that can't be easily measured. Sharing a smile or opening the door for a stranger only costs you a few seconds. Buying coffee for the person standing behind you in line requires a couple of dollars, if you have it to spare. It might inspire that person to pay it forward in their own way to someone else.
And did I mention that giving feels good?
We can rethink and redefine the whole concept of giving in our community. Everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status or age, can touch the lives of others in positive ways. The reality is that each of us has the ability to live generously even though we might differ in how and how much we give. In Fort Collins, we are building a culture of giving.
We see evidence of it all around us.More and more local employers such as OtterBox and New Belgium look beyond profits to make philanthropy and social responsibility an integral part of their business models. "Give Next" is a new program by United Way of Larimer County and Bohemian Foundation being piloted in five Poudre School District middle and high schools. The program, which also is supported by several other local businesses and foundations, is designed to educate students about the vital role of nonprofits and philanthropy. The Colorado Nonprofit Association recently singled out the Coloradoan among dozens of news outlets across the state to receive its Excellence in Media Award for the newspaper's "Causes" reporting. CommunityFunded.com has created new opportunities for impactful micro-giving at the community level through its social funding website.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
The power of philanthropy comes from the impact of many individuals investing in their community in whatever way they can, whether that's $10, ten hours of volunteering, or ten acts of kindness. If we rethink philanthropy, everyone can find a meaningful way to be included.
So, I challenge you to give because it feels good and because you can.
Pat Stryker is the founder of the Bohemian Foundation.
5-11-13 by Sarah Jane Kyle, Fort Collins Coloradoan.
Sara Maranowicz is seven weeks into her new role as the Bohemian Foundation’s Community Programs director.
While this her first time in Fort Collins, arriving in Northern Colorado was “coming home” after growing up about an hour south of Fort Collins and attending the University of Colorado.
It’s all about community for Maranowicz, and she’s excited to learn more about ours and how she can make a difference.
Question: Welcome to Bohemian Foundation and Fort Collins. Why is this a good fit for you?
Answer: I have been involved in grant-making, nonprofit capacity-building, program management, youth development and community development for more than 12 years and I love this work. It’s not even a choice for me — this is the type of work I have to do. It was all about finding the right place to do it and it was time for me to come back to Colorado. Professionally, Bohemian is really focused on involving everybody in the community: businesses, the university, the school district, nonprofits, individuals, etc. Everybody is doing such important work and we’re a part of that. I love that approach. It’s also about personally working to make the world a better place. People ask me why I do this, and it’s because I want my work to have meaning and to improve the lives of others. That’s the mission and vision of the foundation as well, so it’s ideal for me.
Q: Where are you coming from?
A: Most recently I was living in Cambridge, England, and working in London to help set up a new national community development program. To boil it down, it was about supporting 150 different communities across the country in a resident-led initiative. Local people got to decide how to make their communities a better place to live. It was great. Working in communities across the United States and in England, I’ve learned that it’s all about finding the right partnerships and being really energized about what you are doing.
Q: How have the first seven weeks in your new role gone?
A: I couldn’t have planned a better first seven weeks. There have been three really great milestones for our team. Project Homeless Connect happened two or three weeks after I started. I think everybody should have that volunteer experience because it’s a great example of the community coming together (businesses, individuals, nonprofits, etc.). We had more than 400 student volunteers spend the day with us, and it was so focused on providing genuine, caring support to the homeless and near-homeless in this community. We also did the Pharos Fund review process for grants. Not only have I been reading and learning about the needs that are most important and how nonprofits are addressing them, but it also gave me an understanding of the thoughtfulness of that process from Bohemian. We put in a lot of time and dedication and consideration into each and every application. We also did some Bridges Out of Poverty trainings and workshops. In total, more than 300 people attended each of those workshops. We’ve done a lot in seven weeks.
Q: What’s next?
A: My biggest goal is to always keep learning about this community. You’re at your best when you’re aware of the different perspectives and needs that exist. I love saying that my job is always to keep learning. There are always new ways of thinking about things; and if you keep learning, you can come up with the best solutions.
Q: And are you acclimating to Ram Country?
A: It’s great. I love to run and all the trails in Fort Collins are fantastic. There are great restaurants. I’m new to town, so I’ve been learning about the community in all sorts of ways. It’s even better than I thought it would be — way better. This has a sense of being home. It snows in May ... that’s just good Colorado weather.
Sarah Jane Kyle is the Coloradoan reporter covering volunteerism, nonprofits and philanthropy. Follow her on Twitter @sarahjanekyle or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/reportersarahjane.
