Rose Medical Center and Creation of the Foundation

For nearly 25 years, Rose Community Foundation has supported the Greater Denver community through grantmaking and stewardship of donor and nonprofit assets. Rose Community Foundation was chartered as a community foundation in 1995 and endowed with initial assets of more than $170 million from the sale of Rose Medical Center, a beloved hospital created by the Denver Jewish community in 1949.

Following World War II, as discriminatory practices lingered and Denver’s population boomed, the Denver Jewish community saw a need for a hospital to serve the entire community – in all its diversity – with a commitment to excellence in care. When Rose Medical Center opened its doors, it was the first hospital in Denver to allow physicians to practice regardless of their race or religion.

Rose Community Foundation has always been an independent nonprofit entity separate from the hospital, but we proudly carry on the legacy of the hospital founders’ tradition of philanthropy, nondiscrimination and commitment to serving residents and enhancing the quality of life across the Greater Denver region.

Rose Community Foundation’s founding President & CEO Don Kortz explained: “We went to the community to find out where they wanted the funds to be used. From that, we created five original program areas of Aging, Child and Family Development, Education, Health and Jewish Life. Over the years the Foundation’s strategies and priorities have evolved – and will continue to evolve – to meet the changing needs of the Greater Denver community.”

Sheila Bugdanowitz

Sheila Bugdanowitz was Rose Community Foundation’s second president and CEO. She stewarded the organization from 1998 until her death in 2016.

As the Foundation’s long-serving leader, Sheila embodied its values of philanthropy, justice and nondiscrimination and its mission to make the Greater Denver community a better place. She supported and encouraged her staff to invest in programs that were based on clear-eyed understanding of community issues and embraced innovation.

Sheila was legendary for her deep connections and relationships, many of which dated back to her childhood in Denver. She brought people together to make the community a better place for all, and she dedicated her life to improving the world around her.

Sheila Bugdanowitz Leadership Development Award

Sheila was energetic about mentoring and guiding emerging leaders in the nonprofit community. To honor Sheila and continue her work, we established the Sheila Bugdanowitz Leadership Development Award. This annual award recognizes emerging nonprofit professionals in the Greater Denver community doing work that furthers the Foundation’s mission. Through the award, we will remember and honor Sheila for years to come.

If you would like to contribute to the award fund, gifts can be made online (please select the Sheila Bugdanowitz Leadership Development Award) or sent to 600 South Cherry Street, Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80246 (please add Sheila’s name in the check memo line).