Archive for December, 2016

“You make a difference”: Remembering Sheila Bugdanowitz

  • December 9, 2016
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Sometimes you wish you could bottle up an experience and spread it everywhere. Rewind it and watch it again. Really absorb all the goodness and pass it on to others.6170683380_753fce98e2_o

This is how I felt driving away from an extraordinary funeral at Temple Emanuel on Tuesday afternoon. And this is how I feel now — sifting through old emails, jogging memories of my many brief encounters and long conversations with Sheila Rae Bugdanowitz. As her former communications guru Phil Nash said in a Facebook post this week: “It seemed like everyone who knew Sheila felt that their friendship was special . . . Her rich and complex life was guided by a simple one-word principle: Relationships.”

I had seen Sheila at events but really first met her in person when she greeted me for my interview for the Executive Director opening at Colorado Association of Funders. She was chairing the search committee and immediately hugged me and put me at ease in the lobby of the Gill Foundation before she took me back to meet with a dozen other CEOs who would be peppering me with questions, instead of the other way around.

Sheila was a go-to source years earlier when I was covering business and philanthropy at the Rocky Mountain News. I once called her to dish some personal details about her long-time friend Barry Hirschfeld for a profile I was writing about him. I remember her telling me about his collection of hundreds of “Swatch” watches and noting that he was always late to meetings anyway — even to everyone’s funerals. (For the record, he wasn’t late to your funeral Sheila. He arrived well ahead of schedule and sat in the front row.)

When I learned about Sheila’s sudden passing on Sunday from her good friend Linda Childears, my instant reaction was to weep. All I could think to write in reply in the moment was, “Sheila lived an amazing life. We’ll work to do our part to honor it. For now we cry.”

Entering the sanctuary for the Jewish service was more than cathartic for many of us. Retired Rabbi Steven Foster, who delivered the final remarks, talked about how Sheila made a difference in so many ways. The way to honor her — the way to move beyond grief — was to do the same. “You make a difference,” he urged all of us.

Sheila’s door was literally always open. And the answer to a request was almost always, “yes.” Except when it came to snow days. Rose Community Foundation hosted CAF’s offices for many years and we were privy to “all office” email blasts, weekly staff lunches and even Sheila’s famously personal holiday gifts. Whenever it snowed, however, you could almost always count on a 5:30 a.m. voicemail letting you know the office was open but to drive safely and take your time coming in. She worked hard.

Sheila put a high premium on family and friendship. When she learned of my husband’s Jewish heritage, we were invited to Passover at her home. My then eight-year-old scrawled a drawing for her on a huge piece of flip chart paper and it remained on her office door for weeks. Kids loved spending time at Rose. They were always welcome and they were always guaranteed unlimited access to the bowls of chocolates that Sheila wanted on all the conference and board room tables. Expecting moms could always count on exquisitely planned office showers. There were birthdays and wedding celebrations, going away parties and summer picnics.

There were obviously community issues to champion and tackle along the way in her work at Rose. Education, Early Childhood, Health, Aging and Jewish Life, among many others. And she was devoted to our work at CAF, whether it was as Board Chair, supporting and cheering on our advocacy work every step of the way, or taking on the challenge of chairing our Disaster Philanthropy Task Force and overseeing the long-term flood recovery fund. She assured me that, “If you (CAF) didn’t exist, we’d have to create you.”

Working down the hall from Sheila was a privilege and a blessing. Miraculously, it seemed you barely ever needed an appointment — if you could just catch her in her office. A quick hello often turned into an hour-long talk about life. It’s as Larry Mizel said when he related the story of Sheila informing him that women have 20,000 words they need to use every day. I used many of mine with Sheila over the years.

During one of those talks after both our moms had recently died, she gave me her copy of “Being Mortal.” Yes, we’re all mortal, but we also know that Sheila’s legacy lives on in so many ways. We’ll carry on in our work, but also in nurturing our personal relationships and making everyone feel special, while also wishing we could just have one more hug.

We’re heading back to DC in March for Foundations on the Hill

238865-7cada64a-2591-4483-a408-c776b54c8b20This year we’re headed back to Washington, DC for the annual Foundations on the Hill program. #FOTH17 will be held from March 20-22, and promises to be a memorable experience. We are putting together our Colorado delegation and are looking forward to having some CAF members join us. To join CAF in Washington, DC and discuss your work face-to-face with federal lawmakers please visit the #FOTH17 site and email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Announcing our 2017 officers and new directors

  • December 7, 2016
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Our board slate was unanimously approved by members at our annual meeting on Nov. 9, 2016. Thanks to all who attended.

We are delighted to announce our board officers for 2017:

  • Chair: Mark D. Anderson, Executive Director, Yampa Valley Community Foundation
  • Vice Chair: Amy Latham, Vice President of Philanthropy, The Colorado Health Foundation
  • Secretary: Gary Steuer, President and CEO, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation
  • Treasurer: Ned Calonge, President and CEO, The Colorado Trust
  • Immediate Past Chair: Marla J. Williams, President and CEO, Community First Foundation

The following directors have been elected to a first term starting Jan. 1, 2017 and ending Dec. 31, 2019:

  • Alece Montez-Griego, Director of Programs, Orton Family Foundation
  • Virginia Romano, Managing Director – Programs, Dresner Foundation

The following director has been appointed to fill a vacancy through Dec. 31 2017:

  • Jandel Allen-Davis, Vice President, Government, External Relations and Research, Kaiser Permanente

Continuing on the board by virtue of a previous election:

  • Heather Carroll, President, Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation
  • Anne Garcia, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Rose Community Foundation
  • Ruth Rohs, Executive Director, IMA Foundation
  • Abel Wurmnest, Program Officer, Anschutz Family Foundation

And many thanks to directors completing their board service at the end of 2016:

  • Gary Butterworth, CEO, Pikes Peak Community Foundation
  • Ellen Sandberg, Executive Director, CH2M Foundation
  • Lynne Valencia, Vice President Community Relations, 9News/TEGNA Foundation

Thank you to all of these individuals for their service on behalf of the sector.

Sad news from Rose Community Foundation

Dear Friends of Rose Community Foundation,

On behalf of Rose Community Foundation’s staff and Board of Trustees, I am deeply saddened to share news of the unexpected death on Sunday, of our President and CEO Sheila Bugdanowitz.

Sheila has stewarded the organization since 1998. She embodied the Foundation’s values of philanthropy, justice and non-discrimination and its mission to make the Greater Denver community a better place. Her leadership shaped what Rose Community Foundation is today.

Sheila was legendary for her deep connections and relationships. She brought people together to make the community a better place for all and she dedicated her life to improving the world around her. We grieve the loss of her leadership and her warm and generous spirit, which echoes through the philanthropic community and the community as a whole.

I have appointed Chief Financial and Operating Officer Anne Garcia to serve as Interim President and CEO in order that the Foundation can continue its important work in the Greater Denver community, without interruption. Anne, the staff and the Trustees will ensure the Foundation continues to operate in the ways you have come to expect.

A funeral service in honor of Sheila’s life will be held Tuesday, December 6 at 1:00 p.m. at Temple Emanuel, 51 Grape Street.  More information regarding the service can be found here.

In accordance with her family’s wishes, gifts in Sheila’s honor may be made to Rose Community Foundation online or sent to 600 South Cherry Street, Denver, CO, 80246. You may also send notes or remembrances to Sheila’s family in care of the Foundation at the address above, to the attention of Todd Fahnestock.

Please join me and all the staff and trustees in keeping Sheila’s family in your thoughts and prayers in the days and weeks to come.


Jerry Glick

Chair, Board of Trustees

Rose Community Foundation