10.16.20

Donor-Advised Fundholders Spotlight: Michael Norton and Brett Hellman

For Michael Norton and Brett Hellman – both originally from the East Coast – life on Memory Lane in Longmont is idyllic.

 
“We lived in New York City for quite some time, then Chicago for work,” says Brett. “We came here on a whim, and fell in love with Colorado as soon as we’d stepped of the plane.”
 
Eager to get involved and make a difference – both locally and beyond – the duo established a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at Community Foundation Boulder County last year.
 
“We didn’t inherit anything, and we’re both working individuals,” says Michael. “But we have a good education, good jobs, and some means. And we feel a responsibility to make our community – and our world – a better place.
 
“Establishing a DAF at the Community Foundation helped us organize our giving. It’s efficient, and everyone we’ve worked with at the foundation has been great.”
 
Michael and Brett named their DAF “All Creatures Great and Small” to reflect their commitment to animal welfare. They plan to give about $50K annually, especially to nonprofits and movements focused on eliminating animal and human suffering.
 
“We care about animal rights, and rescuing domestic and farmed animals,” Brett says. “Our health and our environment – and legal advocacy and policymaking in these areas – are important to us, and inspire us.
 
“Science shows that plant-based eating is associated with longevity and quality of life. And from an environmental standpoint, animal agriculture is probably the single biggest contributor to deforestation…and therefore climate change.”
 

Michael Norton with a friend.

Michael Norton with a friend.

Michael Norton with friends.

Michael chimes in, “As the population of the world grows well beyond 7 billion, it’s not sustainable to feed everyone with meat. And there are other ways that don’t cause another sentient being to be born only to suffer and die.”
 
He concludes, “When you don’t have to worry about mortgage payments or having a car that runs or having a stable job – and you recognize how fortunate you are –, there’s a responsibility that comes with that.
 
“For us, there’s substantial happiness in making the world somehow better. That’s what gives us meaning.”