Planting the Seed for Ag Education

When Bob Bee graduated high school, he started working with the Larimer County Farm Bureau, an organization his father helped to start in 1951. After World War II, the Farm Bureau became involved at the county level when some farmers decided they wanted to form a county farm bureau group to bring specific issues to the legislature to solve current problems and avoid new issues.

Bob started working with the Larimer County Farm Bureau, where they had a group specifically for the next generation of farmers. They would work with kids, most of which were college-aged, to help them learn how to present any current issues in their farming communities to the legislature. By getting the younger generations involved, the Farm Bureau was helping to highlight the importance of farming in the communities and teaching valuable skills farmers needed to get the legislature’s support and listen to their needs.

In 2020, the Larimer County Farm Bureau sold the organization’s building, which Bob and his wife, LeeAnn Bee, used to start the Larimer County Farm Bureau Fund, a component fund at the NoCo Foundation. The Larimer County Farm Bureau Board of Directors (The Board) determines where the money in this fund goes, and for years their biggest priority has been agricultural education for kids.

When Bob and LeeAnn got married in 2002, most children in school were one to two generations away from a farm, meaning their grandparents or an aunt or uncle had a farm. Today, school-aged children are five to six generations away from a farm, leaving many of them with little understanding of what a farm actually provides.

“Now, most children truly believe that their food comes from a grocery store and chocolate milk comes from brown cows,” LeeAnn said.

Because of these startling realizations, The Board partners with the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture (CFA), which runs the Colorado Ag in the Classroom program. Through this larger program, there are different educational programs, which are supported by the Larimer County Farm Bureau Fund.

One of these educational programs is the Colorado Reader, an eight-page student activity newspaper that goes out four to five times during the school year to third, fourth, and fifth graders in Poudre Schools District as well as half of the schools in Thompson Valley School District. These papers cover everything from food to fiber to plants, teaching kids about where their clothes, food, and other items come from, and giving them a basic understanding of what farmers and ranchers do for our communities.

“The beauty of the Colorado Readers is that it also gets agricultural entities to help the CFA write the material. So, the Colorado Corn Growers do the corn one, the Colorado Beef Council does the beef one, etc.,” LeeAnn said.

Along with the Colorado Readers, Colorado Ag in the Classroom also has a literacy project they do every year, which The Board also helps support through their fund. Each class that signs up gets a copy of the book and an activity that goes with the book. The book chosen for the coming year will be Cattle, Corn, and Courage – The Stoy of Dr. John Matsushima.

Last year, the literacy program reached about 375 classrooms and increased to 500 classrooms this year. The goal for this coming year is to reach 750 classrooms, helping even more students learn about the importance of agriculture.

The final program that the Larimer County Farm Bureau Fund helps support is the Summer AgriCULTURE Institute. Teachers attend a week-long program where they learn how to implement agriculture in their classroom in all subjects while earning continuing education credits. The teachers return to the classroom in the fall and help children learn about agriculture through math, history, reading, and more.

These programs have been a successful way of getting agricultural education to kids and allowing them to learn more about what farmers and ranchers provide to our communities. The goal now is to keep money in the Larimer County Farm Bureau Fund so it can continue to support the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture to keep the educational programs functional in Larimer County.

“The board feels that it [Colorado Ag in the Classroom Program] is one of the best ways and the easiest way of getting Ag to kids. Otherwise, it’s a lot of work and you don’t reach a lot of kids. This is reaching a lot of kids,” Bob said.

As society changes and communities grow, it is typical that we drift away from our agricultural roots, but that doesn’t mean kids and adults, shouldn’t gain a basic understanding of the significance of agriculture in our communities and what farmers and ranchers do. By giving kids an understanding of this basic information, they can grow up to become better leaders who make better decisions for the community as a whole. This is a thought process that the NoCo Foundation agrees with wholeheartedly. We are all about addressing today’s issues and stewarding resources for the next generation.

Along with donations to the Larimer County Farm Bureau Fund to help keep the Ag in the Classroom programs alive in Poudre and Thompson Valley School Districts, the Larimer County Farm Bureau is also in search of new board members. If you or someone you know are interested in joining and supporting the farmers of Larimer County, reach out to Bob Bee at (970)227-2943 or

Swift Snippets: NoCo Foundation Updates

2015 Give Next Philanthropy Day


Our friends at the Bohemian Foundation run a program for school-aged children in Poudre School District, Thompson School District, and Estes Park School District. This program is called GiveNext.

GiveNext is a school-based youth grantmaking program that empowers young students, fosters their understanding of the vital role they play in strengthening their local community, and teaches them about the power of philanthropy.

