Staff & Board


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.

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    Javier Alberto Soto

    President & CEO

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    Adelita Aguirre

    Associate Scholarships Officer

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    Naomi Amaha

    Director of Policy & Government Affairs

  • Erin Atwell

    Erin Atwell

    Director of Gifts & Grants

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    Charmaine Brown

    Chief of Staff

  • Mark Carruthers

    Mark Carruthers

    Senior Accountant

  • Courtney Clapp

    Courtney Clapp

    Controller

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    Zach Clapper

    Director of Engaged Philanthropy

  • Dedie Cornett 2

    Dedie Cornett

    Gift Administration Associate

  • Jack Czarniecki

    Jack Czarniecki

    Senior Scholarships Officer

  • Margaret Danuser

    Margaret Danuser

    Chief Financial Officer

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    Phuong Do

    Grants Administrative Associate

  • Valerie Fields

    Valerie Fields

    Assistant Controller

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    Ember Flores

    Information Technology Analyst

  • Maritza Gutierrez

    Maritza Gutierrez

    Bilingual Front Desk Coordinator

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    Priya Hariharan

    Accountant

  • Sharon Harper

    Sharon Harper

    Senior Director of Scholarships

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    Jess Harvat

    Communications Director

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    Amy Hendricks

    Executive Assistant

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    Collin Hiew

    Engaged Philanthropy Officer

  • Rob Hill

    Rob Hill

    Director of Human Resources

  • Sachi Ishida

    Sachi Ishida

    Director of Operational Excellence

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    Yewande Jegede

    Senior Accountant

  • Mara Kelly

    Mara Kelly

    Senior Director of Engaged Philanthropy

  • Anne Kerwin

    Anne Kerwin

    Grants Administration Associate for Donor-Advised Funds

  • Img 0055 Final Abigail Kesner

    Abigail Kesner

    Vice President of Communications

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    Damir Kocer

    Operational Excellence Analyst

  • Janet Lopez Flor

    Dr. Janet Lopez

    Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships & Learning

  • Maureen Millmore

    Maureen Millmore

    Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer

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    Jasmine Moisides

    Special Funds Officer

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    Lindsay Mott

    Gifts & Grants Specialist

  • Lindsay Nason

    Lindsay Nason

    Senior Communications Officer

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    Chelsea Ordiway

    Accounting Specialist

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    Ben Perry

    Senior Director of Philanthropic Investments

  • Dana Perry

    Dana Perry

    Senior Gifts & Grants Officer

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    David Portillo

    Strengthening Neighborhoods & Technical Assistance Officer

  • Joshua Ryines

    Josh Ryines

    Reisher Scholarship Officer

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    Taeler Sanchez

    Foundation Services Coordinator

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    Gabriela Severino

    Communications Coordinator

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    Russ Shaw

    Philanthropic Investments Manager

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    Trenyese Shields

    Events Specialist

  • Andrea Shultz

    Andrea Shultz

    Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer

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    Christine Snyder

    Associate Engaged Philanthropy Officer

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    Rachel Spory-Leek

    Senior Gift Planning Officer

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    LaDawn Sullivan

    Executive Director of the BRIC Fund

  • Carolyn Thornton

    Carolyn Thornton

    Facilities & Operations Manager

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    Claire Tobin

    Major Gifts Officer

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    Brian Van Vleet

    Senior Director of Information Technology

  • Julie Voyles

    Julie Voyles

    Senior Special Funds Officer

  • Natalie Waddington

    Natalie Waddington

    Associate Scholarships Officer

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    Dace West

    Chief Impact Officer

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    Tim Wilmot

    Director of Engaged Learning

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Javier Alberto Soto

President & CEO | Executive

Pronouns: he/him

Javier Alberto Soto is the 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. 

