Javier Alberto Soto
President & CEO
Vision: A Metro Denver that is racially equitable in its leadership, prosperity, and culture.
Primary Role: To achieve our vision, we will be a proactive, collaborative, and resolute leader in reducing racial disparities.
President & CEO
Director of Policy & Government Affairs
Director of Gifts & Grants
Director of Communications
Senior Scholarships Officer
Impact Administrative Assistant
Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer
Gift Administration Associate
Senior Scholarships Officer
Grants Administrative Associate
Information Technology Analyst
Senior Director of Engaged Philanthropy
Special Funds Officer
Senior Director of Special Funds & Scholarships
Special Advisor for Engaged Philanthropy
Director of Operations
Director of Engaged Learning
Director of Strategy Implementation & Performance
Associate Community Engagement Officer
Impact Administrative Assistant
Grants Administration Associate for Donor-Advised Funds
Vice President of Communications
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Engaged Philanthropy
Chief Financial Officer
Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships & Learning
Executive Operations Coordinator
Associate Engaged Philanthropy Officer
Senior Director of Philanthropic Investments
Senior Gifts & Grants Officer
Strengthening Neighborhoods & Technical Assistance Officer
Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer
Planned Giving Officer
Vice President of Talent & Culture
Director of the BRIC Fund
Facilities & Operations Manager
Senior Director of Information Technology
Senior Special Funds Officer
Chief Impact Officer
Impact Administrative Specialist
Javier Alberto Soto is President and CEO of The Denver Foundation. Before joining The Denver Foundation in October 2019, Javier spent 10 years as President and CEO of The Miami Foundation. Javier has strong personal ties to Colorado. In his first month with The Denver Foundation Javier cycled more than 60 miles through dozens of neighborhoods, meeting with residents and leaders along the way. Javier graduated from Florida State University with a B.A. in History and Political Science and earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Naomi Amaha is an award-winning Public Affairs leader with a reputation of excellence in local and state, and federal government relations. With more than a decade of experience in advocacy, nonprofit leadership, and civic engagement, she develops change-making coalitions through political consulting and strategic planning. Naomi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Communications is a Certified Nonprofit Professional and has earned a certification in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Erin is the Director of Gifts & Grants for the Finance & Accounting department at The Denver Foundation. She leads the team focused on tracking the generous donations that come into the foundation and processing grants that have been awarded to ensure compliance, acknowledgment, and philanthropic intent. Erin has been an advocate for social justice throughout her career in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, and social responsibility. Outside of work, Erin enjoys traveling with her wife and learning about new cheeses to create tasty cheese boards to enjoy with friends & family.
As Director of Communications, Laura believes storytelling is essential for creating positive social change. Before joining The Denver Foundation in 2017, she led communications for Ethiopia Reads, Youth on Record, and The Colorado Symphony. A writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, USAA, and others, Laura has won awards including the Annie E. Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. She serves on the board of Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver.
Charmaine Brown, Senior Scholarship Officer, stewards a portfolio of scholarship opportunities that help students access higher education. Charmaine graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology and an M.A. in Counseling and Human Services with an emphasis in Higher Education from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and is in pursuit of her M.B.A. from Colorado State University. She brings her 15 years of higher education experience to philanthropy with hopes to create new possibilities.
Born and raised in Colorado, Raquel recently completed a BA in Latin American Studies and is excited to join the Impact Administrative Team. Her passion for grassroots and community organizing allowed her to work with the Hispanic/Latinx populations in Western Colorado and Utah. She has worked to amplify the voices of immigrant families and first-generation students to help them become leaders in their respective communities. When not at work, Raquel is in the mountains with her family, reading, or visiting art museums.
Mark recently came to The Denver Foundation with 25 years experience as an accountant in the for-profit world. He is excited to bring that experience to The Denver Foundation to help serve the greater Denver area and beyond. Mark digs into the details of making sure all the numbers are in the right place, as well as getting all our employees paid on time. He is originally from San Diego but now considers himself a true Coloradoan and thoroughly enjoys the beautiful outdoors in this great state. Mark is currently working on a master’s degree in accounting in order to have even greater effectiveness in his role.
As Controller of The Denver Foundation, Courtney is responsible for overseeing our financial, investment, and fund management. She leads the Accounting and Gifts and Grants team to ensure accurate financial transactions, audit and tax compliance, and strong internal controls. Courtney graduated from the University of Missouri with a Master’s in Accountancy and is a Certified Public Accountant. She began her professional career in public accounting where she gained a tremendous love for the work of nonprofits in the Denver Metro area.
