Secretary Williams accepts award from Colorado Nonprofit Association

Michael Hartman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, on Tuesday accepted awards from Renny Fagan, right, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, at an association workshop at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel. (SOS photo)

As a statewide elected official, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is regularly asked to present awards during the Colorado Nonprofit Association conferences, but the tables were turned Tuesday when it was Williams up on stage accepting an award from CEO Renny Fagan.

He joined three state lawmakers and another state agency, the Colorado Department of Revenue, who also were honored with Impact Awards for their help passing a bill this year that allows Colorado taxpayers the opportunity to donate all or part of their tax refund to any nonprofit registered in Colorado.

Three lawmakers share a laugh before being honored Tuesday for their work on a bill that allows Coloradans to donate part or all of their income-tax refund to any registered nonprofit. From left to right, Reps. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, and Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver. (SOS photo)

“I think one of the things that Mike Hartman over at the Department of Revenue and I have a common is we’re looking for ways in government to say ‘yes’ as opposed to ways to say ‘no.’ I think both of us are very proud to be a part of this process,” Williams said.

This time, the secretary did not break down.

Also honored was Sen. Lois Court, D-Denver, and Reps. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, and Chris Hansen, D-Denver, who sponsored Senate Bill 141 in the 2018 legislative session.  SB 141 authorizes a new line on the tax form for 2020 called the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund,” which allows Colorado taxpayers to donate part or all of their income-tax refund to any nonprofit registered in Colorado.

The effort was several years in the making.

“We’re all here celebrating a kind of a Super Bowl victory, but we had a couple of losing seasons in this deal,” Wilson said, of his and Court’s initial efforts. “A liberal lady and a conservative cowboy working together, what could go possibly go wrong with that deal?”

Read moreSecretary Williams accepts award from Colorado Nonprofit Association

Emotional secretary of state knows nonprofits make a difference

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, center, with Michelle Majeune, who works with people with developmental disabilities, and Linda Childears, the Daniels Fund president and CEO, at the Colorado Nonprofit Association lunch today. (SOS photo)

The Colorado Nonprofit Association’s annual award lunch has produced its fair share of tears over the years as the community thanks those who make a difference in so many ways, and this year’s catalyst for catharsis was Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Usually, it’s the award recipient who is weepy.

In this case it was Williams, set to hand out an award to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who became so emotional when  praising nonprofit groups that he had to pause for several seconds before he could continue.

“For those who don’t know my two daughters, we learned as they grew that they had significant speech deficiencies,” Williams told a ballroom full of people at the Hilton Denver City Center. “So we worked with The Resource Exchange, one of our great nonprofits in the Colorado Springs area, to provide services for them.”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams became emotional today when talking about the impact of a nonprofit on his family. (SOS photo)

Williams paused, and when he could resume speaking, his voice was thick with emotion.

“In 2013 I had the opportunity to hear the youngest of those daughters give the salutorian address at Rampart High School,” he said, to applause.

“Folks,” Williams said, struggling to continue, “the work that you do makes a real difference in the lives of everyone.”

After the lunch, Williams talked with the Gerry Rasel, director of membership services for the Colorado Nonprofit Association, who told him she cried during his speech.

The Colorado Nonprofit Association exists to strengthen nonprofits. Today was its 23rd annual awards lunch, capping a week of highlighting nonprofit agencies.

Renny Fagan, president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, talks at a reception before today’s awards lunch. (SOS photo)

“Colorado Nonprofit Week is one of our favorite times of the year because it brings all of us together and truly shines a light on the important contributions that happen everyday in communities,” said Renny Fagan, president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association.

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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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Colorado Nonprofit Association honors those who help make their communities better

Lobbyist Ruth Aponte, Christine Marquez-Hudson, the president and CEO of The Denver Foundation, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and lobbyist Edie Busam at the Colorado Nonprofit Association's awards lunch today.
Lobbyist Ruth Aponte, Christine Marquez-Hudson, the president and CEO of The Denver Foundation, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and lobbyist Edie Busam at the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s awards lunch today.

Bill Hana, a fixture at the state Capitol for years, received a standing ovation today when he was awarded the Public Service Lifetime Achievement award from the Colorado Nonprofit Association at its annual awards gala.

Bill Hanna was the recipient today of the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bill Hanna was the recipient today of the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gov. John Hickenlooper presented the award to Hanna, who is crediting with helping “shape the public service, nonprofit and political landscape of Colorado since his arrival in 1971.” Hanna was well known for his legislative work for the state Department of Human Services and now is the legislative liaison for the United Veterans Committee.

Hanna was one of several award recipients today at the lunch, which was held at the Denver Marriott City Center as part of Colorado Nonprofit Association Week. Renny Fagan, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, kicked off the event by noting the the impact of nonprofit organizations on the state.

Renny Fagan, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, and Sen. John Kefalas, who along with Sen. Kent Lambert, were honored as Lawmakers of the Year.
Renny Fagan, the president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, and Sen. John Kefalas, who along with Sen. Kent Lambert, were honored as Lawmakers of the Year.

Sens. John Kefalas, a Fort Collins Democrat, and Kent Lambert, a Colorado Springs Republican, received the Legislator of the Year awards from the group.

Lydia McCoy, board chairwoman of the Colorado Nonprofit Association and executive director of Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation, compared their work to the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

She said sometimes the constant fundraising and other duties can be overwhelming, but think of what Colorado would be like if nonprofit groups were not there to help out their communities.

Read moreColorado Nonprofit Association honors those who help make their communities better