Click here to learn about Bohemian Foundation’s COVID-19 response. Initiatives include the NoCo Music Relief Fund and the Feeding Our Community program. Muse, Community Event Fund, Music Event Fund and Pharos Fund continue to operate.

Press Room - Bohemian Foundation

Bohemian Foundation's Communications Department is ready to assist members of the media, as well as grantees interested in publicizing their awards.

Larimer County Youth Kick Off Year of Giving Oct. 2

More than 225 Larimer County middle and high school students and 30 local nonprofits will gather on Oct. 2 to kick off their participation in Give Next, a year-long program designed to teach students about giving and the important roles nonprofits play in our community.

The Oct. 2 Give Next event, called Philanthropy Day, will include speakers, a nonprofit fair, a nonprofit career panel and workshops led by nonprofit staff. The event will provide students with information about community issues and nonprofits, and about ways they can contribute to their community. After Philanthropy Day, participating students launch into a year-long curriculum through Give Next.

Give Next is a school-based youth philanthropy program that offers middle and high school students experience with the power of teamwork, the impact they can have on their community and the rewards of giving. Through the program, local businesses, foundations and individuals become classroom donors by providing each participating school in the Poudre and Thompson Valley School Districts with $5,000 to award to Larimer County nonprofits. With the financial support of these donors, students design and manage their own grantmaking programs. Students work together to identify community needs, choose a focus area, create their own mission statement, research nonprofits, volunteer, conduct site visits, review grant applications and make funding decisions. Students also can create and manage their own fundraising campaigns to add to the original $5,000. At the end of the school year, students award grants to selected nonprofits.

Give Next is a partnership of community volunteers and organizations that include Bohemian Foundation, the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, Poudre School District, Thompson School District and the Give Next Advisory Committee. To learn more about Give Next, visit

Note to editors: Reporters are welcome to attend Philanthropy Day. To attend, please call June Greist at 970-481-4361. The event will run 9:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Oct. 2 at Timberline Church, 2908 S. Timberline Road, Fort Collins.


Bohemian Foundation Grant Supports New Stage in Old Town Square

The Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority today announced that Bohemian Foundation provided a $200,000 grant to support a new entertainment stage in the city’s Old Town Square.

“The Downtown Development Authority Board is pleased to accept the generous Bohemian Foundation grant on behalf of the Old Town Square renovation project,” said Matt Robenalt, Executive Director of the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority. “The Old Town Square renovations have included the installation of new amenities our community will enjoy for another 30-50 years, and the stage is an integral part of the Old Town Square experience. Thanks to Bohemian’s grant, we’re able to build a multi-use stage that will feature quality sound, lighting and electrical equipment.”

The new stage is part of a broader renovation project that is slated for completion in October. The stage, which anchors the north side of the Old Town Square plaza, replaces a smaller stage constructed in 1984. The stage design evolved as a result of collaborative input from many long-time Old Town Square users, including event producers, performers, production technicians and audience members. The new stage will accommodate a broad variety of performance styles and event sizes. When not in use for performances, the stage will be available as a casual seating area for downtown visitors. Construction crews installed a steel canopy over the stage in late August; the remaining equipment will be installed over the next several weeks.

“Old Town Square is at the heart of downtown Fort Collins,” said Kristen Karabensh of Bohemian Foundation. “The Downtown Development Authority has done a fantastic job bringing the community’s vision for the area to fruition. Bohemian Foundation is proud to be able to contribute to such a vital project and we’re looking forward to all of the new and creative ways the community will embrace the space.”

Bohemian Foundation’s Music Programs produces many free community concerts that are held in Old Town Square. These concerts are among the dozens of special events and programs Old Town Square hosts each year.

The Old Town Square renovation project is in its last six weeks of construction. Details regarding a reopening celebration will be announced by mid September.

About the Old Town Square Renovation Project

As part of the vibrant Downtown experience, the public plaza portion of Old Town Square has been heavily used over the last 30 years. The DDA and its project staff are committed to creating a high-quality, public gathering space that accommodates a variety of activities now and into the future. Construction is underway and will be complete this fall.

About Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority

The mission of the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority is to build public and private partnerships that advance economic, cultural and social growth in the Fort Collins central business district.