As an Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer, Zach works with individuals, businesses, and nonprofits to realize their full impact. Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Zach is a born and raised Midwesterner. He is a music lover and has a heart for animals, as evidenced by his two dogs and cat. Previously at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, he specialized in nonprofit capacity-building and philanthropic services. There, he managed a program that included 640+ nonprofit partners, but his passion really developed for public education issues with diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are interwoven. He graduated from Missouri State University with an accelerated MPA, with a local government focus.
Lichelle (Dedie) Cornett is Gift Administration Associate for the Finance & Administration Department at the Denver Foundation. She joined The Denver Foundation 16 years ago. Her major responsibilities are processing incoming gifts and overseeing the acknowledgement process, along with preparing the foundation’s Annual Appeal…with a newly gained role of setting up funds in our database systems. Dedie enjoys music, spending time with family and friends, and especially time with her grandson.
As Senior Scholarships Officer, Jack focuses on the day-to-day operations of the statewide Reisher Scholars Program to ensure maximum impact and efficiency. He has worked in philanthropy and higher education for more than a decade and received his Master of Nonprofit Management from Regis University. When not connecting generous donors with brilliant students, Jack enjoys reading to his son, Clark, and going to the movies with his wife, Abby.
Phuong supports the Gifts and Grants team in the administration, execution, and integrity of the Foundation’s overall grants process. She grew up in the Denver metropolitan area and is a graduate of Denver’s West High school. Phuong holds an MSW from Yeshiva University and an M.A. in Studio Art/Photography from New York University. Phuong has over 15 years of experience working with refugee and immigrant-led organizations, supporting them to strengthen their organizational infrastructure, service programs, and leadership voice. She is also a photography-based artist and nature lover who is passionate about creating images that engage conversations around place and identity.
As the Assistant Controller of The Denver Foundation, Valerie is responsible for providing accounting services to the entire Foundation. She is a CPA and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Science in Accounting. Valerie has over twenty years of professional experience in the nonprofit sector and healthcare industry.
Ember serves the Denver Foundation as our Information Technology Analyst. Her focus and personal mission are diligent, warm, and engaging technology support for the foundation, its staff, and its members. She has 13 years of experience as an IT specialist, graphic designer, and manager. She has a strong passion and background in a diverse array of social change organizing and has previously supported and served as a member of organizations like Wyoming Equality and several regional LGBTQIA+ and transgender-specific support organizations. Her passions also include music, film, street art, and her beloved chihuahua Bohdi.
Serving as the Senior Director of Engaged Philanthropy, Tara oversees the Engaged Philanthropy team and cultivates relationships with donors and organizations to create a more racially equitable community. Tara has worked in philanthropic advising for more than 20 years, most recently at Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation. Tara is passionate about leveraging charitable giving and generous spirits to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Tara has served as a leader and mentor in the Association of Fundraising Professionals, DU’s Institute for Leaders in Development, and other professional development entities. Tara was born and raised in Denver, married to someone born and raised in Denver, and together they are raising two children and a Russian tortoise in Denver. She enjoys spending time with her family and is the slowest trail runner and open water swimmer you’ll know.
Kayla Hardin-Lawson is a Special Funds Officer at The Denver Foundation. Kayla has experience in various foundation and nonprofit structures, affordable housing /homelessness, and grassroots NGO organizing. She has a passion for Social Justice particularly around issues of racial and gender inequities, Global Development, and Human Rights. Kayla is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Human Rights at The Josef Korbel School of International Studies, The University of Denver. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, is addicted to the Crime Junkie podcast.
Priya Hariharan is an Accountant at The Denver Foundation. She comes to the foundation with nine years of experience in the accounting industry. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Bombay, India, and is currently working on earning her Master’s degree in Accounting from University of Colorado, Denver. Priya is also a professional musician, specializing in Indian Classical music.
Sharon Harper is the Senior Director of Special Funds and Scholarships with The Denver Foundation. Her focus is on the administration of funds that center on higher education and donor/institution programming. She has worked in financial aid and scholarships for nineteen years in both private and public four-year schools. Sharon holds a B.A. in English Literature, an MBA in Finance and Accounting, and an MA in Psychology. She brings a variety of experiences into her work as she seeks to create solid and lasting relationships between donors, the community, and the students our donors endeavor to support. Sharon’s focus is on maximizing students’ awards, and donor stewardship. When not working, she enjoys reading, home renovating, and traveling.
