An interview with Jean Sutherland

What did your family learn from the experience of managing your own private foundation?

Having our own private foundation was a very new experience, and it provided an amazing and gratifying learning curve for us. We learned how much need there was for help and how much that help was appreciated. The obligation was always there to do it right, to be fair, and to be humble about it. We owed so much to our community, and to be able to give to it in return was a very wonderful feeling. In bringing our foundation into the Community Foundation to merge with our family donor advised fund, is a right and true feeling as well. It is not a change…it is an enhancement of what we were able to do privately.

Why did your family decide to convert your private foundation to a Donor Advised fund at the Community Foundation?

The fact that we have found a home for our foundation that will continue beyond our own lives is the most gratifying aspect of belonging to the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado family. It is not only that our fund will be a donor advised fund that allows us to continue our very personal involvement with the philanthropy that will come from it in future years, but that we so fully respect and believe in the institution that will be administering our donor advised dollars from here on out.

Jean, can you share your thoughts about your service on the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees?

I have been most privileged to serve on the Board of Trustees for the last few years. I have been so impressed by the dedication of both the board and the staff as I have gotten to know them and the mission they represent. I appreciated both the meticulousness of the financial operation and the evolution I have seen from that to a new vision of engagement with the community in initiating support for new and stimulating programs that will enhance our Northern Colorado community…..such great programs as UniverCity Connections, Homeward 2020, and the Colorado Conservation Exchange for our region. Colorado Conservation Exchange is an initiative close to my heart – the bringing together of our rural land stewards with our urban consumers to make true conservation work. What a lot our Community Foundation can do with great partners…an institution to be proud of and why we feel privileged to make our foundation part of it.