Click here to review a list of the Founding Trustees.
Click here to review a list of those who served as Chair of the Community Foundation's Board of Trustees. If you have information that will help our staff further develop this list, please contact us at (970) 224-3462.
The reputation of the Foundation has grown immensely through the years and is operating in a fashion never dreamed of in those formative years of the Foundation. Click here to read the two-page reflection document written by Bob.
When I finished two years of service as Board Chair, I looked back in amazement at all we accomplished during that time. The organization has embraced regional cooperation as a focus for convening initiatives, weathered the toughest economic downturn in decades, attracted new donors, grown our assets and funded new initiatives. My most pleasant memories come from working with the Foundation’s phenomenal staff and board. I am honored to have worked with a group of people so forward thinking and positive, and with an organization so proactive and productive.
My father, Karl Carson, often said, “When you leave this world, leave it a little better place.” He was a part of the group that spearheaded the creation of the Community Foundation. This group of ordinary citizens had a vision and a dream to benefit their community, and that has certainly been done. That dream lives on today and now includes a more regional focus for visioning and philanthropy, far beyond the founders’ original focus of one community arts center.
In the fall of 1975, the City of Fort Collins was a very different place --- a small college town of approximately 60,000 people on the verge of major growth. Mayor Karl Carson, pictured at right, and City leaders were making plans to turn the Lincoln Junior High School building into what we know today as the Lincoln Center, and a group of visionary citizens were actively planning for the future through an initiative called Designing Tomorrow Today (DT2).
Mayor Carson contacted Buford Plemmons, a Poudre School District administrator and community leader, to suggest the creation of a community foundation. There was a need for a nonprofit organization to collect charitable contributions for the creation of the new Lincoln Center. In addition, a local resident, Mrs. Olive Ludlow, had left a $25,000 bequest for a purpose that was somewhat unclear, and a community foundation would be an appropriate vehicle to receive the gift as well. With that telephone call from Mayor Carson to Buford Plemmons, pictured at left, the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado was born. Initially, the foundation was called the Fort Collins Community Foundation, but it later expanded to serve the Northern Colorado region.
Many of the founding trustees of the Community Foundation have passed away. Some have quietly retired from active community involvement, but some are still as visible and active in community affairs as ever. Their efforts illustrate that our generation, like all others, benefits from the hard work, dreams and investments of people we may never know and initiatives that have long been forgotten. (Pictured at right are founding trustees and spouses: Buford Plemmons, Ray Chamberlain, Bob Everitt, Charles Patchen, Emily Patchen, Margaret Webber, and Donald Webber.)
Today, the Community Foundation grants out millions of dollars each year and has grown to more than $70 million in assets --- investments that give back to our community year after year. A new generation of community leaders and donors has used the Community Foundation as a platform to launch and fund new initiatives such as UniverCity Connections, Homeward 2020, FortZED, the Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado, and the visionary Rialto Bridge Project, which is designed to be a catalyst for revitalization in Downtown Loveland.
The $25,000 bequest left by Mrs. Ludlow has given rise to a foundation that recently received a multi-million dollar bequest from Doyle and Luvesta Jones of Berthoud, pictured at left. Memorial funds, large and small, have been established to carry on the memory of loved ones. The Community Foundation has served as the infrastructure for building projects like Inspiration Playground and as the platform for launching new nonprofits like Project Smile and CHAMP. And all these years later, the Lincoln Center is undergoing a major renovation with the help of a distribution of almost $500,000 from the Community Foundation.
Foundations tend to have the special quality of helping us to honor our heritage while looking to the future. They encourage us to dream, to contemplate possibilities and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Most of what the Community Foundation does is very quiet and behind the scenes. The majority of people in our region may never even know it exists, but everyone in our community has been touched by its work and its many generous donors. Reflecting on what those founding trustees and donors initiated thirty-five years ago and the impact their efforts have had should be an encouragement to all of us in this season of giving. The only things that truly last are the ones we give away.
Take a trip down memory lane as you watch this video, which recognizes the vision and commitment of the founding trustees.