Broomfield’s Youth Advisory Committee donates raised money to humane society

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The Broomfield Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee got the taste of a real-world pitch last month in an effort to convince First Western Bank to match the committee’s donation to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.

The youth branch of the nonprofit works to support local organizations through its own fundraising, grant making and volunteering. The Youth Advisory Committee was eager to raise money for the humane society after learning the Broomfield Community Foundation had never donated money to an animal-related cause..

The committee raised $500 for the Boulder Valley Humane Society, money largely collected from selling concessions at the Broomfield Community Foundation’s Movie Under The Stars event in August. On Oct. 29, the committee presented to representatives from First Western Trust at the bank’s new Interlocken office space hoping the bank would match the committee’s donation.

To the committee’s surprise, First Western Trust matched the committee’s raised $500 at 150%, which meant the humane society received $1,250.

“The Youth Advisory Committee offers one of the only opportunities for young adults to manage fundraisers and do nonprofit work in the Broomfield area,” member and presenter Lily Alderfer said as part of the pitch to First Western Trust. She added the committee “is a great opportunity for young adults to learn the value of entrepreneurship and also philanthropy and the value of networking and making connections.”

Marcie Riley, right, of the Boulder Valley Humane Society, holds Ezra, the puppy, to help persuade the financial institution to match their original funds, which they did by 150%. Members of the Youth Advisory Committee convinced First Western Trust to match the committee’s grant to the Boulder Valley Humane Society. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Co-presenter and member Connor West said when the committee was looking through previous years of grant cycles, they learned no money was allocated for animal-related causes.

“And a big reason for this was that there was no humane society in Broomfield,” he said. “We looked to Boulder Valley and Boulder has a humane society that benefits both communities.”

An average of 350 pets are adopted to Broomfield houses each year from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Alderfer said.

The committee thought a pet-related fundraiser would be successful, “because everyone loves dogs.” But more than that, the committee researched the benefits having a pet can have on mental health, which they felt was especially important after living through a pandemic and having to go to high school online.

“There are very provable benefits to owning a pet in general,” West said. “The CDC has done a study that shows it decreases anxiety, decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increases cognitive function.”

In addition to researching the humane society, the committee researched First Western Trust and the similarities they share.

“We know that you value community giving and social responsibility,” Alderfer said. “And especially in a town like Broomfield that is so interconnected and growing, social responsibility is very important.”

West added the bank’s donation would target a new demographic and increase the bank’s exposure among the Broomfield Community Foundation’s network, and allow for collaboration with the humane society as well.

After the pitch, representatives from First Western Bank and the humane society were impressed with the committee’s preparedness and professionalism.

“The way you matched what’s important to you to what’s important to us is probably the most critical thing to do, and I think you did a really nice job doing that,” First Western Trust Director of Marketing Ted Gerbick said after the pitch.

Staff and board members of First Western Trust listen to the presentation. Members of the Youth Advisory Committee convinced First Western Trust to match the committee’s grant to the Boulder Valley Humane Society by 150%. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

The Youth Advisory Committee is a relatively new addition to the Broomfield Community Foundation, starting up last year.

“Last year, they talked about some of the areas that they were interested in supporting and animals was one of those areas. As the community foundation, this was all them, ” Broomfield Community Foundation Executive Director Marianna Williamson said of the committee’s pitch. “This is not only them learning about philanthropy, but us making sure that we are supporting areas that are important to them and discovering a new partnership. So, I’m thrilled that that’s what has come out of this.”

The Youth Advisory Committee is comprised of students in grades 9 through 12 who live or attend school in the Broomfield area. The committee participates in a needs assessment each year that allows members to identify problem in the community related to youth, as well as solutions, the committee’s webpage explains. The committee manages a small fund established by the Broomfield Community Foundation, raising additional money through fundraising events.

“The central role of a YAC is to recommend grants to be given out to local nonprofit and charitable organizations,” the webpage continues. “Members develop a grant making strategy with the guidance of the BCF staff and committee advisors. Grants are distributed to the chosen groups once per year.”

For additional information or to donate to the committee, visit