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Posted: October 08, 2013

GenXYZ: Alexis Boian, 37

Director of Philanthropic Services, First Western Trust

Nora Caley

Boian says it is unusual for a bank to hire someone who knows philanthropy, not banking.

What do you do as director of philanthropic services?

I help nonprofits with their banking needs and help clients with their philanthropic giving. Philanthropy is part of wealth planning typically. You think of retirement and estate planning, and philanthropy is part of that.

What inspired you to do this work?

After college I moved to New York and worked there for five years. I was there on Sept. 11, 2001 and I watched the towers come down. I started the September 11 Quilt Project. The quilt is an American flag made of panels of cloth from around the world. The flag toured the country and got a lot of attention, and it gave me a strong understanding of how I can give back. I moved back to Colorado, where I am from, and in 2003 I founded a nonprofit that teaches kids about giving back, the Young Philanthropists Foundation.

How are philanthropy and wealth planning similar?

Philanthropy should be thought about in the same terms as an investment portfolio. Say you give $20 to a homeless shelter and you know that will pay to feed five people. That’s a very concrete exchange and considered low risk. High risk is when you donate to policy campaigns or nonprofits whose mission is less concrete and long term.

Nora Caley is a freelance writer specializing in business and food topics. She can be reached at noracaley@comcast.net.

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