Leadership Fellows Spotlight: Matthew Jensen

Matthew (Matt) Jensen – a recent alumni of Leadership Fellows Boulder County, a joint leadership development and networking program of the Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber – believes in walking the talk. 

“Leadership Fellows strongly encourages its participants to join a board, run for office, support someone running for office, or otherwise engage in our community,” says the Broker Associate with WK Real Estate, the largest independently owned full-service real estate company in Boulder County. “I added ‘create impactful events’ to that list.”
Indeed, the Boulder native – and a Boulder High School grad – has made it an annual tradition to plan and host a fundraiser for a local nonprofit. On Oct. 28 at Wibby Brewing in Longmont, Matt’s 2nd Annual Halloween Party featured music, beer, games, crafts, a costume contest, and more – all benefitting your Community Foundation.
“As Leadership Fellows, we were constantly challenged to think about how we can be leaders in our community, and how we could contribute,” continues Matt. “I’m an action-oriented person, so I really took that call to heart. I wanted to put my money where my mouth is.”
He immediately engaged in several service projects – one a month, while he was still a Fellow – including volunteering for organizations like Bridge House, a foundation grantee, and other nonprofits represented by members of his Leadership Fellows class. 
Adds Matt, “One of the most important ways that Leadership Fellows impacted me is the many opportunities it provides to see things from others’ perspectives – be it different cultural perspectives, different gender perspectives, and many other points of view.
“Having grown up as a privileged white male here in Boulder, I realized I’d grown up with blinders on … and that we all see what we want to see. Through Leadership Fellows, I learned to see the challenges and opportunities of our community through others’ eyes, because of the issues they face as individuals and as families.
“For example, what I might have considered a challenge turned out to be very different than what a low-income Latino mother might worry about – like lack of Internet access for her kids, which means her kids may struggle in school, which contributes to the education gap. Leadership Fellows shines a light on the interconnectedness of the challenges we face as a community, as well as the community leaders, nonprofits, and agencies working to address them.”
Matt – who believes in leading by example – considers it his duty to give back. “That’s what I’m passionate about, and that’s what I want my legacy to be,” he says. “To be aware of the importance and value of equity, and to make an impact in the community I grew up in – and that I now call home – are very important to me. I want my 5-year-old daughter to have that awareness, too, and to understand the world from others’ points of view.”
Concludes Matt, “People here are generous with their time, but less so with their money. I can’t give very much money, but through the Halloween fundraising event, my efforts are connected to greater financial benefit for the foundation. I hope others will be inspired to take a page out of my book, to give back to our community.”