Sarah Harrison is culminating her 38-year career in fundraising and donor services through the role of Special Advisor for Engaged Philanthropy in the Foundation’s Impact Team. A member of the Foundation’s staff since 2002, she most recently served as Vice President of Philanthropic Services. Sarah has extensive experience in complex major and planned gifts, best practices in family philanthropy, and donor stewardship. Sarah provides timely and personalized services for donors with the goal of increasing resources to the community and increasing the impact of philanthropic giving.
Amy Hendricks works as the Executive Assistant at the Foundation, providing high-level support to the CEO and the Board of Trustees. She has several years of experience in both nonprofit and startup settings and is excited to invest in the Denver community through her work at the Foundation. Before moving to Denver in 2020, Amy completed a Ph.D. in Classics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Outside the office, you can find her cooking, reading, and seeking out new breweries and wineries wherever she goes.
As the Director of Operations, Rob is passionate about creating an environment to help people do their best work. He does this by overseeing the facilities operations and executing different aspects of Human Resources. Rob joined the Foundation in 2016 and is driven by identifying ways to help TDF achieve its mission. Prior to working in philanthropy, Rob spent his career leading teams in the automotive manufacturing sector in South Carolina and Alabama. He spends his free time writing, reading, hiking, and listening to music.
As the Director of Engaged Learning, Jill is leading the learning and evaluation strategies across the Foundation through translating the Foundation’s vision for social change into an evaluation framework that contributes to a better understanding of progress and impact. Jill identifies as an analytical idealist and has more than 14 years of research, evaluation and planning experience within academia, nonprofit and government. Jill holds a B.A. and M.S. in Psychology and a PhD in Social Psychology. When not working, she enjoys traveling, finding opportunities to watch sports and chasing her young daughter around parks.
Originally from the Chicago-land area, Sachi found her way to Colorado to pursue a degree in political science and replace the lake with the mountains. Her passion for mission-based work and deep impact lead her to a career in the nonprofit sector, where she now serves as the Director of Strategy Implementation & Performance at the Foundation. As such, she spends her days understanding the ways in which we can best serve the community, and improving how we go about doing so. When not at work, Sachi enjoys hiking, petting other people’s dogs, and watching sports (go cubs!).
As a member of the Foundation’s Finance and Accounting team, Yewande participates in overseeing the accuracy and integrity of our accounting systems. She works closely with the Impact team to support the growth, maintenance, and management of Advisor Managed Funds and Impact Investments. Born and raised in Denver, Yewande has a passion for helping others. A mother of two, Yewande and her daughters enjoy going on hikes, spending time at the 16th Street Mall, and visiting the city’s museums.
As an Associate Community Engagement Officer at The Denver Foundation, Dele supports both internal and external communications. His role with the Foundation spans from managing our website and social media content to helping coordinate online events with community stakeholders. Dele is a digital media artist, creator, and producer, and passionate about and dedicated to his involvement in the Denver community. He is a weekly show host at KUVO Jazz, and serves on the Board of Directors at Youth Roots, among other volunteer activites.
Sophie Jonas is excited to be a part of The Denver Foundation’s Impact Administrative Team. Before working at The Denver Foundation, Sophie spent three years in Alaska working in criminal justice reform and for the state legislature. When she isn’t in the office, Sophie enjoys rock climbing, skiing, and exploring new parts of Denver on her bike.
As Grants Administration Associate, Anne works on donors’ grant recommendations and helps get grant checks out the door and into the community. Anne was born in Denver and graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She’s worked at the Tattered Cover Book Store, the Denver Public Library, and was a copy editor at the Rocky Mountain News before it ceased publishing. She also worked in Skagway, Alaska and Dawson City, Yukon Territory, important sites during the historic Klondike Gold Rush. Despite the lure of the north, she’s happy to reside in her hometown of Denver.
Abigail Kesner is the Vice President of Communications for The Denver Foundation. She believes in the power of communications to positively impact communities. Abigail has worked in communications for 20 years as a producer with CNN, as communications director for the Colorado State Senate, and as a communications and marketing director at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and now at The Denver Foundation. She is a motivated strategic thinker and team leader who can bring innovative approaches to the work and distill complex ideas into compelling communications. Abigail started her career at CNN in New York at the news desk and later as an anchor producer for Paula Zahn and John Roberts. She relocated to Colorado in 2009 to serve as communications director for the Colorado State Senate. When not working, Abigail is an avid reader and enjoys cooking and traveling with her husband, daughter, and dog.