There are currently 33 schools that participate in this program, allowing students to make a huge impact on our communities by granting money to local nonprofits. This year, students awarded a total of $192,004 to 40 Larimer County nonprofits! While this program teaches students a variety of important lessons, it also allows nonprofits to continue to make a regional impact.

Learn more about the program and who the students chose to grant to this year!


An easy way to give to nonprofits with a specific need in Colorado is through Next with Kyle Clark’s Word of Thanks micro-giving campaigns. Word of Thanks features a different nonprofit each week that you can donate to or set up monthly, recurring payments to continue supporting the nonprofits featured on Word of Thanks.

At the end of May, Word of Thanks featured a Northeastern Colorado nonprofit that has a fund with the NoCo Foundation — Cooperating Ministry of Logan County. This food bank, serving Logan County, allows families to stop by four times a year to stock up on food for the entire month.

Through the Word of Thanks campaign, the Colorado community raised $12,000 to help the Logan County food bank purchase a commercial-sized generator that will keep refrigerated and frozen foods good if a power outage were to occur, ensuring that they can continue to provide to families even in a crisis.

This week, another Northeastern Colorado nonprofit is being featured on Next’s Word of Thanks micro-giving campaign! The Family Resource Center in Sterling works to strengthen families through parenting classes for moms, dads, and even for grandparents who find themselves raising their grandchildren. Their goal is to set at-risk kids and their parents up for success and provide them with the resources to overcome challenges they may face. You can help support the Family Resource Center and their cause by donating through the Word of Thanks campaign!

Kristin Todd testifying in Washington D.C.


Last month, our very own President and CEO, Kristin Todd, flew to Washington D.C. to join leaders from 16 other U.S. community foundations to testify at a hearing that was held to gather public input on proposed regulations to donor advised funds.

This article from the Community Foundation Awareness Initiative highlights that the proposed rules are designed to tighten governance of donor advised funds to ensure their activities benefit nonprofits rather than donors. The community foundation leaders came together to explain that these new regulations would do the opposite and put unnecessary burdens on community foundations and their donors and discourage the type of donor engagement that helps support informed giving.

“It was truly inspiring to witness this remarkable group of community foundation leaders from across the country come together to preserve our ability to serve donors with the flexibility needed to achieve the greatest community impact. Being part of such a special group was an honor,” said Kristin Todd.

Community foundations across the country work hard to help donors make a bigger impact in their communities. These new regulations would negatively impact the work community foundations do, no matter how big or small the communities they serve may be.

While the outcome of this hearing is still unclear, the community foundation representatives did a great job highlighting the importance of our work and how these new rules would harm that work. You can read the public hearing transcript here.


Do you want to learn more about our region’s complex water issues and join in the conversation with other community leaders? The Colorado Water Center, in partnership with the NoCo Foundation, offers the Water Literate Leader program that empowers individuals to meet the ever-changing water needs of our communities.

The 2024-2025 Water Literate Leader application is now open! Learn more about the program and what is offered and be sure to apply before July 19, 2024!


Looking for an excuse to get your favorite people together? Consider co-hosting a Philanthropy Social with the NoCo Foundation.

Whether it’s a backyard BBQ, a rooftop soirée, or a cozy coffee gathering, we welcome the opportunity to build community while spreading the word about our mission to inspire philanthropy and engage our region.

Philanthropy Socials are NOT fundraising events. These social gatherings are intended to raise awareness of the Foundation’s work and to invite conversation on how individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofit organizations can be strategic in their philanthropy.

Sound like a fun and unique opportunity to get involved? Email and let’s make this happen!


Are you an emerging philanthropist seeking to create meaningful impact in Northern Colorado? Consider NoCo Changemakers, a NextGen Philanthropy Program designed to empower the next generation of changemakers.

What You’ll Gain:

  • Comprehensive knowledge of philanthropy and strategic giving.
  • A powerful network of like-minded peers for meaningful collaboration.
  • An ignited passion for community engagement and leaving a lasting legacy.
  • Opportunities for intergenerational investment and collaborative grantmaking.

Learn more about the program and apply today!


On July 9, the NoCo Foundation participated in a team workshop hosted by GG Johnston and Gavin Gladson from Downstream Partners. During this workshop, we discussed our team’s Emergenetics® profiles, how these profiles can be used to work more collaboratively with other members of the staff, how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the world and our work, and so much more!

This educational workshop helped shine a light on different barriers, allowing us to focus on how to grow and evolve, continue to make progress and be productive in our work, and help the community.