Read Javier’s full bio

Contact Javier 

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Adelita Aguirre

Associate Scholarships Officer | Impact

As Associate Scholarships Officer, Adelita stewards a portfolio of designated scholarships and some custom scholarships at The Denver Foundation. Adelita graduated from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs with a B.A. in Psychology and a Master of Public Administration. Adelita brings a combination of experience in higher education, direct service, and philanthropy and seeks to promote access to higher education. When not working, she enjoys dancing and exploring local coffee shops.

Contact Adelita

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Naomi Amaha

Director of Policy & Government Affairs | Impact

Pronouns: she/her
Come to Naomi to discuss legislative processes, policy and advocacy, her deep knowledge of the Denver community, and to find out what is happening in Metro Denver!

 

Naomi Amaha is an award-winning public affairs leader with a reputation for excellence in public policy and government relations. With more than a decade of experience in advocacy, nonprofit leadership, and civic engagement, she advances systemic change. Naomi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Communication, is a Certified Nonprofit Professional, and has earned a certification in Corporate Social Responsibility.
 

Contact Naomi 

Erin Atwell

Erin Atwell

Director of Gifts & Grants | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

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.

Contact Erin 

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Charmaine Brown

Chief of Staff | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

Charmaine Brown, Chief of Staff, is the primary liaison for the foundation’s Board of Trustees and supports organizational and department planning and processes that lead to overall organizational excellence. 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 has received her MBA from Colorado State University. She brings her 15 years of higher education experience to philanthropy with hopes of creating new possibilities.

Contact Charmaine 

Mark Carruthers

Mark Carruthers

Senior Accountant | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Mark recently came to The Denver Foundation with 25 years of experience as an accountant in the for-profit world. He is excited to bring that experience to 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 Coloradan 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.

Contact Mark 

Courtney Clapp

Courtney Clapp

Controller | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

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.

Contact Courtney 

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Zach Clapper

Director of Engaged Philanthropy | Impact

Pronouns: he/him

Come to Zach if you want to chat about nonprofit endowments and why they are essential!

As the Director of Engaged Philanthropy, Zach works directly with individuals, businesses, and nonprofits to create charitable funds and achieve impact in the community. As a part of the Engaged Philanthropy team, Zach coordinates the Education and Housing/Homelessness priority areas for the Community Grants Program.

Originally from Springfield, Missouri, Zach is a born and raised Midwesterner. Previously at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, he specialized in philanthropic services, including charitable fund development, endowment-building, and nonprofit best practices. He graduated from Missouri State University with a Master of Public Administration with a local government emphasis.

Contact Zach 

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Dedie Cornett

Gift Administration Associate | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Dedie to talk about gift acknowledgments.

Lichelle (Dedie) Cornett is the Gift Administration Associate for the Finance & Administration Department at The Denver Foundation. Her major responsibilities are processing incoming contributions to the foundation and managing the setup of all of our funds. Dedie enjoys music, and spending time with family…especially time with her grandson.

Contact Dedie 

Jack Czarniecki

Jack Czarniecki

Senior Scholarships Officer | Impact

Pronouns: he/him

Come to Jack to discuss scholarship grantmaking best practices and the impact scholarships can make in Colorado!

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.

Contact Jack 

Margaret Danuser

Margaret Danuser

Chief Financial Officer | Executive

Margaret Danuser joins The Denver Foundation after spending more than six years with the City and County of Denver as Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Chief Financial Officer. In those roles, she managed seven divisions and approximately 500 employees focusing on collaboration, process improvements, employee engagement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Danuser has previously served in roles as the director of finance at the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, where she oversaw treasury and housing finance functions, and as a portfolio manager and fixed income specialist at Dreyfus Founders Fund, one of the largest, trusted cash and liquidity managers in the industry.

Danuser was born in Colorado and received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Phuong Do

Grants Administrative Associate | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

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.

Come to Phuong for information about the DESCI Community Housing program and talk about photography!

Contact Phuong 

Valerie Fields

Valerie Fields

Assistant Controller | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

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 health care industry.

