Livingston Fellows take nonprofits from success to significance

If ever there was a dream come true for a cash-strapped nonprofit leader just itching to expand his or her horizons, it’s to become a Livingston Fellow. Established in 2005 as an initiative of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Livingston Fellowships are awarded annually to five individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership and who commit to using their $25,000 award to make even more significant contributions to the world around them. Or, in the words of foundation president Gary Steuer: “To move from success to significance.”

Those selected, Steuer says, have “already accomplished so much for this community. The fellowship enables them to deepen their leadership capacity in a multitude of ways, making an even more profound difference in their organizations and the lives of Coloradans.”

The 2016 awardees are Terrell Curtis, executive director of The Delores Project, Denver’s largest provider of overnight shelter and transitional services for unaccompanied women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness; Jami Duffy, executive director of Youth on Record, a nonprofit organization founded by the Flobots (a Denver-based band) to teach kids about music and art; Andrea Kalivas Fulton, deputy director and chief marketing officer of the Denver Art Museum; Francisco “Cisco” Gallardo, a former gang member who has spent the past 20 years helping young people redefine their own lives, currently in his role as program director for the Gang Rescue and Support Project; and Michael Niyompong, chief operating officer at Clayton Early Learning, a nonprofit that in 2015 provided high-quality early care and education to 17,000 children across the state.

They were introduced at a luncheon that also included presentation of the 2016 Bonfils-Stanton Awards — often referred to as Colorado’s Nobel Prizes — to three who have made unparalleled contributions in the fields of community service, science and medicine, and the arts: architect Curt Fentress, philanthropist and oil and gas industry leader Merle Chambers and Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Each Bonfils-Stanton Award comes with a $35,000 cash “reward” to be used however the recipient chooses. Chambers surprised Children’s Museum president Mike Yankovich, a Livingston Fellow in 2011, by announcing she was donating hers to the museum.

To date, 55 nonprofit principals have become Livingston Fellows.

One of the first, 2005 Livingston Fellow Jamie Van Leeuwen, now senior adviser to Gov. John Hickenlooper, used his grant to visit Uganda and Rwanda, where after seeing firsthand the need for people “to do more listening and thinking before acting,” he created the Global Livingston Institute. Its purpose is to engage students and community leaders in the U.S. and East Africa to rethink their approach to international development.

2016 Bonfils-Stanton Award Recipients

Curt Fentress, a Denver architect who has transformed the skylines of cities around the world and is perhaps best known locally for his design of Denver International Airport, Mile High Stadium and the Colorado Convention Center. His designs have received some 500 awards for their beauty, functionality and sense of place.

Merle Chambers, who pioneered women’s leadership in the oil and gas industries and was the first woman inducted into the Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Hall of Fame. She established the Chambers Family Fund to support the early care and education of children, and to promote justice, equality, opportunity and women’s economic self-sufficiency.

Children’s Hospital Colorado, for incorporating art into the healing process. The Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy program, for example, allows children and their families to heal mind, body and spirit through music, dance and yoga therapies. The hospital also hosts some 90 performing arts events per year, hosting artists from Colorado Ballet, Opera Colorado and others for the enjoyment of patients, their families and staff.


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