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.

Read moreEmotional secretary of state knows nonprofits make a difference

Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne hits the ground running — and dancing

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne after she visited his office today. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne after she visited his office today. (SOS photo)

Colorado’s newest lieutenant governor has already appointed a judge, learned how to do the Ute tribal bear dance and reached out to her other colleagues in the executive branch, including Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne has met with Williams, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Treasurer Walker Stapleton, as well as various lawmakers and cabinet secretaries.

“I want to extend my hand and my ear,” Lynne said, after her meeting today with the secretary of state in his office.

“I appreciate Donna’s reaching out,” Williams said, “and I look forward to working with her to help Colorado government offer better service to its citizens.”

Read moreColorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne hits the ground running — and dancing

Colorado’s elected leaders reflect at prayer luncheon

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Denver City Council members Debbie Ortega and Albus Brooks at the Colorado Prayer Luncheon Thursday. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Denver City Council members Debbie Ortega and Albus Brooks at the Colorado Prayer Luncheon Thursday. (SOS photo)

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and other elected officials on Thursday participated in the 29th annual Colorado Prayer Luncheon, which attracted nearly 1,000 people..

The featured speaker at the event was Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS picture)
State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS picture)

Among those present at the Colorado Convention Center’s Four Seasons Ballroom were Gov. John Hickenlooper, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton and former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton.

State lawmakers as well as members of the Denver City Council also attended.

“It was wonderful to have gathered together people from many different dominations,” Williams said. “I know I appreciate the prayers from Coloradans.

AG Cynthia Coffman joins Secretary Wayne Williams in pushing for easier charity registrations

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman today at a charities conference in Denver.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman today at a charities conference in Denver.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams described Colorado’s online registration for charities today as a model for what could be done with a national one-stop shop filing portal for charities.

He and staffer Chris Cash addressed the National Association of Attorneys General’s Charities Committee, which is holding-a two day seminar in Denver. Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is co-chair of NAAG’s new Charities Committee.

Williams’ talk was briefly delayed because a fire alarm sounded and the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Building was evacuated. When the group returned, Williams used the event to tout Colorado’s spring weather.

Read moreAG Cynthia Coffman joins Secretary Wayne Williams in pushing for easier charity registrations

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