About Bohemian Foundation

Bohemian Foundation is a private family foundation established in 2001. Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Bohemian Foundation works to empower citizens and impact communities through its strategic grant making programs and special initiatives.


Tom Scharf Selected as Bohemian Foundation Music Programs Director

Bohemian Foundation today announced it has selected Tom Scharf, former CEO of Denver non-profit Swallow Hill Music, to lead Bohemian Foundation’s Music Programs.

Scharf will start his new position at Bohemian Foundation Aug. 31, succeeding current music programs director, Kristen Karabensh.

"Tom Scharf is a professional with outstanding credentials and non-profit experience," Bohemian Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Zimlich said. "We look forward to his leadership for the next phase of Music Programs’ development. This is an exciting new hire for our organization."

Scharf served in the top role at Swallow Hill from 2007-2014. Under his direction, the nonprofit more than doubled its patronage, more than quadrupled its top-line revenues, built key strategic partnerships and dramatically increased its local and national profile. Swallow Hill is a 36-year-old organization that runs music education programs and produces music performances in the Denver area, including concerts at its own venues, the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.

“Bohemian Foundation is an organization aligned with my values,” said Scharf. “I truly believe that music can build community, and the foundation’s work is helping to do just that. I’m looking forward to advancing Music Programs initiatives, to becoming a part of the Fort Collins community and to being immersed in the burgeoning local music scene.”

Karabensh, who has served Bohemian Foundation for the past four years, will remain with the foundation through September, then will relocate out-of-state with her family. Zimlich credited Karabensh for positioning the foundation’s Music Programs for growth and for developing an excellent staff.

Bohemian Foundation is a private family foundation established in 2001. Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Bohemian Foundation works to empower citizens and impact communities through its responsive grant making programs and special initiatives. Visit for information about the foundation’s work.


Bohemian Foundation Shares Updated Goals

Bohemian Foundation today announced the broadened scope of its work, its refreshed Community Programs goals and the naming of an executive director. This week the foundation also will launch a new website to provide clear and current information about its work locally, nationally and globally.

Established in 2001 by Fort Collins philanthropist Pat Stryker, the foundation has grown and developed over the past 14 years. Bohemian Foundation launched with a single local grantmaking program—the Pharos Fund. Since then, a larger Community Programs area has formed alongside the Pharos Fund. A Music Programs area was developed next, with the goal of building community through music.

The foundation today announced two additional program areas that have grown beyond their initial stages to become well-established grantmaking areas for the foundation. The foundation’s Civic Programs area, which started on a small scale in 2004, supports organizations working nationally or within Colorado to strengthen democracy. The foundation’s Global Programs area, which began as a pilot in 2010, makes grants to organizations working around the world to address challenges related to public health, poverty and the environment.

Today the foundation also announced refreshed goals in its Community Programs area. The updated goals represent the ideals that have shaped the foundation’s work since its start. These goals are: encouraging and enabling youth to thrive; empowering individuals and families on the path toward economic stability; and strengthening our vibrant community.

Bohemian Foundation’s largest local grantmaking program, the Pharos Fund, aligns with the broader Community Programs goals, making funding from the foundation accessible to a wider range of eligible organizations. Grant applicants will use a new, online application for the Pharos Fund, and will have access to workshops and guidance from foundation staff during the application process.

Leading Bohemian Foundation is Cheryl Zimlich, who was recently named executive director, a role she has filled on an interim basis for the past few years. Zimlich also is a member of the Bohemian Foundation Board, a respected community leader, and a 20-year volunteer in the education and nonprofit sectors. In addition to her service at Bohemian Foundation, Zimlich has held board and leadership positions in more than a dozen local and national organizations.

Also reflecting Bohemian Foundation’s refreshed focus is a newly launched graphic identity and website at The foundation’s new graphic identity and web presence aim to provide easily accessible information about the breadth of Bohemian Foundation’s work in all four of its program areas.


Bohemian Foundation Announces Refreshed Community Programs Goals

Community Programs is Bohemian Foundation’s oldest program area and houses its best-known responsive grantmaking program, the Pharos Fund. Today the foundation announced a refresh of its Community Programs goals, as well as a new Pharos Fund application that incorporates these new goals.