Contact Valerie 

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Ember Flores

Information Technology Analyst | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

As an Information Technology Analyst, Ember’s focus and personal mission is to provide engaging, positive technology support along with secure, reliable, and user-friendly system architecture to Denver Foundation staff and members. She has over a decade of experience in information technology, software development, and leadership. She has previously served as a member and volunteer for several regional LGBTQIA+ support organizations. She has a strong passion and background in diverse social change organizing and enjoys music production, filmmaking, and street art in her spare time.

Contact Ember 

Maritza Gutierrez

Maritza Gutierrez

Bilingual Front Desk Coordinator | Operational Excellence

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Priya Hariharan

Accountant | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

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 the University of Colorado, Denver. Priya is also a professional musician, specializing in Indian Classical music.

Come to Priya with accounting-related queries, external audit confirmation requests, and to share Indian music recommendations and Indian cooking suggestions!

Contact Priya 

Sharon Harper

Sharon Harper

Senior Director of Scholarships | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

Sharon Harper is the senior director of 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 M.A. 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.

Contact Sharon 

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Jess Harvat

Communications Director | Communications

Pronouns: he/him

Come to Jess for cross-promotional opportunities, strategic communications planning, and recommendations for the best backcountry spots in Colorado. 

As the Communications Director, Jess Harvat believes in the power of connecting with communities through meaningful messaging. Understanding how and where to reach individuals, and what motivates them to take action is a key part of his role. Jess has two decades of proven marketing experience in Colorado, serving as a Communications and Marketing Director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as Senior Marketing Manager positions in the ski, and oil and gas industries, respectively. He has developed multiple, nationally recognized ad campaigns. This experience provides Jess with a unique understanding of the nuance needed to reach various audiences with authentic, culturally considerate messages. 

Contact Jess 

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Amy Hendricks

Executive Assistant | Executive

Pronouns: she/her

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.

Contact Amy

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Collin Hiew

Engaged Philanthropy Officer | Impact

Pronouns: he/him

Come to Collin if you are interested in opening a donor-advised fund, finding ways to support the Denver community, learning about the Community Grants Program process, or cooking tips and restaurant recommendations.

As an engaged philanthropy officer, Collin works directly with individuals, businesses, and nonprofits to create charitable funds and achieve impact in the community. Collin coordinates the education and transportation priority areas for the Community Grants Program.

Before coming to The Denver Foundation, Collin worked at various local nonprofits in water and environmental work, food justice and equity work, and international language and culture exchange. When he is not supporting donors and nonprofits, he likes to cook and eat; go outside hiking, camping, and biking; and play guitar.

Contact Collin

Rob Hill

Rob Hill

Director of Human Resources | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: he/him

Come to Rob for human resources questions and podcast recommendations.

As the Director of Human Resources, Rob is passionate about helping people do their best work. In his role, he leads the Human Resources function and manages all aspects of the employee life cycle. Prior to joining the foundation, Rob spent his career leading teams and managing plant operations for automotive manufacturing companies in South Carolina and Alabama.

Contact Rob 

Sachi Ishida

Sachi Ishida

Director of Operational Excellence | Operational Excellence

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Sachi if you want to discuss the implementation of best practices to do our work effectively and efficiently. 

Originally from Chicago-land, 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 Operational Excellence at the foundation. Sachi manages operations related to the foundation’s workflows, processes, and databases. She also develops reporting and metrics on the foundation’s activities and functions. 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!).

Contact Sachi 

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Yewande Jegede

Senior Accountant | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

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 and enjoys going on hikes, spending time at the 16th Street Mall, and visiting the city’s museums.

Contact Yewande 

Mara Kelly

Mara Kelly

Senior Director of Engaged Philanthropy | Impact

Anne Kerwin

Anne Kerwin

Grants Administration Associate for Donor-Advised Funds | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

As the 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, and 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.

Contact Anne 

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Abigail Kesner

Vice President of Communications | Communications

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Abigail for anything about communications at The Denver Foundation, including requesting someone for a speech or being placed on our communications vendor list. You can also ask her for her latest book recommendations.

