Community Partner Profile: Margery Goldman

Margery Goldman brings her full heart and mind to everything she does. Whether she is skiing, writing, organizing events, or funding pressing local and global issues, she is an inspiration to everyone who knows her. For decades, she has had her finger on the pulse of Boulder County issues, as well as pressing national and international issues. She truly inspires us all to be more engaged community members. The Community Foundation is honored to celebrate Margery as a true partner over so many years. Margery’s own words describe her journey the best below.

How did you get to know the Community Foundation Boulder County?

It was 2001 - I had just moved from Denver to Boulder and finally (at 52!) gotten married. My husband and I both wanted to become more engaged in local philanthropy and decided a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) would be the route to take. Since we both came from Denver though, we weren't sure whether to set up a fund in Denver or in Boulder. One meeting with Josie Heath (the longtime President of the Community Foundation Boulder County) and the decision was made. The Community Foundation Boulder County was our new home. We knew that this was the community we wanted to invest in.

Why a Donor-Advised Fund? Why at the Community Foundation?

The tax benefits to a Donor-Advised Fund need no explanation. But why set one up at the Community Foundation rather than at Schwab or at another institutional option? Two reasons: we wanted to invest locally and we wanted to invest strategically. With its deep knowledge of Boulder County, the Community Foundation's staff knows the needs of our community as well as the strengths and capacities of the many individual organizations meeting those needs. Without that fundamental knowledge, there was no way we could be strategic with our local grant making. Based on that core belief, we usually gave unrestricted gifts so that the people doing the work could decide where they needed it most.

How do you think about engaging your family in philanthropy?

With both my grandchildren and godchildren, I've been very engaged in encouraging their philanthropy. At the Community Foundation, I had a wonderful experience with Margaret Katz (former staffer and current philanthropic advisor in Boulder) teaching my godson Raphael about philanthropy.

After an initial consultation with Margaret, I met with (then) 10 year old Raphael to see if he might be interested in learning how to financially support causes that interested him. When he gave an enthusiastic "YES!", I met again with Margaret to decide how much money was appropriate for a (then) 10 year old, first--time donor. With the amount decided, Margaret took it on!

Margaret had several meetings at the Community Foundation with Raphael to help him think through what causes most interested him. Once they narrowed it down to three, Raphael, being Raphael, decided that he wanted to interview the director of each organization so he could better understand how his grant would be used. With a set of questions in hand, he met with each director and was so impressed with two of the three that he decided to split his grant in half. Raphael is now 24 and still talks about how formative that experience was for him.

What was a pivotal point in your philanthropic journey?

Not too long after setting up our DAF at the Community Foundation, a friend from Denver called and said she'd like to come up and talk with me about an organization she belonged to that might interest me. That organization was the Women Donors Network (WDN), a group of (now) about 250 progressive women philanthropists connecting, learning, and taking action to create a more just, equitable and sustainable world. That year, WDN's annual conference was in Santa Fe—an easy trip, but I was hesitant to go. My husband Marvin and I were waiting to hear if he would be accepted into a heart transplant program in LA. Obviously, he was not well and I was concerned about leaving him. He, however, insisted that I go.

The conference was overwhelming. Everyone appeared to be so knowledgeable, so strategic in

their grantmaking. I was definitely in over my head!

I came home and Marvin asked, "So how was it?"

"Oh my god," I said. " Everyone was so savvy, so strategic. I hadn't even heard of most of the organizations they were funding! I don't belong there."

Marvin thought for a moment and then in his ever-brilliant way said, "What do you think? They were born knowing that? They weren't born with that in their heads. They learned it. And, you can too. I need you to...." And that began my journey with WDN where I am now on the Board and involved with a number of the grantmaking initiatives.

Where are you philanthropically investing these days?

While the Women Donors Network is more national in scope, locally, I have been deeply involved with Naropa University, and continue to fund a scholarship in my husband's name there. I am a founding supporter of Motus Theater, the local, now nationally-acclaimed theater group using storytelling to facilitate dialogue on critical issues of our time. And, of course, more important than ever with the overturning of Roe v Wade, Boulder Valley Women’s Health is also at the top of my grantee list.

This of course is in addition to my annual gifts to the Community Foundation's General Fund. Those gifts, along with my Legacy gift, will help to continue the work of the Community Foundation Boulder County. In so many ways, it is the arms of this Foundation that wrap around us - sharing the bounty of those with privilege, holding in those so close to the edge. It is the glue that binds us together.

Through these most recent years of crisis after crisis in our county, the Community Foundation’s role has proven to us all why we need to nurture it day-in-and-day-out. I give knowing my gifts are helping to strengthen its ability to address current needs and to anticipate those of the future.