Since freshman year of high school, Atiya Hasan has been engaged with Community Foundation Boulder County. Raised in Boulder County, Atiya has learned about philanthropy and community engagement through three unique community foundation opportunities: 15 Forever, Community Trust, and an internship with the development team this past summer! We can all learn from Atiya through her journey as we continue to chart our own, especially her philosophy and approach to equity. Atiya is not just our future—Atiya is now!
How are you affiliated with the Boulder County community?
I am a senior at Fairview High School and I’ve lived in Boulder County my entire life. I’ve always been active with advocacy in our community and have been involved with the community foundation for several years now.
Tell us how you first became involved with the community foundation.
My first experience with the community foundation was when I joined 15 Forever in my freshman year of high school. I applied for the program wanting to learn more about the field of philanthropy and meet passionate intelligent peers. The experience and success of my first year in the program motivated me to apply again as a member of the Executive Committee—from there I kept going!
What would you tell a high schooler considering 15 Forever?
15 Forever is an amazing opportunity to begin developing the skills that will help you in every field. 15 Forever taught me to be a stronger communicator, organizer, and team member. My first year on the board we were able to fundraise $10,000 through pitching and community fundraising. This experience directly helped me fundraise for my debate team at school and organize incredible events like Out Boulder County’s Night of Noise. 15 Forever planted the seeds for incredible experiences throughout my high school career and enhanced my connection with the Boulder community.
As a young person in our community, tell us about your experience as a Community Trust reviewer.
Community Trust is one of my favorite community foundation projects and I love being a member of its committees. I’m often the only youth on CT committees but my perspective informs our decisions in valuable ways. The core of the 15 Forever program is fundraising for issues that affect young people, and as a BIPOC LGBT youth I think my perspective is especially unique. All of the community members who are involved with Community Trust bring valuable knowledge and I’ve found my own experiences balance our decisions well. The impact that Community Trust has cannot be understated!
This summer you interned with Community Foundation Boulder County. What inspired you to want to do this work? What did you learn from experience?
My experience this summer as a Development Intern at the community foundation was fantastic. I was drawn to the internship because I have always loved the goals of the foundation and I knew my computer science experience would fit perfectly on the development team. Almost all of the projects I worked on were collaborative, meaning teamwork was essential. I became a stronger communicator and learned invaluable skills during the roll out of our improved donor portal. I also learned about finance. The community foundation works closely with Elliot Forsyth at Ascent Wealth Partners and I was able to learn under him what it meant to invest well and what philanthropy looks like from the top down. Most of all, all of the community foundation team works incredibly hard to make a huge difference in our community. Working with them taught me about my values and what a compassionate environment looks like.
As you become a donor to our community, what philosophy holds true for you?
Becoming a donor, although a very limited one, means investing in equity first and foremost. Organizations like Community Foundation Boulder County have always focused on elevating marginalized groups and investing directly into those communities. I wholeheartedly believe philanthropy that focuses on equity is much more important, and personally my community work always recognizes principles of mutual aid rather than just charity. Tackling unjust systems through philanthropy also requires direct actions.
As a high schooler dedicated to the community in which you live, what is the one thing you would like more community members to know about our community?
Youth in the Boulder community are severely underestimated. So many of my peers are doing incredible work in the community and just need the platforms and support to create change. Programs like 15 Forever have given me and so many other passionate youth a way to get real money and consequently create long term change. Boulder community members working with youth would initiate more positive development.