Colorado’s nonprofits: “You inspire us all to make America kind again”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by two award winners, Bruce Deboskey and Rep. Yeulin Willett, R-Grand Junction, at the Colorado Nonprofit Association lunch today. (SOS )

By Lynn Bartels
and Julia Sunny

One of the most touching events every year is the Colorado Nonprofit Association lunch and awards ceremony, where it becomes evident the kind of impact nonprofit groups make in our state.

“They truly help us remember what is important in the community,” Treasurer Walker Stapleton said.

He handed out one of the awards recognizing nonprofit work. Several recipients, including Nancy Sundeen, the director of the Pitkin County Health and Human Services, choked up when accepting their honors. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams presented Sundeen with the Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award.

Renny Fagan, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, before the start of today’s award ceremony. (SOS photo)

Today’s lunch kicked off Colorado NonProfit Week. The agenda includes a day at the legislature, trips to the Western Slope and “Pay it Forward Friday.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a former brewpub owner, said when he ran for Denver mayor in 2003 he didn’t have any “traditional constituencies” but he had served on 42 nonprofit boards and committees in the previous 12 years. Members often met in a room at the brewery, he said.

“I think that constituency is amazingly powerful and I think all of you need to recognize that with social media you do have a voice,” the governor said. “We are in tumultuous times but you inspire us all to make America kind again.”

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Secretary Wayne Williams kicks off City Club of Denver fall series

Secretary of State Wayne Williams will speak at City Club of Denver Sept. 13. (SOS photo)
Secretary of State Wayne Williams will speak at City Club of Denver Sept. 13. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams will be the first speaker at the City Club of Denver when it resumes its guest programs this month.

Williams will discuss the upcoming election, including the race for president and citizen-initiated ballot measures, as well as possible legislation in the 2017 legislative session. Afterward he will answer questions.

The event will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Brown Palace. Click here to register for the lunch.

The City Club of Denver formed in 1922 when a group of businessman began meeting to discuss civic affairs. Since then, women have joined in and the organization has become an “active and influential source of knowledge about issues affecting metropolitan Denver,” according to its website.

Because many issues have political implications, politicians are frequent presenters at City Club, including Denver’s mayor in the fall and the governor the first of the year.

“One issue that we are struggling with and is reflective of the larger environment is polarization in politics,” said June Twinam, president of the City Club of Denver. “CCD is non-partisan and has always tried to present a spectrum or balance of opinions. However, during the last few years, this has become very difficult to get political rivals to agree to appear together and/or on a panel together — even with a skilled moderator.”

She said one reason she is “personally interested” in Williams’ presentation is “his reputation for fairness in discharging his public duties despite his personal preferences.”

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Colorado welcomes a new lieutenant governor

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Gov. John Hickenlooper flank new Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne after she was sworn into office May 12 at the state Capitol. (Bernard Grant/Special to the SOS)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Gov. John Hickenlooper flank new Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne after she was sworn into office May 12 at the state Capitol. (Bernard Grant/Special to the SOS)

Donna Lynne officially became Colorado’s 49th lieutenant governor after she took the oath of office at the state Capitol in front of friends, family and a whole lot of political folks.

Lynne told Gov. John Hickenlooper during the ceremony on Thursday it was a good thing he didn’t choose her as his running mate when he first ran for governor in 2010 because her maiden name was Schleinkofer.  The idea of a Hickenlooper-Schleinkofer ticket got a laugh during the light-hearted ceremony.

Hickenlooper picked Joe Garcia, the president of Colorado State University-Pueblo,  to run with him on the Democratic ticket, and the pair was re-elected in 2014. Garcia announced last fall he was returning to education, and Hickenlooper in March announced Lynne would  succeed Garcia.

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