04.25.24

Donor Profile: Steven and Heidi Todd

Whether surrounded by the lakes and forests of their home state Minnesota, nestled in the mountains surrounding their first Colorado home in Estes Park, or strengthening the Boulder County community to take bold steps toward climate action, Steven and Heidi Todd have always found value in our natural environment. Learn more about Steven and Heidi, their experiences with the community foundation and the Environmental Affinity Group (EAG), and their vision for a flourishing Boulder County.  

 

Can you tell us about yourself and your history in Boulder County?

Our shared background — we are both native Minnesotans (and born three days apart!) — was predominantly Midwestern, but a vacation in the 90s led to series of rash and rewarding decisions to pull up stakes and become Coloradans, first in Estes Park and for the last 15 years in the wonderful community of Boulder. While Minnesota surrounded us with lakes, forests, and sweet people, what we found in Colorado has been all of that plus the added the benefits of elevation and year-round abundant sunshine!

 

How did you become involved with Community Foundation Boulder County?

Thanks to wise financial planning by Heidi’s parents, we became recipients of a philanthropic fund and learned of the benefits of donor advised funds at a community foundation. This led Steven to a term on the board at the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado (Ft. Collins) and being a part of organizing a newly formed branch in Estes Park. When we came to Boulder it was both natural and simple to move those funds here.

 

What are your interests in the environmental community and how did they build or change over time?

Writing this on Earth Day 2024, we’re mindful of being profoundly affected by the events of the environmental movement of the 60s and 70’s — oil spills, a river catching on fire, the now icon first picture of the earth from space, and the first Earth Day in 1970.

We have also been fortunate to have deep experiences in nature that helped motivate us to take environmental actions, from founding our Unitarian community’s Climate Action Ministry to engaging in national protest marches with our children and grandchildren.

This quote from Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 book Silent Spring (kindly reframe the gender-bias language!) sums up our approach: “Man's attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself. [We are] challenged as mankind has never been challenged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of ourselves."  

 

Why did you get involved with the EAG?

It seems obvious to us that our environment is degrading, rapidly, in our lifetimes, and action is needed. Climate Change activism is especially crucial, and also often discouraging. Being part of a group offers support and taking action is where we want to be.

 

Are there any particular EAG memories that stand out to you?

When we began learning about Regenerative Agriculture as a possible remedy for climate change, we were intrigued and when we learned that the Healthy Soils subgroup of the EAG was setting up a series of farm tours right here in Boulder County we enthusiastically signed up. Since then, we have learned a tremendous amount about a whole array of benefits to the land, the water, the soil, the farmers and people who eat for a living! This is an aspect of environmental and climate science that is incredibly hopeful and energizing and has taken us in a whole new direction for study and action.

 

What is your vision for the future of Boulder County?

Two exciting visions have been crystalizing for us. One about our land and another about our people.

Inspired by our predecessors who had the vision and the courage to launch the first in the nation municipal purchase of land to be preserved as open space, we dream of using the agricultural portions of that land, paid for and owned by both City and County citizens, as a model and test ground for ways to grow local food organically, sustainably, and regeneratively. That would be a bold step for a bold Boulder community.

So, our latest interest is to build and strengthen our community to take such bold steps by exploring concrete ways to increase our sense of belonging, solidarity and purpose. For us, Boulder has been a kind and friendly place to live out the best part of our lives, and we would love to see that spirit flourish and blossom in new and creative ways.