In Memoriam Sheila Bugdanowitz

“We’re about empowering people…to do the work that they need to do — that they are passionate about — to make our communities better.”
— Sheila Bugdanowitz, President and CEO of Rose Community Foundation (1998 – 2016)

Sheila Bugdanowitz was Rose Community Foundation’s second president and CEO. She stewarded the organization from 1998 until her death in 2016 at the age of 72. Her leadership shaped what Rose Community Foundation is today.

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 and policies that were based on clear-eyed understanding of community issues and that embraced innovation to make long-term, systemic change for the better.

Under Sheila’s leadership, Rose Community Foundation made significant and ongoing investments in the following programs and approaches:

  • Basic support services for older adults, along with programs that help them leverage their skills and experience to continue to be vital members of our community
  • Two-generation approaches which ensure young children grow up in safe, nurturing environments at home and in child care settings, and that families are supported in ways that help them become economically self-sufficient
  • School reform and teacher quality, including investments that support innovation in school structure, teacher compensation and district measurement of success
  • Improvements in access to quality health care for all children, including high-quality mental health services that will allow them to be healthy, thriving adults
  • Philanthropic experiences for Jewish teens and young adults that provide hands-on philanthropic experiences, that build community leaders
  • Clear standards for Jewish programs that connect Jewish people to their community, including families with young children, teens and young adults

Sheila led an effort to build endowments, charitable bequests and planned giving in the Denver and Boulder Jewish communities. Through the Endowment Challenge and Live On: Build Your Jewish Legacy, many local Jewish institutions have built a more secure future.

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.

The Sheila Bugdanowitz Leadership Development Award Fund

Many who knew Sheila continue to make contributions to the Foundation in her memory. Colleagues, friends and family decided the most meaningful way to honor Sheila’s legacy is to use those funds to establish an award program.

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 will recognize, empower and support emerging nonprofit professionals in the Greater Denver community doing work that furthers the Foundation’s mission and priorities. Through the award, we will remember and honor Sheila for years to come.

If you would like to contribute, you can make a gift in Sheila’s honor to this award fund. Gifts can be made online (please select the Sheila Bugdanowitz Leadership Development Award in the drop down menu) or sent to 600 South Cherry Street, Suite 1200, Denver, CO 80246 (please add Sheila’s name in the memo line of the check).

Sheila Bugdanowitz named Outstanding Professional Grantmaker at 2014 National Philanthropy Day in Colorado:

Remembering Sheila: