Past Advisory Board Chair and current board member reflects on her core belief in givingLudeman Center Apr 1, 2014
Throughout my adult life I have had a passion for supporting women — setting up college scholarships, funding programs that teach and promote economic independence for women and granting to organizations that provide opportunities for women to become community leaders. So, for me, it was a logical next step to explore the issue of women’s health. Although not closely involved in the early days of the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research, I was kept informed through the work of its first Managing Director Gay Cook. Gay periodically invited input and feedback on the challenges and opportunities of the Center, as she described me as part of her “kitchen cabinet. “ I was interested and honored to be included. It was upon completion of my term as Chair of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado in 2008 that Judi Wagner asked me to consider becoming a Visionary Investor in the Ludeman Center; shortly thereafter, she recommended I join the Advisory Board. After talking with Judi and hearing her passion and after meeting co-founder and Director Judy Regensteiner and hearing her vision, it was with genuine enthusiasm that I said “yes” to both, and I have never looked back. It wasn’t long before I found myself moving into the position as Chair of the Advisory Board. It was a busy and vigorous couple of years as we chose to institutionalize our governance, grow our board, formalize our strategic planning and significantly increase our fundraising in the community. We had a very committed but small board, and we solidified that commitment by challenging ourselves to raise $500,000 necessary to move the Ludeman Center to a new level at the university and in the community. We succeeded and surpassed that goal, mostly from our personal donations, which set an impressive standard of giving for the future. Perhaps it was that successful effort by the full board that created the positive fundraising culture on which we continue to build.
Please share a little about your background, family, education, work and interests.
I grew up in the Midwest with two sisters (no brothers) and a mother who, though she was not able to attend college, raised the three of us to believe that we could do — and become — anything we chose. After obtaining a BS in English and Speech and an MA in Communications, my longest career path was 20 years managing a law firm. As part of that position, I managed a primarily female staff. They were young women who were raising children while they worked to support their families. I observed their challenges and the stress caused by the many demands on them, and how that stress strained their health, both mental and physical. My passion to help women continued to grow.
What motivates you philanthropically? Who inspires you?
My father, with minimal resources, was a role model philanthropist. He set the standard for me, and I am driven, as was he, to support the community in which I live. I contribute first where I have a passion, and then only to those organizations in which I believe I can make a difference — where what I have to offer will have impact. Sometimes the impact is the ability to motivate others, whether it be the leadership, the board, the grantees or the donors. Other times it is impact around the larger issues of determining strategic direction or fund raising demands. I have had many role models, since my father — men, women, older and younger, doctors and patients – but what they all have in common is the desire to make a difference by leaving a positive legacy. I am drawn to those who have a fierce spirit to survive, to live, to lead and to make a difference. They are my inspiration. I work with many of them today at the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research.
Why have you chosen to give your time to Ludeman Center? Why have you chosen to financially support the Ludeman Center?
In my life I’ve been witness to the many ways women influence, drive and lead change in our communities and in the world. One of the best examples is the mission of the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research to transform women’s health, currently in the areas of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The Ludeman Center is not only searching for ways to diagnose, treat and prevent the diseases, but it is training and mentoring the next generation of scientists in women’s health. I understand the timeline can be long to find solutions in science. I am driven to support this work, not to find the answers for my generation, but to “pay it forward” for my children and their children. That’s what I hope will be my legacy.