As Chief Operating Officer of The Denver Foundation, Alyssa refines the business of philanthropy and seeks opportunities to “do good” even better. She guides the talented teams overseeing communications, information technology, and the workspace. Alyssa graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in History and received an M.B.A. from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. She has twenty years of experience working in philanthropy and has served on multiple boards of directors and nonprofit finance committees.
Genevieve’s passion is inviting all to philanthropy – working with individuals, businesses, and nonprofits to realize their full impact. Whether it’s a giving circle grants meeting, a company’s giving strategy plan, or a nonprofit’s moment of seeding their new endowment, she feels so honored to be a part of these special moments. She has a MA in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly School of Philanthropy, an MPA in Nonprofit Management from IU, and a CSR Certification from the CU Leeds Business School. She is an avid baker and cook, using both passions to honor her Mexican, Black, Spanish, and British roots. Her personal energy is focused on LGBTQIA+ rights, special needs advocacy, and higher education access for BIPOC individuals.
Daniel Lee is Chief Financial Officer for The Denver Foundation, responsible for the foundation’s finance operations, including investments, contributions, and grantmaking. Prior to joining the foundation in Nov. 2000, Daniel held finance and accounting positions in the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He holds BS and MS degrees in Biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MBA (Accounting) from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He lives in Aurora, CO with his family.
As the Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships, & Learning, Dr. Janet Lopez seeks to deepen relationships with nonprofit leaders, donors, and policymakers throughout metro Denver to increase the Foundation’s impact on critical needs and solutions to those needs. Her career has focused on increasing access and opportunity for communities of color. Dr. Lopez received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University, a master’s degree from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a Ph.D. in Education from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her community involvement has included serving as a board member on many local and national boards. She is a German Marshall Fund Marshall Memorial Fellow and a National Hispanic Institute Gen X Women of Distinction.
Shannon Love works as the Executive Operations Coordinator at the Foundation. Shannon joined The Denver Foundation in 2019 working on the Colorado Health Access Fund team. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked with non-profit organizations, lobbyists, and government contractors on programs that served Colorado’s medically underserved populations. Shannon holds a master’s degree in social work.
As the Associate Engaged Philanthropy Officer Emma takes pride in helping create a more equitable community and build meaningful relationships with donors to provide insight into the needs of the community. Fueled with a passion for helping underserved communities; particularly communities of color and LGBTQ homeless youth, their previous work in nonprofits has given them extensive knowledge of effective development strategies and community engagement. When they are not working or volunteering in the community they are hiking, cooking for themselves (or friends), spoiling their cat, or rewatching She-Ra for the hundredth time.
Amanda Newell is an Accounting Specialist for The Denver Foundation. Amanda is from Colorado and received a B.S. from the University of Colorado at Denver and M.A. from the University of Denver. Recently transitioning out of the field of education, Amanda has spent her career supporting and advocating for families and community members throughout the Denver metro area. In her free time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children, playing and growing the game of Australian Football, and spending time enjoying the beautiful state of Colorado.
Ben Perry leads the Foundation’s efforts to engage professional advisors and their clients to create meaningful, impactful philanthropy that benefits our community. Joining the Foundation in 2019, Ben brings over 20 years of experience in wealth and fiduciary management, major and planned giving, and impact investing, and he is passionate about helping donors to create philanthropic legacies that can span generations. Originally from Philadelphia, Ben holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Drexel University, and is a candidate for the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) designation. Ben and his wife, Ava Lala, live in Golden with their young daughter, Armaity.
Dana Perry is a Senior Gifts & Grants Officer for the Finance & Administration Department at The Denver Foundation. Dana has an M.A. in International Affairs and an M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from American University and an UN-affiliated University in Costa Rica. She has experience working side-by-side in small communities and organizations from all over the world to promote human rights and environmental justice. When not working, you can find Dana somewhere high in the Rocky Mountains skiing, backpacking, biking, meditating, or just enjoying the beauty of nature.
