Ginny Bayless is a familiar face around The Denver Foundation. As fundholders, she and her husband, Rob, are highly engaged donors who like to get involved with the organizations, and the people, they support. For the past several years, Ginny has served the Foundation as Chair of its Board of Trustees.
Drawing upon her extensive background in business and finance, Ginny helped the Foundation implement challenging elements of a ten-year strategic plan adopted in 2012 and develop new initiatives, including new opportunities for donors to engage in impact investing. She led the Trustees through an executive leadership transition as David Miller departed and Christine Márquez-Hudson was hired as President and CEO in late 2015.
When Ginny stepped down from her role as Chair at the end of 2017, she closed a chapter that was hugely impactful for The Denver Foundation—and personally meaningful for her and her family. After so many hours spent on various volunteer committees (both before and during her tenure as Chair), helping staff set and attain strategic goals, and watching the Foundation deepen its impact in the community, she says the experience can be summarized in one word: People.
“Through this experience, I was able to meet and connect with so many people of different backgrounds,” she reflects. “It was a learning journey since the moment I stepped into it. It has sometimes been uncomfortable, but it’s always been a safe space.”
Ginny says her learning journey included expanding her awareness of the importance of resident leadership, wherein communities themselves are involved as decision makers and empowered to drive changes that reflect their needs and desires. Initiatives including the Executive Directors of Color program have illustrated the importance of building diverse nonprofit leaders and a more representative sector. “All voices are important,” she says. “If we don’t have all voices at the table, we’re not having as rich a dialogue or as much learning as we could.”
Over the past two years, Ginny supported Christine’s efforts to further establish The Denver Foundation as a leader on issues of racial equity, inclusiveness, and advocacy.
“The Denver Foundation has long been at the forefront of these issues, and now there’s a real vibrancy to it,” she says. “The staff is asking important questions about how to make this community better, and they’re not accepting easy answers.”
New Chair Stephen Seifert ably took over the role of Chair when Ginny’s tenure ended in December. Ginny’s advice to him? Enjoy it.
“Serving The Denver Foundation as board chair has been an honor and a true pleasure,” she says. “To help support the impactful work of the Foundation staff and our community leaders has contributed significantly to my personal growth. I don't see this as an end, but only the beginning. I am grateful for having had the opportunity."