ROOTED: Celebrating Philanthropists of Color Who Are Rooted in Metro Denver

The Denver Foundation

The Denver Foundation launched a popular new photo series online this summer. ROOTED shines a light on existing, emerging, and unsung acts of giving by people of color in our community. The series is updated frequently on the Foundation's Facebook page, so be sure to follow it there!

Indira S. Guzman-Sais

"When I was growing up, my father was a minister of a Spanish nondenominational church in Socorro, Texas, less than five miles from the Mexican border. Our home was a shelter and a place of rest for many immigrants. At a very young age, I remember interpreting for my dad and others. The most meaningful gift that I can take credit for is offering my voice to bridge communication between two people who don't speak the same language. Through that gift, I've been able to open doors of opportunity for out Spanish-speaking community to engage in a civic process. That gift has also allowed for other community interpreters to use their skills in a professional setting and earn a living wage."

Indira S. Guzman-Sais, community organizer, member of The Denver Foundation's Economic Opportunity Committee, co-founder of the Community Language Cooperative. 

Ruben Valdez

"Philanthropy to me is being able to help others even if I don't know them because I am passionate about seeing the whole community succeed. I have been fortunate to find success in business, and my fund is an opportunity to give back to the community that I care about deeply."

Ruben Valdez was Colorado's first Hispanic Speaker of the House and continues to be dedicated to building a brighter future for students in Metro Denver though his philanthropy.

Kai Yeung

"I thought philanthropy was something that only the very wealthy could do because it involved a vast amount of money. Now I think of it as any act of giving back for the purpose of improving the community. Anyone who wants to take ownership of their community can be philanthropic."

Eddie Koen

"Philanthropy is not a simplified task in investing in what has the best outcomes; it is also a mix of using resources -- time, money, knowledge, and networks -- coupled with a lens of equity and empowerment to impact, change, build, or eliminate institutions and systems to some end."

Eddie Koen is a current Denver Foundation Board Trustee, donor and Denver African American Philanthropist (DAAP) member. 

Elevating Philanthropy In Communities of Color (EPIC) is an ongoing investment that is critical to achieving our mission to inspire people and mobilize resources to strengthen our community. EPIC’s objectives are to: recognize and grow philanthropy in communities of color; connect philanthropists of color with tools, education, and resources; and bring together committed donors of color to build relationships and impact positive community change.

Contact us

Senior Communications Officer: Laura Bond |

Communications Associate: Dele Johnson | 

  • Leadership & Equity