April 6, 2020
Friends and colleagues,
As Don Meredith often said at the end of Monday Night Football many years ago, “Turn out the lights, the party is over.” On April 17, I will turn out the lights for the last time after 48 years of working in public and environmental health and at the foundation. Little did I know that the last day of my career would correspond to the peak of the worst public health crisis since 1918. Maybe it is a final reminder of the message that my many colleagues and I have been trying to get across for so many years – a strong, collaborative and well-resourced public health system in our country is of vital importance to protect the health of people, the environment and our way of life.
For the last 20 years it has been my honor to be the founding president of the Caring for Colorado Foundation. In this position, I have been able to work with and support the heroes in communities across the state – those individuals working in nonprofits and government agencies as well as those who are there to serve the health and health care needs of residents and visitors in their communities. They work under difficult conditions with limited resources, yet they continue to find a way to serve those with the most barriers to the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life.
In our quest to support those who can make a difference in the health of Coloradans, I have been honored to work with more than 50 different board members fully committed to the work of the foundation and our partners. I’m grateful to each of the five governors who appointed board members who represented the diversity of Colorado and were always focused on our mission and the needs of all Coloradans.
I am continually amazed at the passion, subject matter expertise and ability to engage with our partners that the Caring for Colorado staff exhibits. Our longest-serving full-time staff – Linda, Heidi and Colleen – have provided exemplary leadership within the foundation and among their peers through their work with our programs and initiatives. Our program and operations staff help make Caring for Colorado the efficient, productive and respected organization that it is.
When I began work at the Illinois Department of Public Health in the spring of 1972, I had no idea where my career would go. Now, 48 years later, I can report that my time was rewarding, exciting, sometimes stressful, often unpredictable and filled with moments of gratitude. It has been a privilege to get up every morning and go to a job where I could serve people, work with the incredible colleagues I’ve met along the way, learn a lot about the world around me and be humbled by those who can rise above their own seemingly insurmountable burdens to selflessly help others.
Finally, I want to acknowledge my wife, Cindy, and children, Jenn and Jeff. They are a primary source of energy, support, encouragement and consolation that has kept me on task through the successes and challenges in my career.
I’m leaving the Foundation in good hands. Linda Reiner will take it to another level. She brings new energy, new ideas, and a passion for the work and people and communities we serve. Linda is one of the most knowledgeable and capable individuals I know, and she is a respected leader in Colorado philanthropy. COVID-19 has made for an unconventional beginning for Linda and staff, but I know they are up to the challenge.
To my friends and colleagues, thanks for the memories. I will be cheering for you all from the sidelines as I learn new skills as a retiree. Cindy tells me it will take some work, but I have a good chance to be successful.
Please keep in touch – after April 17, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.