Bohemian Foundation’s new Community Programs goals reflect the ideals it has maintained over the years. The updated goals build on the history of the foundation’s work and include: encouraging and enabling youth to thrive; empowering individuals and families on the path toward economic stability; and strengthening our vibrant community.

Bohemian Foundation’s largest local responsive grantmaking program, the Pharos Fund, aligns with the Community Programs goals, making funding from the foundation accessible to a wider range of organizations. Through Pharos Fund, the foundation makes awards of up to $30,000 to eligible organizations serving the Fort Collins area. Since Bohemian Foundation’s inception in 2001, it has awarded more than $14.5 million in Pharos Fund grants.

Eligible organizations can apply for a Pharos Fund grant through the twice-yearly application process. The Pharos Fund guidelines and application have been updated, effective for the next grant application deadline on Sept. 10, 2015. Changes are designed to simplify the application process and to assist nonprofits in articulating their outcomes and community impact, as well as how their work advances the foundation’s Community Programs goals. The new application also provides more flexibility in how nonprofits submit budgets and financial information. Pharos Fund applications now will be submitted through a new online Bohemian Foundation grantee portal. Bohemian Foundation’s Community Programs staff will offer workshops and assistance for organizations as they prepare for the application process.

The updated Pharos Fund guidelines and a sample application template will be available online in July. Pharos Fund and grantee portal workshops are scheduled from late July to late August. The new Pharos Fund application will open on Aug. 3, 2015, and the next Pharos Fund application deadline is Sept. 10, 2015. Visit to view the updated information and register for the workshops.


Pianos About Town Celebrates Sixth Season in Surprise Downtown Locations

After months of hibernation, painted pianos will emerge on Tuesday, May 12, for the summer, throughout Fort Collins. Then, the painting of new pianos for the sixth Pianos About Town season begins! On May 13, the first of ten unpainted pianos will be painted at the Art in Action tent in Downtown Fort Collins. Due to the renovation of Old Town Square, 2015 painting will take place in surprise locations in Downtown Fort Collins, adding an additional element of spontaneity to the program. The first location for painting will be at Oak Street Plaza.

Bohemian Foundation Music Programs Director Kristen Karabensh says, “The collaboration with local artists to paint the pianos and the opportunity for impromptu music interactions to occur is really what we’re going for; creating a unique Fort Collins feel. Pianos About Town is just another way of showcasing the vibrant role of music and art in our community.”

Five local artists have been selected to paint pianos and the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places program is looking for five more local artists to paint or artistically decorate pianos. Ellen Martin, Visual Arts Administrator for Art in Public Places says, “the program is looking for diversity in styles and concepts for the artwork with a preference for new and exciting ideas.” Artists are selected through a proposal process. Interested artists should visit to view project requirements and apply.

Returning artist Gale Whitman will kick off the season on May 13 at the Art in Action tent which will be set up at Oak Street Plaza. Gale has painted numerous murals for the City of Fort Collins’ Art in Public Places and Pianos About Town programs, “Painting a piano in a high-visibility spot in Old Town has given me more confidence in my abilities and willingness to share my art with others,” Gale says. “I love the way this program ties in visual arts with music—it allows me to feel a partnership with performance artists.”


Whitman's concept drawing


Pianos About Town at a glance:

Pianos About Town is intended to be a fun, interactive art installation that creates an additional element of whimsy and surprise in Fort Collins.

The original inspiration for Pianos About Town comes from British artist Luke Jerram who created a 60-piano installation touring the world, stopping in New York City in June 2010. The project was also inspired by a similar project on Denver’s 16th Street Mall. The first pianos were placed in Downtown Fort Collins during the 2010 holiday season and were an instant hit. This is the sixth season for Pianos About Town. To date, 57 pianos have been painted by 37 different artists as part of this program.

Pianos are acquired through donations made by community members looking to find a new home for their used pianos. Pianos are picked up, free of charge, from their previous home and brought to a storage area where they are cleaned, tuned, prepped for painting and readied for the outside elements. After that, the painting begins! Local artists spend approximately three weeks painting their pianos in Downton Fort Collins before the finished pianos begins their journey around Fort Collins.

Painting and decorating of the pianos continues throughout the year, but is moved to indoor venues during the winter months. Area businesses play a key role in the success of the project by "adopting" the painted pianos in their areas and covering them during inclement weather.

