Former Boulder Rotarian Chris Barge introduced the Community Foundation for Boulder County's biannual Trends Report, the flagship resource for planning the Foundation’s work.
Past President, Carol Grever introduced former Boulder Rotarian Chris Barge, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Community Foundation Boulder County.  Among other responsibilities, Chris directs and edits the biannual Trends Report, the flagship resource for planning the Foundation’s work.  He noted the Foundation has served Boulder County for the past 26 years, providing grants and data, information and research to inform leadership on key community issues.  They track 150 indicators of Boulder County’s social, economic and environmental health.

The Trends Report demonstrates Boulder County has become a more diverse community.  In fact, one in four Boulder County residents identifies as a person of color.  Yet, Chris noted, only four of our county’s 108 elected officials are people of color.  Another critical shift is our aging population as people are living 65% longer.  The Trends Report focuses on six key themes:  education, health and human services, the economy and housing, the environment, arts and culture, civic participation and giving.
A highly educated community, Boulder County has experienced a 6-year high in high school graduations and is home to twice the national average of people with bachelor’s degrees.  However, Boulder County is also home to one of the state’s largest achievement gaps between Latino and Anglo students.
 
In terms of health and human services, the Medicaid population has more than doubled since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect and Colorado’s participation in its Medicaid Expansion Program.  Teen pregnancy rates have dropped by 50%.  Sadly, however, our suicide rate is higher than the national average with 30 deaths per year due to the opioid addiction epidemic.
 
Our cost of living remains high.  In fact, it takes an annual income of $75,906 for a family of four to meet the self-sufficiency standard in Boulder County.  By comparison, the standard is $51,341 in Pueblo County.  One third of homeless in Boulder County have a college education and fifteen hundred children had one episode of homelessness.
 
As a community, we pride ourselves on being good stewards of the environment.  Yet 77% of workers solo commute to work.  Only 4% of our population use public transit.  Boulder County residents consume 81 gallons of water per day which is slightly below the national average.  We love our access to bountiful, natural, outdoor resources.  However not everyone, particularly Latinos, benefit from these resources.
 
Boulder County is considered an “arts cluster.”  Boulder’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations generate nearly $70 million and provide more than 1,800 jobs with a total of nearly $48 million in income for households.  Yet, the average income for artists is less than $24,000 per year; so it is difficult for artists to sustain their livelihoods.
 
In terms of civic participation and giving, the data indicates we are least open to minorities, immigrants and seniors.  Yet, we have a strong volunteer orientation and are twice as likely to volunteer as the national average.  And while we are more likely to tax ourselves to improve our community, we give on average just 2.72% of our adjusted gross annual income or $3,052.
 
Chris concluded his presentation by asking, “How will you give back?  What can you do to make a difference?  The Community Foundation believes the answer is, “A LOT.”