Rep. Jared Polis
Jared was still in college when he co-founded his first company, American Information Systems, an internet access, web hosting and application service provider. Growing up in the family’s Boulder-based greeting card and publishing business, Blue Mountain Arts, he succeeded his grandmother as sales manager in 1996. Jared caught the attention of the e-business world by co-founding bluemountainarts.com, an online greeting card website which he sold to Excite@Home three years later. In 1998, he launched a web company to sell flowers direct from growers to consumers (ProFlowers.com) that has expanded to become Provide Commerce, Inc. (PRVD), one of the fastest-growing and most successful online start-ups; Provide Commerce was acquired by Liberty Media Corporation in 2006.
In November 2008, Jared was elected to the United States Congress to represent the second Congressional district of Colorado.
Civic and Philanthropic
Jared won statewide election in 2000 to the Colorado Board of Education. During his six-year tenure, he was a strong advocate for school reform and enhancing educational opportunities. He played an instrumental role in the passage of Amendment 23, an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that has been responsible for preventing cutbacks in K-12 education that otherwise would have occurred over the past several years.
The Jared Polis Foundation was founded in 2000 to improve and expand access to education. Its annual Teacher Recognition Awards celebrate the enormous commitment and importance of teachers, and hundreds of teachers and their schools have received micro-grants. The Jared Polis Foundation works closely with the Community Computer Connection" which refurbishes and donates more than 3,500 computers a year to schools and non-profit organizations that serve disadvantaged students.
Jared also founded two innovative charter schools that meet the needs of underserved students. In 2004, seeing the difficulty faced by older immigrant youth in mainstream public schools, he established the New America School, with its first campus at the Community College of Aurora’s Lowry Campus, to extend the benefits of English literacy and a high school liberal arts education to all students. One year later, seeing the challenges faced by teens who struggle with homelessness or unstable living conditions, he co-founded the Academy of Urban Learning which opened in the fall of 2005.
Today, Polis’ work to improve public education and ensure that all people have the opportunity to succeed puts him in touch with a wide variety of related policy issues including the need for accessible, quality health care; sound economic policies; environmental protection; and financial security for the elderly and disabled. Jared is active with a broad range of charitable and other non-profit organizations. He has served on the board of directors of Colorado Conservation Voters, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, and the Anti-Defamation League, and was the Vice-Chair of the Colorado Commission for High School Improvement. He was the Chairman of the Commission on Financial and Investor Literacy, established by the National Association of State Boards of Education.
Jared was named Outstanding Philanthropist for the 2006 National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. He is a recipient of many awards, including the Boulder Daily Camera’s 2007 Pacesetter Award in Education; the Kauffman Foundation Community Award; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Humanitarian Award; and the Anti-Defamation League’s inaugural Boulder Community Builder Award. He was recognized as the Outstanding Young Coloradoan by the Colorado Jaycees.
Jared received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Princeton University and lives in Boulder, and Washington, DC.