As VP of Communications, Abigail helps the organization use the power of communications to positively impact our community. 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 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. When not working, Abigail is an avid reader and enjoys cooking and traveling with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Contact Abigail 

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Damir Kocer

Operational Excellence Analyst | Operational Excellence

Pronouns: he/him

Come to Damir to discuss how to make work easier.

Damir Kocer believes good work starts with an open mind, and that belief empowers his work as the operational excellence analyst. With experience in project management, systems implementation, and user experience, he builds processes that make the work of The Denver Foundation smoother, simpler, and, at the end of the day, more impactful. Hailing from the sustainability industry, Damir is dedicated to improving the world around him, from his local community to the planet. In his personal time, you’ll often find Damir covered in dirt from his garden (or from his dogs), or somewhere deep in the mountains.

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Dr. Janet Lopez

Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships & Learning | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

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.

Contact Janet 

Maureen Millmore

Maureen Millmore

Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Maureen to discuss family philanthropy and multi-generational giving as well as participatory grantmaking and community wealth-building.

As a Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer, Maureen works directly with individuals, businesses, and nonprofits to create charitable funds and achieve impact in the community. Maureen also coordinates the economic opportunity and transportation priority areas for the Community Grants Program.

Maureen has spent over a decade working in philanthropy. She started her career as a major gifts fundraiser in New York City and then supported personal philanthropy at a private family office in Denver. She holds a B.A. in Art History and Economics from Mount Holyoke College and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. When not working with grantee partners and donors, Maureen can be found hiking, obsessively reading about interior design, and traveling whenever possible.

Contact Maureen

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Jasmine Moisides

Special Funds Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

As a Special Funds Officer, Jasmine works as a frontline community engagement specialist with donors and nonprofits to achieve annual grantmaking goals that optimize community impact. She has 15+ years of experience working in non-profit leadership, grants, fundraising, stewardship, board development, and events, most recently working with the Purdue Research Foundation. Jasmine holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology and an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies.

She enjoys live music, travel, people dedicated to social justice, conversations about food, running at a moderate pace, documentaries, and dogs.

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Lindsay Mott

Gifts & Grants Specialist | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

As the Gifts and Grants Specialist, Lindsay Mott is responsible for supporting the administration and execution of the foundation’s gifts and grants processes. She has been in the nonprofit sector for five years, was born and raised in Colorado, and plans to live here forever.

Lindsay loves living here and is committed to helping improve the community! Outside of work, she loves to explore the beautiful mountains with her husband, kids, and dogs.

Contact Lindsay

Lindsay Nason

Lindsay Nason

Senior Communications Officer | Communications

Pronouns: she/her

As the Senior Communications Officer, Lindsay oversees the development and implementation of the content plan at The Denver Foundation. Her professional experience includes content strategy, storytelling, brand management, marketing analytics, and digital marketing. Throughout her career, she has led marketing campaigns for organizations in the nonprofit and private sectors, including USA Swimming and Trimble Geospatial. She also has a background in international development working in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps. Lindsay is passionate about creating communication strategies that elevate diverse perspectives, build deeper connections with audiences, and enhance clarity and accessibility.

When not working, you can find Lindsay running, tending to her garden, or escaping to the mountains to go skiing, camping, or mountain biking.

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Chelsea Ordiway

Accounting Specialist | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

As the Accounting Specialist, Chelsea plays a pivotal role in issuing grant, scholarship, and invoice payments. She provides administrative and general support across the Finance and Accounting team. Beyond her professional responsibilities, Chelsea is deeply committed to a wide range of social justice causes, which have been the driving force in her journey to the nonprofit industry. Additionally, she embraces her neurodivergent identities, understanding the positive impact sharing her unique perspectives and experiences has on her community.

Contact Chelsea

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Ben Perry

Senior Director of Philanthropic Investments | Impact

Pronouns: he/him

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 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.

