A woman and child playing with blocks

Investing In Community Good

2023 Impact Report

2023 was a turning point year for F. R. Bigelow Foundation.

In May 2023, the Foundation held a belated community celebration in honor of its 75-year anniversary in 2021. We reflected on the past and engaged community partners in conversations around the Foundation’s opportunities for the next 75 years.

Ambar Cristina Hanson has worked with the Foundation since the start of her professional career, as a nonprofit and philanthropic leader, and board member. In her role as board chair, she has helped propel the organization’s impact investing approach and taken on a strategic look at grantmaking.

We recently sat down with Ambar to review some of the highlights of 2023 and her hopes for 2024 and beyond.

Ambar Cristina Hanson headshot

Championing the Community’s Work

Through this last year, we dug deep to learn more about the Foundation’s impact on the East Metro and enjoyed the opportunity to connect and celebrate the work of the community and the work of our nonprofit partners. It was so clear to me that they [community partners] recognized the work of Bigelow really being instrumental to be able to do the work that they do.

There were also moments of — you know — candid comfort with transparency around challenging some of the ways in which we’ve done work in the past. That indicates there’s trust, or at least a sense of trust, that community partners can hold us accountable both to the things we’re doing well and to areas and spaces in which we can do better.

75 Years of Service and Community Insight

At our 75th Anniversary Celebration in May, we engaged community members in a feedback exercise seeking their insight on how the Foundation should approach its impact in the years and decades to come. We ask participants to guide the Foundation in three ways:

  • The Head: What should the Foundation be thinking about?
  • The Heart: What should the Foundation hold close?
  • The Hands: What actions should the Foundation take?

People responded with over 100 ideas, which were incorporated into the Foundation’s strategic impact process and are captured in the illustration below.

Illustration created from 75th annivesary

Continuing to Foster Mission Driven Investments

We also saw growth in our impact investing and mission-related investing, both having positive social impacts and great returns on investments. 

Thanks to the work of our team and investment committee, we have been able to show that it is possible to be strong financially while doing good. 2023 was a significant year. The impact portfolio has now made 19 investments, committing $7.5 million in 2023 alone to new opportunities.

Putting Equity First

Over the last few years, we have prioritized equity through our grantmaking in many ways.

I think there’s a recognition of the fact that we must make sure that we are prioritizing the communities that often go underserved. We want to make sure they have access to all the resources the East Metro has to offer. Whether that’s education, health care or access to arts and culture, there must be more intentionality around thinking about that in terms of how we close some of those gaps. It’s important for us to elevate the good work that so many communities are doing, the hidden gems in the ecosystem.

Our Impact


Grants Given in 2023

Supporting housing, human services, community development and more


Dollars Granted in 2023

Providing general operating, program and some capital support for East Metro nonprofits


in Mission Related Investing as of December 2023

Our portfolio includes investments that generate a positive social impact

Hopes for the Future

The legacy of the Foundation is that it is a private foundation led by a board of community members; this board recognizes the importance of making sure that we go beyond the board voice to understand what’s happening in community and how we can have the greatest impact. My hope is that Bigelow gets to a place where the Foundation is aligning all its assets towards its mission.

Thank You

At the Foundation we work in partnership with and celebrate the East Metro community. We are excited to see what is in store for 2024.