Before her passing, Olha Hul had a clear vision: After she was gone, she wanted to help others in honor of her mother, Kateryna, who taught her strength and tenacity even in the face of abuse.
“She was strong and kind,” Olha said of her mother. “She inspired me.”
Olha was born in Germany, where her parents had fled in the late 1930s to escape the influence of communism in their native Ukraine. The Huls found Germany to be unfriendly to non-Germans, so they moved again, this time to Denver. It was a difficult move and life was hard. Olha’s father was abusive and struggled with alcoholism; Kateryna worked as a dishwasher a The Cosmopolitan Hotel, which was located downtown, for less than a dollar an hour.
Throughout the moves and the hardships, Kateryna kept her dignity, her love of life, and her family together. She died in 1998 at the age of 91.
Olha, who died in 2007 at the age of 64, was a lover of cats who enjoyed spending time with friends. She worked as an administrative assistant at an accounting firm, where she learned about The Denver
Foundation during a company-wide presentation. Though she wasn’t a wealthy woman, through her estate plan, she created The Kateryna Hul Fund, a field of interest fund at The Denver Foundation. Named for her mother, this fund distributes grants to domestic violence prevention and sheltering programs that assist women and children in the seven-county Metro Denver area.
Grantees include the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), a statewide organization focused on improving the health and welfare of survivors of domestic violence through programs in social change and prevention. In 2016, CCADV provided training, community education, housing, and other resources to thousands of people in Metro Denver. The coalition also successfully lobbied for legislation that expands protections for victims of abuse.
“The generous support from The Kateryna Hul Fund significantly expanded our capacity to engage in movement building and address the problem of gender-based violence,” says Amy Miller, executive director of CCADV. “It allowed us to re-establish a constituent-led Survivors Caucus to lead our coalition forward into the future.”
Field of interest funds like Olha’s allow individuals to make an impact over time. The donor identifies a specific or broad interest area and The Denver Foundation ensures effective grantmaking within that interest area as needs change. In Olha’s case, the partnership and her generous estate gift allowed her vision, and her mother’s legacy, to become realities.
The Denver Foundation honors Olha as a member of the Community Leadership Circle, a group of donors who provide significant support ($50,000 or more) to The Denver Foundation’s endowment and programs. We’re able to do the work we do thanks to caring community members like Olha and Kateryna Hul. Through The Kateryna Hul Fund, the strength and generosity of both mother and daughter will live on for generations to come.
To learn how to become a member of the Community Leadership Circle, contact Sarah Harrison at 303.300.1790.
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