David Portillo is Officer for the Strengthening Neighborhoods and Technical Assistance Programs at The Denver Foundation. Before joining the Foundation in 1999, David was director of local social-change non-profit, Padres Unidos. He worked as a union and labor organizer for seven years, after working as a public school teacher for five years. His wife, Jennifer, teaches in Denver Public Schools, and his four children – Ana, Xochitl, Graciela, and Samuel – either have graduated from or currently attend DPS schools. David studied Creative Writing in college. He has given up on trying to revise those old short stories, but he does practice his Spanish daily with his family.
Andrea comes to The Denver Foundation with a breadth of non-profit knowledge having worked at several higher education institutions and community organizations. In her Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer role, she uses that knowledge to bring individuals, businesses and nonprofits together to maximize their impact in the community. Having spent most of her life in the Washington, DC area, Andrea has a passion for politics and public policy. She has her MPP from the University of Denver and her undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond. Go Spiders! When not working, she is spending time with family, friends and her two dogs, Frits and Schatzi.
Rachel Spory-Leek supports the Foundation’s efforts to engage professional advisors and their clients to create meaningful, impactful philanthropy that benefits our community. Joining the Foundation in 2021, Rachel brings nearly a decade of non-profit development expertise, including five years in Gift Planning program management. She is passionate about helping donors ensure their philanthropic legacies extend beyond their lifetimes. Originally from Pennsylvania, Rachel has lived in Colorado since 2011. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Mennonite University and an M.A from the University of Denver. Rachel and her husband, Drew, live in Highlands Ranch with their young daughter, Naomi, and a golden retriever named Ladybug.
Jason Stoddart is the Vice President of Talent & Culture at the Foundation. In this role, he leads our talent and culture strategies and oversees our Human Resources function. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2020, Jason built his culture and HR experience over many years in both nonprofit and corporate roles. He moved to Denver (via Chicago) from Canberra, Australia, after completing his Bachelor’s degree in Management and HR Development at the University of Canberra.
LaDawn’s 20+ years of work and accomplishments are in the DNA of the modern Denver Foundation. As Special Advisor for the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund, she works collaboratively with BRIC’s Advisory Committee to support nonprofit organizations that are led by and serve Black communities. LaDawn is an influencer, innovator, and coalition builder. She’s worked to strengthen and expand the pipeline of BIPOC leadership, address social Injustice and create racially equitable communities. Using her expertise in community engagement and inclusive emerging leadership practices in all her internal and external work.
Before moving to Colorado in 2020, Amanda worked in supply chain in Milwaukee and Chicago. Answering the call to join the nonprofit world, Amanda is so excited to support the Foundation as the Office Coordinator. In her free time, you could find her hiking with her husband and two dogs, making art, caring for her plants, or organizing anything she can get her hands on.
As Senior Director of Information Technology, Brian works to provide efficiency and scalability to business processes at the Foundation. His mission is to maximize the effectiveness of our people by leveraging the right technology. He has 14 years of experience in IT leadership, technical staff development, and business leadership in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Brian serves on the board of directors for multiple music performance and music education-focused nonprofits in the Denver area and beyond.
As Senior Special Funds Officer, Julie works with donor-advised fundholders to provide hands-on, personalized support and manages special interest funds that address critical community needs. Julie brings 15 years of work with nonprofits and nearly 20 years working with foundations on both a national and local level to address social justice and equity issues. In addition to her work as a program officer, Julie has also worked as a consultant building nonprofit capacity and as a philanthropic advisor helping individuals develop their philanthropic interests and priorities. Julie’s experience gives her a unique ability to bridge funder and donor interest with high-quality nonprofits using an approach that emphasizes the importance of relationships and mutuality.
Dace West is the Chief Impact Officer at The Denver Foundation. In her role, she serves as senior leadership and oversees the Impact Group, which brings together all the Foundation’s philanthropic activities from work with donors to nonprofit grantmaking. Her portfolio also includes the Foundation’s community leadership efforts, serving as a thought partner, engaging in public policy, and supporting evaluation and research. Prior to her work at the foundation, Dace held several leadership positions in the nonprofit and public sectors, working on social issues across the Denver Metro area.
Stephanie Williams believes in using her skills and resources to lift up her community. As the Impact Administrative Specialist, she provides high-level support for project management, events, and donor relations. Prior to joining The Denver Foundation, Stephanie spent ten years as a grant writer and event planner at nonprofit organizations in Texas, New York, and freelancing remotely from Prague, Czech Republic. She is fluent in Spanish and loves to build her own community through cooking and food. Most weekends you will find her hiking a trail with her husband and fluffy rescue dog.