The Pianos About Town program is a collaborative effort between Bohemian Foundation, the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places program and the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority.


Bohemian Foundation Awards More Than $500K To Local Nonprofits

Bohemian Foundation today announced that it awarded $508,480 to 33 local nonprofits working to promote community engagement and improve the well-being of children, teens and families. Since its inception in 2001, Bohemian Foundation Community Programs has awarded more than $14.5 million in Pharos Fund grants to a variety of nonprofits serving the Fort Collins area.

“The Pharos Fund is such an important aspect of our work,” said Sara Maranowicz, Bohemian Foundation’s Community Programs director. “Through the review process, we learn a great deal from local nonprofits about community needs and how they’re working to achieve meaningful outcomes. We are inspired by the great work happening in our community and by all of the contributions these programs make in the lives of individuals across Fort Collins.”

Grants are distributed through Pharos Fund, a responsive grant making initiative of Bohemian Foundation that makes awards up to $30,000 to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with programs that boost public awareness or encourage and enable our youth to become productive members of society. A committee comprised of Bohemian Foundation board members, Bohemian staff and community members selects grantees through a competitive application process.

Full List of Spring 2015 Pharos Fund Recipients:

A total of $508,480 was awarded to 33 organizations.

  • Organization
  • Award Title
  • Award
  • Organization: Book Trust
  • Award Title: Empowering Poudre School District Students Through Literacy
  • Award $30,000
  • Total
  • $508,480

Bohemian Foundation will begin accepting applications for the next Pharos Fund round starting in August, 2015.

Bohemian Foundation is a private family foundation established in 2001. Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Bohemian Foundation works to empower citizens and impact communities through its responsive grant making programs and special initiatives.


Dozens of Fort Collins Organizations and Businesses Will Offer Free Services to Individuals and Families at Project Homeless Connect on April 10

Fort Collins’ sixth annual Project Homeless Connect is a one-day, one-stop event on April 10 that will offer hundreds of people who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness a range of free services from medical screenings to bike repair.

Project Homeless Connect will be held from 8 a.m.-noon at Northside Aztlan Center, 112 Willow St. A free breakfast will be available in the morning, and a free BBQ lunch will be served from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nearly 60 local nonprofits, government agencies and businesses will provide on-site services. Homeward 2020, Bohemian Foundation and Colorado State University Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) co-produce the event with support from United Way of Larimer County.

Free services will include basic car inspection; bike repair; medical screenings; basic dental screenings for adults and children; eye exams; family photos; haircuts; housing information; veterans services; ID and legal services; employment services; counseling; government benefits; child care and children’s activities; bus passes; massages; toiletry packages; pet health care; and pet food.

During the event, each participant is paired one-to-one with a volunteer who helps the participant navigate the wide array of services and offerings available. Last year, SLiCE recruited more than 400 CSU students and Fort Collins community members to volunteer.

About Project Homeless Connect:

The Project Homeless Connect concept originated in San Francisco in 2004. In 2005, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness launched the National Project Homeless Connect Partnership. Since 2008, more than 200 cities across the U.S., Canada and Australia have adopted the initiative. Fort Collins welcomed its first Project Homeless Connect in 2010. Since then, more than 2,000 individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the Fort Collins community have participated.

About Homeward 2020:

Homeward 2020 is an assembly of community and agency leaders working in support of the Ten Year Plan to make homelessness in Fort Collins rare, short lived and non-recurring through a housing first approach. Homeward 2020 provides community leadership by serving as a convener, catalyst, data driver and advocate, and through the collective expertise and experience of its members.


Bohemian Foundation Hosts Training Session For Northern Colorado Community Members

Bohemian Foundation will host a “Bridges Out of Poverty” community training geared for nonprofit volunteers and board members, and facilitated by nationally renowned trainer Jodi Pfarr. “Bridges Out of Poverty” is a nationally-recognized training that allows participants to explore intergenerational poverty, collaborate with other community members and learn how community organizations may better assist children, adults and families experiencing poverty.

Who Should Attend:

Community volunteers and board members working with Larimer County nonprofits, and other interested community members


9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Feb. 7


The Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins

Pianos About Town at a glance:

How to Register: Visit to register by Jan. 26. Space is limited

Contact Sara Maranowicz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information

There is no cost to attend the training.