Bryan Biesterfeld has been a longtime friend of the community foundation, serving as a Board Member from 2007-20012, and Board Chair from 2011-2013. He has helped the foundation with many of its most important and complex transactions. Bryan remains a loyal and steadfast friend in many capacities and we are honored to call him a community partner. Learn more about Bryan's story and how he got involved with the community foundation.
Can you tell us about your history in Boulder County?
I grew up in Applewood, Colorado and was a proud Farmer at Wheat Ridge High School. In those days, on weekends, we used to drive through (from) the “boondocks” to get to Boulder because it was a “happening place.” I almost attended CU, but the University of Denver had a varsity soccer team, so I chose it instead for my undergraduate education. Following graduation, after living in six states in as many years and going to law school at UCLA, the Flatirons called me, and I returned to Colorado to make Boulder the home of my growing, young family. My two sons and daughter received an excellent education in BVSD and at Fairview High School, where my sons also played varsity soccer. We planted our tree here in 2000, and the roots have been growing stronger ever since.
When and why did you first get involved with the Community Foundation?
About 20 years ago, one of my law partners and mentors (William “Bud” Bourke) asked me to represent a Longmont adventure business called Mile-Hi Skydiving in connection with the creation a donor-advised fund (the Blue Skies Fund), to be administered by the Community Foundation. We created the fund, which today has assets in excess of $2 million and has donated more than and will have invested over $1 million as of the end of 2023 to Longmont non-profit organizations. After that, Josie Heath asked me to serve on the Foundation’s legal committee, which provided informal legal advice to the Foundation. From there, I went on to serve on the Board of Trustees and finally as the Chair of the Board.
What are your favorite memories serving on the Community Foundation Board of Trustees?
I enjoyed serving with a group of very dedicated fellow trustees and staff. Board diversity and inclusion was one of our initiatives that I believe has flourished in the following years. Richard Garcia (and others I might otherwise never have met) opened my eyes to the challenges faced by many in our community. We undertook an early childhood education initiative, raised money for it and partnered with local non-profit organizations. We made a difference in education, which I have always believed is the bedrock upon which democracies and healthy communities are built.
What do you do to stay involved since serving on the Board?
I tend to parachute in whenever the Foundation asks me to help with business or real estate-related legal issues. I helped the Foundation purchase the Spruce Street mansion and lease extra space to tenants. More recently, I helped with a multi-million-dollar gift of undeveloped real estate in a prime Boulder location to a new donor-advised fund. My partners in my law firm, Robinson Waters & O’Dorisio, have also contributed their time and wisdom to help me with tax, real estate and intellectual property issues that arise for the Foundation from time to time. I make donations to the Foundation – sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on my financial circumstances, but I do it every year. Why do I do it? It’s really simple – it makes me feel good!
What do you tell your professional advisor peers in the community about partnering with the community foundation?
As professional advisors, I believe we have an ethical and moral obligation to use our education and experience to help others. Most non-profit organizations do not have the resources to afford top-notch legal advice. So, there is a significant need for lawyers to volunteer their services. Helping to fill that need, with the help of many other generous lawyers in our community, is a point of pride for me and gives me a sense of fulfillment and happiness when I see the results of our collective efforts.
What gives you the most hope for the future of Boulder County?
Many of the most educated, thoughtful, dedicated, talented and generous individuals in our country choose to live or invest in Boulder County. Most invest in our community without fanfare or widespread public recognition, but their efforts are critical to the well-being of the community. So, in this response, I will briefly applaud Frank Casares with Mile-Hi Skydiving, and Carol and George Solich with the Blue Skies Fund, for their financial support of virtually every sector of the Longmont non-profit community. The next time you walk into OUR Center in Longmont (which provides food, clothing and other basic needs outreach to low-income residents), know that they, along with many other individuals and organizations, have stepped up to do their part, no matter how large or small. It is them, and countless others similar to them, all working together, that give me hope and confidence that we will continue to make our community stronger, more inclusive and more equitable – for the benefit of all.