When Mary Lynne Hixson moved to Boulder in 2011, she looked for ways to be engaged with the community.
“When you’re new in town, you don’t know people,” she says. “So one of the first things I did as a parishioner of St. Thomas Aquinas on The Hill was to get involved on the board of the food pantry, which had just been granted nonprofit status.”
Indeed, the food pantries at St. Tom’s and Sacred Heart of Jesus joined forces in 2012 to better provide food assistance in Boulder. Harvest of Hope Pantry grew from a back-porch effort to an organized approach that wove together the volunteers and clients of the two church programs.
“The sole mission of the pantry is food assistance, offering clients healthy food options along with the opportunity to select preferred foods within our shopping allowances,” explains Mary Lynne. As a registered dietitian, she has a particular interest in food security as a basic need, having previously worked with a food pantry in Bristol, Rhode Island.
“I helped get Harvest of Hope going, both financially and by serving on the board. I first learned about the Community Foundation when we received a grant from them.”
While Mary Lynne continues to work with the pantry as a boots-on-the-ground volunteer, she also began exploring other local food-related nonprofits. “I looked at a lot of websites, including the Community Foundation’s website. Having a background in public health research, I was particularly impressed with the foundation’s data-driven approach to making informed decisions about what our community’s needs are – and the most effective programming to help meet those needs.”
In particular, Mary Lynne cites the foundation’s biennial TRENDS Report as a valuable resource in getting familiar with who we are as a community. “For me, TRENDS validated that the Community Foundation is a good place to make donations if you want to make a difference in Boulder County. I see the foundation as an excellent steward of our money.
“The Community Foundation is very mature as an organization, well-organized and transparent. I feel confident about the way they use the money that’s given to them by continually measuring impact and outcomes.”
Besides her strong feelings about the value of healthy foods to help keep people out of emergency rooms, Mary Lynne says her faith is also a driver behind her civic participation and giving. [Learn more about why we give in TRENDS.]
“I believe we’re responsible for others in the community,” she says. “That’s important to me as a value. When someone needs assistance with food, we must get involved in making it available.”
As such, with her inheritance upon her mother’s death, Mary Lynne has budgeted quarterly donations through her Schwab Donor-Advised Fund, including support to the Community Foundation and Harvest of Hope Pantry – as well as Community Food Share and Boulder Food Rescue, both grantees of the Community Foundation.
Learn more about ways to give in Boulder County.