Rose Medical Center and Creation of the Foundation

For over 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. The hospital was named after celebrated military hero Major General Maurice Rose.

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.

Don Kortz

Don Kortz served as the Foundation’s founding president and CEO from 1995 – 1998. Kortz was chairman of the Rose hospital board of directors when its members made the decision to sell the hospital. Kortz agreed to take a leave of absence from his career in commercial real estate to lead the new Foundation. Following his term as president and CEO, Don served on the Foundation’s board of trustees, health committee and philanthropic services committee.

Don was a forward-thinking champion of service, philanthropy and healthy communities. In the Foundation’s inaugural newsletter to the community in November 1995, Don wrote, “If time has taught us anything, it is the power of one generation’s decisions to impact the lives of the next.”

Sheila Bugdanowitz

Sheila Bugdanowitz was Rose Community Foundation’s second president and CEO. She stewarded the organization from 1998 until her death in 2016. Sheila embodied the Foundation’s 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, and was energetic about mentoring emerging leaders in the nonprofit community. To honor Sheila, the Foundation established the Sheila Bugdanowitz Leadership Development Award. If you would like to contribute to the award fund, gifts can be made online.