Karen Smith, Executive Director of the Broomfield Community Foundation retires – Mentor to Melissa Tumblin of the Ear Community Organzation

Broomfield Community Foundation’s Karen Smith talks with Tom Currigan Senior Director with Kaiser Permanente, who has been a sponsor of Heart of Broomfield for more than 10 years, during the annual Heart of Broomfield Awards banquet on Monday at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

Karen Smith, Executive Director of the Broomfield Community Foundation, is retiring this fall.  Karen was my mentor who guided me and taught me how to run a nonprofit organization, how to run our Ear Community Organization. I will never forget the day when I met with her to tell her about my passion for wanting to start a nonprofit organization (in 2011) and about the cause that I wanted to support for children and adults who have Microtia and Atresia. Karen loved what I was trying to do and agreed to run it past the Broomfield Community Foundation’s board of directors to see if the Foundation would be interested in awarding a fiscal sponsorship.  The board and Karen then invited me to present to the board of BCF and they loved what I was trying to do and all agreed to give me a chance at being their very first fiscal sponsor where Ear Community would be taken under their wing and guided as a nonprofit organization, being offered 501c3 status.  After helping carry the Ear Community Organization under your wing Karen, for four years until my organization became it’s own 501c3, thank you for all that you did to help me with Ear Community, for understanding my passion for wanting to help people, and for believing in me and my organization’s cause! I would not have been able to do this without your help and to have gotten Ear Community to where it is today.

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“After 14 years at the helm, Karen Smith is stepping down as executive director of the Broomfield Community Foundation.”She’s a remarkable person and I don’t think we’ll replace her,” Foundation Board of Directors President Bruce Erley said. “I think we’ll find someone to fill the position, but she can’t be replaced.”

The Foundation was established in 1993.

Smith is incredibly tuned in to the community needs, he said.

“She’s so integrated into the community in every way,” Erley said, “and wears the Foundation on her sleeve.”

Erley announced the retirement at Monday night’s Heart of Broomfield Awards ceremony.

A search team to look for a new director began last fall, he said, and the group hopes to have the job description completed this month. The team, made up of past and present board members, will interview candidates in June and July.

Smith will help the new director for a month or so to transition into the position, and will be on-call the rest of the year.

Janell Daly, the Foundation’s administrative assistant, will remain on staff.

Smith and Erley called Daly a valuable asset to the Foundation.

Losing someone like Smith means losing a tremendous amount of cultural history, Erley said, and Daly carries a lot of that institutional knowledge..

Smith, who has been asked for years when she’ll participate, will compete in this September’s Dancing with the Broomfield Stars as a send-off. A few weeks after that performance will be her last day as director.

Carina Martin, founder and CEO of A Precious Child, remembers when the Foundation awarded the nonprofit its first grant.

“On the day of the reception, I walked up sobbing,” Martin said. “I thought ‘someone believes in me and my organization and the work we’re going to do.’ I just lost it.”

Smith, she said, has been a longtime friend and someone who cares deeply about children.

“She’s always there for you,” Martin said. “She’s one of the kindest people I know.”

Smith will spend her retirement working with her husband in his part-time handyman business and will have time to volunteer around Broomfield.

She said it has been her pleasure to work with the various board and committee members, and witness their dedication to the Foundation and to Broomfield.

The rebranding process the Foundation rolled out last year was an “excellent continuation of the board’s strategic planning process that resulted in a message for the Foundation that we can be united in telling,” she said.

“Our tagline, ‘One Community. Many Hearts. Unlimited Impact,’ says it very well,” she said. “We are a leading voice of philanthropy for Broomfield.”

She is proud that three years ago the Foundation moved to a complete online grant application process that makes it easier for non-profits to plan and more efficient for the grant committee to review applications and see final reports.

The Foundation reached $1 million in its Legacy Partners endowment fund in 2013. Their next goal is to raise $2 million by 2020.

“I so appreciate the donors to the Foundation and hope they continue with their support and that we continue to get our message to the community to expand our donor base and build our Legacy endowment fund,” she said.”

Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, riosj@broomfieldenterprise.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios

You will be missed Karen, but I will never forget your help, kindness, knowledge, and generosity.  Thank you for helping me with Ear Community and for understanding my need to help children and adults who have Microtia and Atresia all over the world.
– Melissa Tumblin
Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community
(a Broomfield, Colorado headquartered 501c3 charity organization)
About Melissa Tumblin

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