The next step for the NoCo Foundation staff is to take the Enneagram assessment to dive even deeper into understanding ourselves and how we can work better together to work better for the community!


Through its grantmaking, the NoCo Foundation aims to drive impact on issues facing our growing region, as defined in our Northern Colorado Intersections Report. The NoCo Foundation’s discretionary and responsive grantmaking specifically focuses on issues identified in the Sheltering & Caring and Connecting intersections.

Funding Priority Areas:

Community Foundation Grantmaking – Community Funds

At the NoCo Foundation, we seek to ensure these limited dollars are impactful. We believe we can drive greater impact through two grant programs: Intersections Grants and Community Grants.

Intersections Grants:

At least half of the funding available to each Community Fund will be dedicated to 1-3 larger general support grants to organizations working on issues outlined in the Sheltering & Caring and Connecting Intersections. A Letter of Intent will be part of the Intersection Grant process. The LOI is open in the grant portal until July 25th.

Community Grants:

A portion of each Community Fund’s funding will be available through a streamlined Community Grant process. These grants will range from $2,500 – $5,000 (if you have a smaller, discreet funding need, please reach out to to discuss) and can be for general support, program, or project funding.

Both of these grants will have applications open on August 5, 2024, and will close on August 30, 2024.


The Loveland Generations Fund will accept grant proposals from July 1-26 for projects and organizations benefiting Loveland residents. Preference will be given to proposals that specifically serve Loveland youth and people experiencing homelessness. Loveland Generations has been supporting the community through impactful grants for 24 years. To apply for a grant from this fund, visit our website.


Join local attorney Lisa Larsen and the NoCo Foundation for an enlightening webinar on the Priorities and Pitfalls of Estate Planning. Discover the critical priorities and potential pitfalls of estate planning, and gain insights into why having a will is essential—including eye-opening statistics and an overview of the probate process. Hear inspiring stories of individuals who have integrated charitable components into their estate plans and learn about the most effective vehicles to use. Explore how the NoCo Foundation can support you and your advisors in creating meaningful charitable giving plans. Don’t miss this opportunity to take concrete steps toward securing your legacy and supporting causes that matter to you!

Legal Developments We’re Watching (So You Don’t Have To!)

As your go-to resource for charitable giving techniques, the NoCo Foundation team pays close attention to best practices in addressing the broad range of your clients’ charitable intentions to support near-term and long-term community needs. This includes tracking legal developments that could broadly impact philanthropy, specific giving vehicles, and everything in between.

For example, we pay attention to the IRS’s plan to increase audits of wealthy taxpayers so that our team is better positioned to help you and your clients understand the requirements of valuing gifts to charity. We’re also gearing up to help you and your clients incorporate charitable giving vehicles as a way to blunt the potential impact of the anticipated estate tax exemption sunset.

Another issue at the forefront of philanthropy is the IRS’s proposed regulations of donor advised funds. Our own President and CEO, Kristin Todd, participated in the U.S. Treasury public hearings in early May. It was inspiring to hear so many community foundation leaders share their recommendations, urging that any new regulations do not disrupt the positive and productive working relationships between community foundations and advisors helping their clients achieve philanthropic goals. You can review the public hearing transcript here.

At this point, no one can predict what will happen with the proposed regulations—whether and how they will be revised or when they might become effective, if ever. As always, our team is staying on top of the issues, and we will keep you informed.

Of course, a donor advised fund is just one of many types of funds your clients can establish at the NoCo Foundation. We offer donor advised funds, endowment funds, field-of-interest funds, scholarship funds, designated funds, and a wide range of planned giving and legacy options for clients wanting to invest in the community’s long-term needs.

Donor advised funds are popular because they allow your client to make a tax-deductible transfer of cash or marketable securities that is immediately eligible for a charitable deduction. The client can then recommend gifts to favorite charitable causes from the fund to meet community needs as they emerge.

What’s especially rewarding for our team is to work with professional advisors and their clients to explore a diversified portfolio of giving vehicles. It’s possible a client’s portfolio would include a donor advised fund, in addition to one or more of a variety of other tools, such as a bequest, unrestricted gift, charitable trust, and endowment gift. Above all, we are confident in our ability to work collaboratively with you and other advisors for years to come to help fulfill your clients’ philanthropic wishes. Thank you for the opportunity to work together!

The team at the NoCo Foundation is a resource and sounding board as you serve your philanthropic clients. We understand the charitable side of the equation and are happy to serve as a secondary source as you manage the primary relationship with your clients. If you have questions or want to know more about how our team can help you, reach out at