Contact Ben 

Dana Perry

Dana Perry

Senior Gifts & Grants Officer | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

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 a UN-affiliated University in Costa Rica. She has experience working side-by-side with 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.

Contact Dana 

 

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David Portillo

Strengthening Neighborhoods & Technical Assistance Officer | Impact

Pronouns: he/him

David Portillo is the officer for the Strengthening Neighborhoods and Technical Assistance Programs at The Denver Foundation. Before joining the foundation in 1999, David was director of the local social-change nonprofit, Movimiento Poder. 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 – all attended 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 in the community.

Contact David 

Joshua Ryines

Josh Ryines

Reisher Scholarship Officer | Impact

Pronouns: he/him

Josh joined The Denver Foundation after nearly a decade of working in higher education. As the Reisher Scholarship Officer, Josh believes in the impact of scholarships! He has served as a conduit to uplift and empower students to degree completion. He graduated from the Metropolitan State University of Denver with a degree in Speech Communications.

He is dedicated to improving access to scholarships and highlighting the interconnected role we all play in student success. Josh is pivotal in the expansion of the Reisher Scholars Program among the several statewide partner institutions. When not working, Josh enjoys hearing the stories of others, hiking, and watching movies.

Contact Josh

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Taeler Sanchez

Foundation Services Coordinator | Executive

Pronouns: she/her

Taeler was born and raised in Dallas, TX, and just recently moved to the Denver area. She graduated with a B.A. in Art History, and has 10 years of experience in the art world, in both for-profit and nonprofit museums, and art service companies.

For 2.5 years, Taeler worked in the education department at a nonprofit art museum in Dallas. As an educator, one of her main goals was to facilitate programs and tours that would make art more accessible to the public. Taeler knew when she was making her move to Denver that she wanted to continue a career in the nonprofit world in order to be a part of positive change in the community.

She’s very excited to be working at The Denver Foundation, and her hobbies include hiking and camping, going to concerts, and hanging out with her cat, Penny.

Contact Taeler

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Gabriela Severino

Communications Coordinator | Communications

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Gabriela for digital communications strategies, bilingual communication efforts, assistance proofreading written content, and to find out everything there is to know about the tropical Dominican Republic!

As the Bilingual Communications Coordinator, Gabriela Severino plays a vital support role in achieving the communications goals and objectives of The Denver Foundation. With a degree in Communication and Advertising, she believes in the importance of building relationships with people of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and cultures through the powerful tools of communication strategies.

When not working, Gabriela is an avid reader, self-published author, an enjoyer of a good coffee, and a recent cat mom!

Contact Gabriela

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Russ Shaw

Philanthropic Investments Manager | Impact

Russ Shaw supports the foundation’s Philanthropic Investment programs primarily with Advisor Managed Donor Advised Funds and its Impact Investing portfolio.

Russ has 25 years of philanthropic experience in wealth and fiduciary management, planned, major, and annual giving, campaign management, special events, organizational leadership, and community board membership. He spent a decade facilitating the financial management curriculum for the Regis MNM program, is active in the cohort selection process for the Institute for Leaders in Development, and serves as a mentor to rising philanthropic leaders. His community board service includes Bicycle Colorado, where he is the current President, as well as past positions with the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable and Work Options for Women.

He earned a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Regis University, and held the Chartered Advisory in Philanthropy (CAP®) designation. Russ is originally from Texas but has called Colorado home since 1994. He lives in Central Park, serving on his neighborhood HOA board.

Contact Russ

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Trenyese Shields

Events Specialist | Communications

Trenyese is a highly experienced events professional with a B.A. in Communication from the University of West Florida and a portfolio that includes renowned large-scale events such as The Department of Defense Warrior Games Challenge, Taste of Colorado 2021, 9NEWS Parade of Lights, and Luxury Travel Experiences, among others. Trenyese has immersed herself in the Denver community, understanding its unique dynamics and needs.

