On November 27, Rose Community Foundation welcomed our new president and CEO, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent. Lindy comes to us from the nonprofit Civic Center Conservancy, where she has served as executive director since 2009. Prior to her leadership at the Civic Center Conservancy, she served served as communications director and senior advisor for then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.
In both her previous roles, Lindy developed a deep and broad understanding of the Greater Denver community and the issues facing it. She has also worked to build partnerships between government, nonprofit and business entities to pursue shared goals.
She was happy to answer some questions about coming to Rose Community Foundation so we can all get to know her a little better.
What did you learn about Denver while working for then-Mayor John Hickenlooper?
I learned that Denver is a city where local issues transcend partisan lines, and nonpartisan approaches to problem-solving that engage people of diverse viewpoints and backgrounds yield results. I also experienced the power of collaborative partnerships to create effective and sustainable change. It is not about one jurisdiction, one sector or one organization – it is about what we can all accomplish by working together and strategically aligning our resources, expertise, constituencies and voices to make a meaningful impact.
When you look back at your time at the Civic Center Conservancy, what accomplishments make you most proud?
In an effort to transform Civic Center’s safety and reputation, we set out to give more people more reasons to visit Civic Center Park more often through creative urban placemaking. I am proud that initiatives like the Civic Center EATS food truck lunches and the annual Independence Eve concert and fireworks have become iconic and beloved community traditions. They have created a personal connection to Civic Center for many people, and hopefully we are cultivating the next generation of stewards for this historic asset. In these polarizing times, providing shared spaces where different people from different backgrounds can come together for shared experiences is more important than ever.
What are some specific things you love about Denver?
Two months after we got married, my husband and I moved to Denver sight unseen. That was more than 15 years ago, but we are still amazed by how quickly we felt at home and rooted in the community. I have always loved that Denver is very open to new people and new ideas. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how long you have lived here or what your last name is – if you are willing to work hard and engage with the community, this is a place of tremendous opportunity and warmth. We feel blessed to raise our two “first-generation Coloradans” here.
How have you connected with philanthropy in your work with the City and County of Denver and the Civic Center Conservancy?
Government and nonprofits have limited resources, but community needs and opportunities cannot just wait on the sidelines. From addressing chronic homelessness to launching sustainability efforts to improving educational outcomes and access, so many initiatives that were launched at the City would not have been possible without the generous support and partnership of the philanthropic sector. At the Conservancy, I experienced firsthand the make-or-break difference that investments from foundations can make when funders strategically invest resources, expertise and credibility into helping organizations build capacity, leverage additional opportunities and develop sustainable approaches to systemic change.
What about leading Rose Community Foundation most excites you?
From the Rose Community Foundation staff, board members past and present, and committees to donors, philanthropic partners and grantees – I am excited about the people with whom the Foundation works, collaborates and serves. From the Foundation’s longstanding efforts around Aging, Child and Family Development, Education, Health, and Jewish Life, to its newer investments responding to issues affecting immigrants, refugees and populations at risk of hate crimes, to whatever the future may hold after our forthcoming strategic planning process – I am excited to lead in a values-driven environment with issues and opportunities that feed both the soul and the mind and carry tremendous potential for positive change in the Greater Denver community.