3-26-13 by Jason Pohl - Scene Magazine.
From sitting in a crowded Nashville coffee shop with just $4 to her name to taking the stage to accept FoCoMA’s lifetime achievement award, Colorado music legend Liz Barnez has seen first-hand what a turbulent life in the industry looks like. Chat with her for 10 minutes and that appreciation of struggle – and ensuing inspiration – becomes apparent, rivaling only her sincere devotion to the local music community and deep compassion for other artists.
That’s why Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation jumped at the chance to bring her on its music programs team this year as a full-time artist relations manager. It’s a job description Barnez, 48, called too good to be true – transitioning from a part-time singer-songwriter to a behind-the-scenes broker who can lend Fort Collins and Colorado bands a hand by offering them a paid opportunity to play the Bohemian Nights music festival this August 16-18, sharing the billing with national headliners. “There’s nothing that I love or am moved by more than music or appreciate more than a really great song told in a way that makes us pay attention or provokes us to feel something,” the New Orleans native said. “That’s the biggest motivator for me – the art of it.” When her friend Steve Amedee of the Subdudes moved to Colorado in 1987, she followed – and hasn’t looked back. Opting to play more intimate gigs across town and build a following for more than 25 years has defined her as an artist, according to Chris K, host of local radio’s Colorado Sound. Barnez’s piercing and bluesy-soul voice is unmistakable – she has made a style of her own. “There have been very, very, very few women in music in Northern Colorado who have such gorgeous and expressive voices – that is so rare,” he added. “Those voices come along once in a generation – they really, truly do.”
Since 2010 Barnez has done contract work with Bohemian Nights – running the music festival’s green room, ensuring each musician is treated with class – the way she knows they deserve. In her expanded and permanent role, Barnez assists struggling and established artists who can, in turn, lend their talent to energize the city’s vibrant music scene.
“I see the future looking like we are really revealing Fort Collins as a music community,” said Merry Hummell director of music events with Bohemian Foundation. Hummell has headed the annual Bohemian Nights music festival since its inception nine years ago, and bringing on Barnez, she said, was a no-brainer. Her raw talent, community rapport and – perhaps most importantly – blend of creativity and managerial strength made her the perfect candidate. “The thought process she brings to the table is a really different creature,” Hummell said, adding later that, “she is just one of the most genuine and nice people I have ever met.”
More broadly, Kristen Karabensh, Bohemian Foundation’s director of music programs, stressed that Barnez’s new role will strengthen the Foundation’s three-pronged music mission – to heighten the area’s music scene, bolster musical resources for youth who may lack the opportunity and ensure every musician with a desire to succeed is given a solid chance.
It’s a new gig of sorts for Barnez – one she looks forward to playing long into the future.
“Bohemian Foundation’s music mission totally resonates with everything that I’m about,” she said. “We’re aligned in those ways.”
3-15-13 by Ricardo Baca - Denver Post.
It's not uncommon to see people wearing a locally printed "Bikes, Beer and Bands" T-shirt on the streets of Fort Collins or walkways of Colorado State University.
We already know about the city's kinship with beer and bikes.
But bands? In Fort Collins? Sure enough, the northern Colorado city of 150,000 has surpassed Boulder in the past few years as the state's most vital producer of music outside of Denver.
And Fort Collins' broad musical presence at this year's South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, seals the deal.
"There's a certain kind of magic here," said Dani Grant, a Fort Collins business owner and local music supporter. "Maybe it's the mix of college students and grad students and old hippies and young hipsters? Maybe it's all the beer?"
The smell of fermented hops isn't the only thing in Fort Collins' air. Live music seems to be everywhere. The word is spreading, too, thanks to the bands writing and playing original music, an arts-friendly city government that nurtures it, and an extensive network of supporters that includes Grant and local billionaire philanthropist Pat Stryker.
"New talent is rising up in Fort Collins, and it's exciting to see this next generation emerge," Stryker told The Post last week. "Music is simply everywhere in Fort Collins, from painted pianos on the streets to kids discovering the magic of music to hundreds of bands showing up at (local music festival) FoCoMX last year."
And they're taking it on the road.
Since 2009, Grant has thrown a Fort Collins-focused day party at the massive South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, via her nonprofit SpokesBuzz. On Friday, the organization will host its fifth annual party at SXSW, the country's most influential music-industry event, which runs through Sunday.
Even though the party will cost SpokesBuzz $25,000, Grant sees it as a big step up to Trichome, the Lindsey O'Brien Band, the Stone Foxes, Better Than Bacon and the other participating musicians.
"Going through that process ... it's eye-opening for the bands that are pre-management, pre-regional touring," said Grant, who had an estimated 2,000 fans at her 2012 SXSW party. "It makes a band really question if they're committed."
"In a historical perspective, Boulder was that (important) place for a long time," said Chris Kresge, who has worked for three radio stations, held a liquor license, played in bands, emceed festival stages and worked in many clubs since moving to northern Colorado in 1986.
"Now, Fort Collins has become the place outside of the Denver metro where there's an infrastructure and a vibe and a sense of things happening," Kresge said.
Fort Collins-area acts worth knowing include indie folkers You Me & Apollo, uke-swinger Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Johnny Hickman (of the band Cracker), indie rockers Fierce Bad Rabbit, freak-pop pioneers Candy Claws, punk heroes Descendents and DJ/producer Pretty Lights (a.k.a. Derek Vincent Smith), whoheadlined the SnowBall Music Festival in Winter Parklast weekend. (Smith recently relocated to Denver.)
Grant's for-profit businesses and nonprofit, along with Stryker's foundation, are the backbone of the city's event infrastructure, with the three-day Bohemian Nights at New West Fest leading the way every August. There's also the two-day FoCoMX festival every April. Both events featuring 100 to 200 acts, mostly locals. It helps, too, that the number of live-music venues in the city has doubled in the past dozen years, and now the popular KRFC plays 100 current local titles per month, Kresge said.
A couple of downtown music series keep the live music up every week during the summer, including Thursday Night Live (running May-August) and Friday Concerts on Old Town Square, not to mention a slew of other music-inclusive events, from the Colorado Brewers' Festival to FORTober Fest.
"The creative class happens to be a mantra that starts in our community at the highest level of city government," said Michael Short, executive director of the Downtown Fort Collins Business Association, which produces and co-produces most of the events that happen downtown.
Sure enough, the city backs up its talk with money and support.
"We like to use the metaphor, 'We punch out of our weight class in the (arts and culture) category,' " said Josh Birkes, the city's economic-health director. "We've picked a few parts of industry that we see us having competitive advantages in — clean energy, water innovation, hardware development — and another one is Uniquely Fort Collins, where we try to grab that X factor that makes Fort Collins Fort Collins. Under that umbrella, we can support organizations such as SpokesBuzz."
The city's $25,000 matching grant to Grant's SpokesBuzz helps finance the annual band- swap program that sends local acts on the road in an exchange program of sorts. Last year's program sent Fort Collins acts to Lafayette, La.; Portland, Ore.; Boise, Idaho; Milwaukee; and Memphis, Tenn. — and welcomes bands from those cities to Fort Collins.
"That's been much richer than the South by Southwest experience," said Grant, "though I don't discount the fact that going to South by Southwest is still important."
1-22-13 From Central- College of Liberal Arts News & Events.
Bohemian Foundation brings Contemporary Artist Music Series to CSU's University Center for the Arts.
Colorado State University is pleased to announce a partnership with Bohemian Foundation to bring the new Contemporary Artist Music Series to the University Center for the Arts. The series will feature local bands SHEL on Feb. 7, 8 p.m.; Danielle Ate the Sandwich on Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m.; SuperCollider on Mar. 13, 7:30 p.m.; Branden Sipes on Apr. 3, 7:30 p.m.; and Dakota Blonde on Apr.18, 7:30 p.m. at the University Center for the Arts, located at 1400 Remington St.
Tickets are $7 for CSU students, $1 for youth (under 17) and $12 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) Ticket Office in the UCA Griffin Lobby, by phone at (970) 491-2787, or online at CSUArtsTickets.com. Advance purchase is recommended to avoid at-the-door fees.
The artists and groups in this inaugural season of the new series share the common thread of local flair, featuring CSU alumni in each concert.
“This series is an exciting way to feature local musicians and CSU alumni in an intimate setting,” said Kristin Karabensh, Director of Music Programs at Bohemian Foundation. “In furtherance of Bohemian Foundation’s music mission, we support this series as a means of increasing the amount of live contemporary music performances in Fort Collins and encouraging audience and community support of local musicians.”
Not only will the series highlight home-grown artists, it will also serve a valuable role in educating students in different music styles.
5-11-13 Written by Coloradoan Staff: Local nonprofits got a boost Saturday as the Bohemian Foundation announced recipients of its spring Pharos Fund grants.
In total, $533,215 was awarded to 35 Northern Colorado nonprofits providing community support in the areas of school readiness, literacy, science education, trauma training, sexual assault victim advocacy, emergency rent assistance, homelessness, food security and the arts, according to a Bohemian Foundation release. The Pharos Fund selects grant recipients through a competitive process each spring and fall. Individual grants ranged from $3,000 to $30,000.
Since its inception in 2001, the Bohemian Foundation has awarded approximately $12.5 million in Pharos Fund grants to nonprofits serving the Fort Collins area.
The Bohemian Foundation is Fort Collins billionaire Pat Stryker’s philanthropic organization, legally separate from Stryker’s for-profit Bohemian Cos. In addition to its community programs, it presents various music-related programs including the annual Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, scheduled for Aug. 16-18 this year in Old Town Fort Collins. Click here for Recipients.
Bohemian Foundation, Fort Collins, Colorado
Bohemian Foundation is seeking an experienced Project Manager. In collaboration with the programs team, the Project Manager will be responsible and accountable for the design, management and enhancement of assigned programs, events and special initiatives to fulfill the mission and goals of Bohemian Foundation. As an experienced member of the Foundation staff, the Project Manager will be directly responsible for, or actively involved in, existing and new projects, both individually and as part of a team.
About Bohemian Foundation:
Bohemian Foundation is a private family foundation based in Fort Collins, Colorado that works at involving our fellow citizens in the care and improvement of our community. We embrace music as a powerful force in both the vibrancy of our community and the individual lives of our citizens. The mission of the Music Programs area of the foundation is to provide Fort Collins citizens with exposure to contemporary music and access to music related resources for enjoyment, personal expression and the development and improvement of music related talent. We believe that supporting and growing the music identity of Northern Colorado is a vital part of fostering a connected and collaborative cultural community.
Qualifications and Experience:
The successful candidate will have at least five (5+) years of professional project management experience, including programs, events and/or special initiatives. Candidates for the position should have a minimum of: a Bachelor’s Degree, project management certification preferred, proven skills and experience in business operations, including programs, events and/or special initiatives, and a demonstrated history of collaborative project development and management. Computer and financial skills are essential. Candidates also should be adept in maintaining positive, mutually productive relationships with staff, stakeholders, and community partners.
Procedure for Application:
In its first year, the United Way pilot program gathers partners from Bohemian Foundation, local donors and Poudre School District to expose students to a world of giving.
Fort Collins Coloradoan article by Madeline Novey. February 5th, 2013.
An internal battle brewed within 13-year-old Karson Maitland as she looked down upon her new gray and orange Nike tennis shoes.
A closed office door separated the athletic Lesher Middle School eighth-grader from an adjacent room where about half a dozen clients of the Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope typed on computers, some wearing what Maitland described as ragged shoes and socks, compared to her own kicks. Some of the men and women were on the brink of losing their home; others already had.
Grant Gruber, 13, shared in his classmate’s conflicting feelings of shame and appreciation.
A daylong trip to the Fort Collins advocacy center made him realize what he considers garbage “could be someone’s prize” — a torn jacket or worn hiking boots turned barriers against bitter cold. But it also made he and Maitland grateful for what they have and warmed their hearts to the idea of lifelong giving.
The pair are among 18 Lesher students taking part in United Way’s three-year pilot called Give Next. The program takes an adapted, service-learning curriculum and institutes it in local classrooms; four other Poudre School District middle and high schools are participating.
Coloradoan article by Sarah Kyle: If you’re an employee of Columbine Health Systems, Sarah Morrison-Cohen wants you to know that she’s in your corner.
Whether it’s a car that keeps breaking down, financial struggles or personal matters, she’s going to do everything she can to connect you to the resources you need to solve your problems and let you focus on work.
And it’s completely confidential.
Morrison-Cohen is the first of her kind: a navigator. Employed by Larimer County Workforce Center through a grant by the Bohemian Foundation, she’s stationed at Columbine Health Systems, which has about 1,100 senior residents receiving medical and other aid and housing, as part of a pilot program of Bridges to Success.
The idea is that by addressing issues that impact an employee’s ability to work and by taking a more personal approach than provided by a human resources office, Morrison-Cohen can keep more low-wage earners in a job and moving up in a job. The concept is intended to prevent and stop the cycle of poverty.
Coloradoan Soapbox by Sarah Hach:
A poignant comment that has stuck with me is one that emerged from a conversation with City Manager Darin Atteberry as we were discussing the region being recognized over the years as world class. Atteberry said he had been examining if we are “world class for all” and if every citizen has the op-portunity to experience all that our community has to offer.
To be a world-class region, a critical component is economic vitality. Concern over regional poverty num-bers and having ample skilled residents of working age has resulted in the need to bring the economic and social sectors together.
A year ago, our community started down a path to bridge and challenge community sectors to rethink our basic assumptions about poverty and explore new strategies to affect change through two pilot initiatives: Bridges out of Poverty Northern Colorado and Circles Larimer County. The goal was to bring these nationally recognized poverty alleviation models to our community because we believed they could have a significant impact here.
Our approach was three-fold: provide our community with a shared framework for understanding poverty and economic diversity; build greater capacity for local nonprofits and businesses to help low-income families succeed in life and on the job; and cultivate a community committed to change.
We knew Larimer County could provide a testing ground for Bridges and Circles because of the community’s track record for working across sectors to address major policy issues and its commitment to build a healthy, sustainable community. Larimer County embraced the chance to make a difference, and we are beginning to see the outcomes we expected.
Dozens of local nonprofits and businesses and more than 2,000 community members staked a claim in the initiatives in 2012 through their advocacy and volunteerism. More than 1,300 community members at-tended free Bridges trainings conducted either by local certified trainers or national experts on poverty alleviation, including a Bridges for Business session that drew managers and human resource profes-sionals from more than 40 local businesses.
We also partnered with Columbine Health Systems and the Larimer County Workforce Center to develop an on-site Bridges navigator program to increase employee wellbeing and retention. The navigator conducts confidential sessions with Columbine Health employees to address barriers to sustained employment by helping formulate problem solving plans and connections to community resources. In 2013, Bohemian Foundation and the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce will explore the feasibility of a cost-sharing navigator program for small and mid-sized businesses.
I invite you to help us grow these initiatives locally. Contact Valerie Wendell at Bohemian Foundation if you would like to receive free, onsite Bridges training for your organization or to learn more about the navigator program. If you received Bridges training in 2012, please go to BridgesNoCo.org to sign up for advanced training. Visit ELTCenter.org/Circles to learn more about Circles and how to become an ally for a family trying to lift itself out of poverty.
As the first year of the pilot initiatives winds down, we would like to say thank you, Larimer County, for rethinking business as usual when it comes to addressing poverty. We need to keep the momentum going and ensure we are “world class for all.”
Sarah Hach is the outgoing director of community programs for Bohemian Foundation.
Bohemian Foundation Releases Year I Report on Poverty Initiatives
We are at a critical crossroads in the fight against poverty in Larimer County, and now is the time to embrace innovation and new approaches in finding solutions. The percent of children living in poverty in the county has increased at a faster rate than we have seen nationally, up a disturbing 80 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While the percent of seniors living in poverty across the nation has declined slightly over the same decade, the rate has gone up more than 40 percent in Larimer County. The overall percent of individuals living in poverty in our community has risen from 9.2 percent in 2000 to 14 percent by 2010, with the county once again outpacing the rate of change on a national scope.
In November 2011, our community started down a path to rethink our basic assumptions about poverty and explore new strategies to affect change through two promising initiatives: Bridges out of Poverty Northern Colorado and Circles Larimer County. The goal was to bring these nationally-recognized models
Spending time with horses is helping students at Lincoln Middle School transform their lives as they learn leadership and life skills they need to be successful academically and at home.
“We learn to help the horses and then when we go home we can help people there and help people at school,” said seventh-grader Graciella Hernandez. Once a week, sixth- and seventh-grade students at risk of dropping out of school leave the classroom to brush, bathe and run horses through a program called the Open Door Project. The project, funded through a $20,000 Pharos Fund grant from the Bohemian Foundation, began three years ago as a partnership between Lincoln Middle School, an International Baccalaureate School, and equine-assisted life skills coaches Pia Jansen and Jill Cantor Lee.
Lincoln school counselor Jose Sandoval said the Open Door Project gives students a chance to incorporate leadership skills they learn by working with and caring for horses into other parts of their lives. “I can say that 100 percent of these students are walking away as better human beings because of what they’re able to reflect upon with the horses,” he said. Sandoval believes the program has completely transformed students who were once falling behind. “These kids could’ve said no to equine but they said yes, so that tells me they do want to better themselves,” he said. “I’m very proud of them.” In addition to caring for the horses, the students are given individual and group challenges each week. “We are leaders with the horses, and — when we come back to school — we are leadersthere,” seventh-grader Juan Gomez agreed. Another seventh-grader, Jesus Vargas, added: “Not followers.” Through the Open Door Project, local businesses may sponsor the students through funding, by hosting a lunch, hanging a picture of them on the wall and by sending the message that they are important members of the community. Anyone in the community can get involved, Sandoval said.