Arlene Hirschfeld has made an indelible mark on Colorado as a life-long community leader, philanthropist, and tireless activist working on behalf of women, children, education, and the arts. Hirschfeld’s unique style of civic engagement serves as a model of contemporary philanthropic leadership.
Born and raised in Denver, Hirschfeld has been making significant and enduring contributions to the community for 35 years. After working as a teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School, Hirschfeld made a career of working almost full-time for various causes. She has volunteered for nonprofits including the Rose Community Foundation, where she was the first woman Board Chair, the Denver Art Museum, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, and the Allied Jewish Federation, where she served in 1999 as the third woman president in the organization’s 57-year history. Hirschfeld served as the first Jewish president of the Junior League of Denver. She was part of an effort in the National Association of Junior Leagues to actively diversify the membership. Among Hirschfeld’s many awards are the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (one of 13 women among 113 honorees from across the United States in 2004); Colorado Philanthropy Day Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award; SCFD Rex Morgan Award; Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Social Responsibility Award; and University of Denver Founder’s Day Award for Community Service.
Her belief in the importance of volunteerism to enhance the quality of life of individuals and the community has fueled her work. Hirschfeld has devoted her time and energy to improving and enriching the community through her leadership and mentoring others for philanthropic volunteerism. Hirschfeld has also been involved on a national level, serving on the Steering Committee for the Harvard University Divinity School’s Dean’s Council and Women’s Studies in Religion Program (WSRP). Hirschfeld was instrumental, along with her committee, in raising $1 million to endow one of the five WSRP scholars, two years earlier than the anticipated five-year campaign deadline.
A wife and mother of two sons, Hirschfeld has demonstrated a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for others. Whether playing a behind-the-scenes role in helping others connect to organizational leadership roles or taking them on herself, she is a model of community activism.