Philanthropy group selects Bryce Hunter as Outstanding Youth for 2023

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER

Colorado Association of Fund Raisers (CAFR), which consists of over 300 fund development professionals who support the community as the experts on philanthropic giving, selected Bryce Hunter as the recipient of its Outstanding Youth award for 2023. 

Bryce Hunter with his parents Scott Hunter and Michelle Anthony

The son of Michelle Anthony and Scott Hunter, Bryce is a junior at Cherry Creek Elevation High School, has a 4.0 GPA, and is on the swim team. 

The program for the award event described Bryce this way: “He credits his busy schedule as one of the ways that he manages ADHD, a diagnosis he’s struggled with since childhood. Bryce has initiated and led two impactful service projects. Cyber Leaders is a program designed to teach coding to and mentor fourth graders Bryce leads at Holm Elementary School in Denver. As a Title I school, 70 percent of students are ESL (English Second Language) learners. Bryce developed the coding class to inspire these kids and has worked with 60+ students. As a result, these students have increased math scores and administrators report a drop in absences. This fall Denver Public Schools will be requiring teachers to teach coding one hour a week. When Bryce heard this and saw the looks on our faces as faculty having to learn and do this, he immediately said, ‘Don’t worry. I can train you all. We got this! This is so great! Now our students will know even more and we can take them even further!’”

Bryce teaching coding to 4th graders at Holm Elementary

The program continued, “Bryce also founded the Can Campaign. Through this initiative, he collects pop-top canned goods for those experiencing food insecurity. Bryce believes one person CAN make a difference in the community. Bryce partners with organizations like Christ in the City and Second Change and is currently working on an app to show locations where free canned food stations are located.” 

Explaining the impact Bryce has had on the students at Holm Elementary, Meaghan Elliott, teacher advisor for the school’s Cyber Leaders group, told The Villager, “This is a particularly meaningful time to have Bryce be part of our efforts to support learners, as our school is one that you hear about on the news with a tremendous influx in migrant families–those with almost no resources, arriving having experienced significant trauma. Many of these students have limited English proficiency, and Bryce has worked to bridge the gap using the action-oriented language of code. We are also one of the schools that are zoned as part of the Denver unhoused relocation efforts, with the families given temporary housing in the hotels the city is now using. The energy and exuberance he offers is unparalleled, and his ability to connect with students from all life situations shows maturity beyond his years.” She described Bryce as, “enthusiastic, inspired, hopeful, invested.”

In a video expressing what the award meant to him, Bryce said, “I’m just really excited about the idea of philanthropy, giving back to your community. During Covid, I saw a lot of unhoused individuals that lacked a stable supply of food. I thought, how can I make a difference? What can I do? I founded the can campaign, which is an individualized donation center donating canned food to the unhoused. What I love doing with the can campaign is not only giving canned food to people but also talking with them, making their voices feel heard.”

Jacket that depicts Bryce’s can campaign to collect food for unhoused people

He continued, “Growing up, I loved coding. It was my excitement to go to school, it helped me get through math, because coding is very math-based. Based off the coding classes results, they saw the math score significantly improve in those who coded (compared to) those who didn’t participate in the class. To give back to my community, I’m running a coding program for fourth graders. I hear from kids in the coding class, ‘I’ve gotten so much better at math. I’m more excited to come to school,’ and that’s across all types of students. Reaching out to every type of student and helping them find their own strength is really inspiring to see. I feel like this award is very motivating for me. Through getting recognized, I’m able to realize in myself that I do have this power in me.”

As the local chapter of the national organization Association of Fundraising Professionals, CAFR “provides education and advocacy to the Colorado community on the role and importance of fund development in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector,” as well as education to fund development professionals on the process and ethics of philanthropic fundraising.