07.06.23

Community Partner Profile: Ann Cooper

Ann Cooper is a longtime friend of Community Foundation Boulder County. She has been a realtor in Boulder since 1997, and served on the board of the foundation from 2001 to 2004. She is also a fundholder and the founder of the BIPOC Women’s Fund at the community foundation. Ann is thoughtful, insightful, generous, and the community foundation has benefitted so much from her time and talent.

 

Tell us about your history in Boulder County.  

I have been in the City of Boulder since 1987. I was a "trailing spouse". My very first board appointment was the People's Clinic in 1989 where I chaired their very first large fundraiser with Frank Day and others. That was my introduction to Boulder's nonprofit community, and I've been "hooked" ever since.  

 

When and why did you first get involved with the community foundation? 

I joined the community foundation's board in 2001. Honestly, I can't remember who recommended me but it was definitely the place for me. I met Josie Heath, who was then the Executive Director. It was truly my good fortune as I learned so much from Josie. There was no "official" mentorship, but she soon became someone whose opinion I respected. She became (unknowingly to her) my mentor and a woman that I still to this day, have profound respect and admiration for. She is always there for me and has helped me navigate many situations. She truly was and is my shero. I loved the community foundation’s mission and the way we went about carrying it out. My time on the board was a special time in my life. Whoever brought me there, thank you!

 

What are your favorite memories serving on the community foundation Board of Trustees? 

When Libby Cook and Mike Gilliland came to a board meeting and announced that they were donating a million dollars to the community foundation for a challenge grant to kick off the Millennium Trust. Every person in Boulder (even children) were asked to donate their hourly wage to the trust. It was an exciting time! Boulder came through in a big way and everybody participated. I had never witnessed the kind of philanthropy demonstrating by Libby and Mike. I was blown away. I also was at a dinner for the community foundation when another family donated a large gift. I guess I marvel at people who give generously to help others.  

I had so many other memorable times on that Board, I met some of the best people in the world and watched a woman be an awesome leader.

I've always been fond of the community foundation staff and their dedication to the people of this community through their work. It’s been awesome to watch.

 

What do you do to stay involved since serving on the Board?

I try and attend as many of the Board alumni events as I can. I think the staff knows that they can call on me to do whatever they think I can be helpful with. I recently joined the Women’s Philanthropy Group who meet regularly to talk about giving. I'm in the process of working collaboratively with others to start a BIPOC Women's Fund at the community foundation.    

 

What inspired you to start a Donor-Advised Fund at the community foundation?

I always wanted to start one as I love to give (of my time and little finances). I sold a really big house and I had promised myself that if I ever got a big chunk of money, I would start a donor advised fund and that's what I did. It was very exciting to me. It's very small but it was really meaningful to me.

 

What do you tell your peers in the community about partnering with the community foundation?

I say do it. My friends, peers, associates all know that the community foundation has a special place in my heart and I encourage them to do what they can.

 

What gives you the most hope for the future of Boulder County? 

Where do I start? Honestly, I get dismayed sometimes in thinking that this beautiful place that I love so much is very homogenized. I don't know how we can fix that with the cost of living in Boulder. I don't even know if I can retire here and live at a similar standard of living. It saddens me to think that I might have to leave. This is my home. I have so many friends, acquaintances, colleagues. My daughter was born and raised here.

As with most people (I think), I'm counting on the generations behind me to make the differences that we've not been able to. I have to believe that there will be true equity in all arenas (education, health, criminal justice, workplace, etc.) I dream of a world where everyone is respected and loved. It really is that simple. If I care about you, I'm not going to do anything to harm you. I will always want the best for you. If you do well, so will I. I encourage you to be your best, reach the highest height and look out for others. Again, it's that simple. It really is.

 

What else would you like to add?

I am thrilled that there is now a woman of color, Tatiana Hernandez, leading the community foundation. The community foundation really practices what it preaches. I want us to all support her to help the community foundation be even better than it has ever been (though of course that’s hard to imagine) and to be an ally for her and for any future leader. That support and collaboration is part of what makes this community special – the symphony between the CEO, the board, and the wider community.

I also want to say that I love the Trends Report, published by the foundation. It indicates what the community needs. It’s such a special role for the community foundation to play. I hope there could be a new campaign about community giving soon, to build the Community Trust. I’d love to engage children in giving more and I think that the community foundation can help families foster that intergenerational giving of time and finances.

I look forward to watching the community foundation continue to evolve and I plan to support it however I can!