Her globetrotting spirit not only broadens her horizons but also fuels her desire to bring people together for unforgettable experiences and events. Trenyese also enjoys being home in Colorado when not traveling, where she enjoys skiing, snowboarding, hiking, reading, attending concerts, and hanging with friends and her dog.

Contact Trenyese

Andrea Shultz

Andrea Shultz

Senior Engaged Philanthropy Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Andrea if you are opening a Donor-Advised Fund, researching organizations to support through your Donor-Advised Fund, learning about the Community Grants Program process, and determining if your organization aligns with the priority areas in The Denver Foundation’s strategic framework. 

Andrea comes to The Denver Foundation with a breadth of nonprofit 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 dog, Schatzi.

Contact Andrea 

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Christine Snyder

Associate Engaged Philanthropy Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Christine for fundraising opportunities, community engagement, and participatory grantmaking.

Christine is our associate engaged philanthropy officer, responsible for developing nonprofit relationships and promoting collaboration between donors and grantees. She also coordinates the housing and environment priority areas for the Community Grants Program. Christine received her Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Rachel

Rachel Spory-Leek

Senior Gift Planning Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

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 nonprofit 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.

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Ladawn

LaDawn Sullivan

Executive Director of the BRIC Fund | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

LaDawn’s 25+ years of work and accomplishments are in the DNA of the modern Denver Foundation. As Executive Director for the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund, she works collaboratively with BRIC’s Advisory Board to support nonprofit organizations that are led by and serve Black communities. LaDawn is an influencer, innovator, and coalition builder. She works to strengthen and expand the pipeline of BIPOC leadership, address social Injustice, and create racially equitable communities. She uses her expertise in community engagement and inclusive emerging leadership practices in all her internal and external work.

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Carolyn Thornton

Carolyn Thornton

Facilities & Operations Manager | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: she/her

Carolyn Thornton is the Facility & Operations Manager at Casa Grande, The Denver Foundations’ newest home. She has extensive work experience with local nonprofits, serving on the facility & management committees to maintain property values and improvements. Carolyn’s free time is usually spent anywhere outdoors in Colorado.

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Claire Tobin

Major Gifts Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Claire to learn how your investment in The Denver Foundation works to strengthen our community for a stronger, more equitable future and to understand why your gift matters!  

As Major Gift Officer for The Denver Foundation, Claire works to offer personalized support to make each donor’s philanthropic goals a reality. With more than a decade of experience in nonprofit fundraising in the Denver Metro area, Claire’s goal is to enhance the community’s philanthropic landscape by inviting all to celebrate in the joy of giving by leaving a lasting legacy to the organizations they love most.  

Claire holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. 

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Brian

Brian Van Vleet

Senior Director of Information Technology | Finance, Infrastructure, and Technology

Pronouns: he/him

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.

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Julie Voyles

Julie Voyles

Senior Special Funds Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

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.  

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Natalie Waddington

Natalie Waddington

Associate Scholarships Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her
Dace 2021 Headshot

Dace West

Chief Impact Officer | Impact

Pronouns: she/her

Come to Dace to discuss leadership of the Impact Group, which includes donor services, all grantmaking, impact investing, professional advisors, scholarships, public policy, and evaluation and learning. Dace can also talk with you about the foundation’s community priorities, the business model, the organizational structure, and our racial equity work.

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.

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Tim W

Tim Wilmot

Director of Engaged Learning | Impact

Pronouns: he/him

Come to Tim to know more about how we collect feedback, evaluate our outcomes, and learn together.

New to Denver, Tim brings to the foundation 15 years of experience directing learning and evaluation in community and private foundations around the U.S. He works to center the perspectives of those at the heart of our work and to measure and report on outcomes. Tim earned his Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in economics with honors from Eckerd College. 

Outside of work, he enjoys reading, writing, coffee shops, volunteering with LGBTQ+ and youth development organizations, and hiking and camping year-round with friends and his dog Maggie.