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New & Next: A Future for Everyone

Rebecca Arno of The Denver Foundation highlights The Fund for Denver.
"#1 in Best Places to Live" -- US News and World Report

"Millennial Madness: Denver Among Top Ten Cities for Young People" -- Denver Business Journal

Metro Denver one of "24 Best Places to Live and Work" -- Sunset Magazine

In 2016, metro Denver is hot.

We're the place where Millennials are flocking by the thousands, having discovered our gorgeous weather and great quality of life. Similarly, Denver has become a hub for emigres from other countries, and for baby boomers seeking an active retirement.

Our dynamic cultural life, diverse communities and rich history combine to make Denver attractive. Yet despite the influx of new residents and a strong economy, there are still many of people in need. As housing prices rise, the number of people who are just one illness or layoff away from losing their homes will follow. As the need for a skilled workforce grows, the importance of graduating from high school and attending some form of technical or higher education grows. Our changing economy drives the need for people to find creative ways to make a living. Across the metro area, leaders are working to ensure their communities take advantage of the positive changes our region is experiencing, while leaving no one behind.  

Fortunately, they have help. There's an organization that was created more than 90 years ago to address the changing needs of metro Denver over time. It is designed both to be nimble and to take the long view. And it is dedicated to the belief that our community is strongest when it offers opportunity for everyone. This organization is the oldest and largest community foundation in metro Denver: The Denver Foundation.

Created in 1925 by such esteemed community members as Judge Ira Rothgerber, J.K. Mullen and Emily Griffith, The Denver Foundation offers a wide variety of ways for generous residents of the area to make a difference in our community. One of the most inspiring and impactful ways that people choose to give is through The Fund for Denver. The Fund for Denver pools resources to address metro Denver's most urgent needs today -- such as more effective educational systems and the need for affordable housing -- and maintains an endowment for the long term, so that future generations have the resources to meet whatever challenges the people of metro Denver might face in years to come.

How does the Foundation decide which needs are most critical? It listens to the community, drawing on the voices and opinions of metro Denver residents, including leaders in the business, community and philanthropic sectors.

"When we combine the community's passion and knowledge with our own, amazing things happen," says Denver Foundation President and CEO, Christine Màrquez-Hudson. "We've been working for metro Denver for 90 years, and the idea of what our region can become fuels our passion to do more. We're excited that people across metro Denver are joining us through giving to The Fund for Denver."

Over generations, The Fund for Denver has grown to more than $100 million, through small gifts and large, all of them critically important to helping our community thrive.

Last year, a Denver transplant named Katie MacWilliams decided that The Fund for Denver was the perfect way for her to give back to the region she had grown to love. Katie moved to Denver more than 30 years ago to work as treasurer for Coors Brewing Company, then later for a successor company to COBE Labs. One year, she received a financial windfall and decided to open a donor-advised fund at The Denver Foundation, later joining the Foundation's Philanthropic Services Committee.

Last year, Katie decided to give a gift to match new contributions to The Fund for Denver. When asked what prompted her to make this generous contribution, she explains, "Simply put, I love what The Denver Foundation represents and does in our community, and I want there to be more of it, both now and for many years to come.

"As a result of my committee service, I learned much more about the work and the priorities that The Denver Foundation pursues directly in our community, taking concrete action to address both issues and opportunities in metro Denver. The Foundation leverages its 90 years of history and experience and uses financial resources from The Fund for Denver to make our community a better place for all of us to live, both today and into the future."

Rebecca Arno is vice president of operations and communications at The Denver Foundation. Visit www.denverfoundation.org to learn more about the work of The Fund for Denver and how you can get involved. A version of this article appeared in the most recent issue of Give Magazine.
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