May 2021
Reflections from the President
Some people love being in front of a camera or in control of a microphone; I do not. While I usually have thoughts to share and plenty to say about the generosity or our donors and the wonderful work of the nonprofits we fund, I am less comfortable being in a public spotlight of a camera, having always shied away from the limelight. Leading our Community Foundation is more of a behind-the-scenes, supportive kind of job.

So I took a deep breath when I was asked to be interviewed on camera by the CMU communications team putting together a video tribute for my colleague and friend, Dan Sharp. I pulled myself and some thoughts together to share at the CMU Alumni Awards dinner (small and low key this year as we are coming out of COVID) about this man who is deeply committed to child hunger in our community and providing healthy and nourishing foods to the children of D51.

It is easier for me to say here - in written reflections - how well-deserved the CMU Alumni of the Year recognition is for both Dan Sharp and Robert Bray. These men lead very different organizations but they share a deep passion for basic needs and a commitment to their community. Dan works in the area of hunger and food insecurity; Robert's philanthropic passion is housing.

Both men share something else in common in that they are actively involved in the work of our Community Foundation. In addition to his own job designing innovative programs to address hunger for the 52% of school children in our district who are eligible for free or reduced price breakfast and lunch, and increasing the quality and nutrition of snack and cafeteria offerings, Dan has been a leader and a linch pin in the Mesa County Hunger Alliance as we develop and implement a comprehensive action plan to end hunger. Our foundation has received several generous grants from the Colorado Health Foundation to facilitate the local planning process, one that has garnered statewide attention; Dan is very much part of the vision and success of our local efforts.

The Bray name is synonymous with real estate and housing in this community. Several years ago, Robert approached our Community Foundation about his ideas to start the Bray Cares Foundation and partner with us to provide grantmaking administration and investment services. It has been a pleasure to work with Robert, his son Kevin, and President Lynn Thompson as they become grantmaking pros, reviewing proposals and awarding grants in the area of homeless and affordable housing needs and nonprofit solutions here in Mesa County.

Hooray and congratulations to this year's CMU Distinguished Alums! And hooray and thank you for ALL our partners, donors, and friends who work with and through our Community Foundation to pursue their philanthropic interests and make this community better for all.
-- Anne Wenzel