Tatiana Hernandez, the CEO of Community Foundation Boulder County, was recently named among BizWest’s Top 50 Most Influential Business Leaders.
The honorees were chosen from businesses, organizations, agencies and hospitals across the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado after an online nomination and voting process that was open to the public.
Hernandez is known for managing extensive fundraising efforts for the Marshall fire, which destroyed nearly 1,000 homes in Boulder County.
The CEO said she’s driven by her passion for her local community.
“I moved to Boulder County in 2015, and I instantly fell in love,” Hernandez said. “This was a sense of home and belonging like which I’ve never experienced before, and I quickly realized if there’s anywhere in the United States where real change can happen, it’s a community where people genuinely care about each other — we don’t always have to agree, and we’re not homogenous, but we genuinely and sincerely care about each other.”
Hernandez describes her fellow Boulder County community members as “accessible, open and reasonable.”
“That really drew me to say, ‘OK what’s possible here and how can we harness that possibility?”
Before she joined the Community Foundation Boulder County as CEO in 2020, Hernandez served as president of the Emily Griffith Foundation, senior program officer at the Kresge Foundation and arts director for the Hemera Foundation.
Hernandez was also named a 40 Under 40 honoree by the Denver Business Journal in 2020.
A native Spanish speaker, Hernandez grew up in Miami, and understands the importance of representation.
“As a first-generation Latina born to a Cuban father and Colombian mother, I was fortunate to grow up in places where people looked like me — people in leadership looked like me; my teachers looked like me. So my sense of belonging was never in question,” she said.
“I had an amazing grandmother who also instilled in me what I call ‘the audacity of belonging’ — she made sure that I understood that I belonged wherever I was.”
Hernandez sends that message of belonging to young people whenever she can.
“Particularly young people of color, who maybe don’t see a lot of reflection of themselves in their leaders — I would encourage them to have the audacity of belonging — they can give it to themselves,” she said.
The community foundation — which has been Boulder County’s philanthropic partner for more than three decades — manages more than $130 million in assets, which includes donor-advised funds, agency endowments and discretionary funds.
Her position with the foundation suits her community vision, she said.
“A lot of my career was spent in private philanthropy, which in a lot of ways does not have the kind of accountability that community foundations do,” she explained. “We’re not endowed by an individual’s wealth — we are a collective of many donors and many stakeholders, who, together, find a way forward.”
The top 50 honorees will be celebrated during BizWest’s Book of Lists Launch Party, which is scheduled from 4-6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Grace Place, 375 Meadowlark Drive, in Berthoud.