Susan Jenson: A Woman Committed to Community, Arts, and Philanthropy

The Denver Foundation

Susan Jenson has led the charge to make Downtown Aurora Visual Arts into the powerful, high-impact nonprofit it is today.The East Coast native with two degrees inert History found her way to Colorado in the 1980s, pursuing a varied career path connected to the arts.Her resume reflects rich experience in gallery work, arts education jobs, and teaching as a university adjunct professor at CU-Boulder and Metro State University.

In 1998, Jenson joined DAVA as a teacher and was immediately captivated by the young people involved in the organization’s activities. Soon she was helping to raise money for DAVA by writing grants because “that’s what was needed most.” Now, 17 years later as executive director, she is still energized by the work because of the interesting, engaging, and creative students.

“Our programs give young people a safe space to be creative, to explore their artistic vision,” she explains. The programs also teach life skills, teamwork, and job skills.

“DAVA strengthens the community through high-quality out-of-school programs that develop art, social, and life skills for urban youth,” notes Jenson. Now celebrating its 18thyear, the organization has a new facility and the distinction of being honored with the National Arts and HumanitiesYouth Program Award (as well as other local awards).The organization has transformed many lives, including Jensen's. In addition to raising money for DAVE, Jenson has also included it in her own estate plans through a fund at The Denver Foundation.

“The Denver Foundation helped me organize my thoughts and plan my estate,” Jenson says. “They made it easy for me to leave a legacy to support DAVA and its students who will be the leaders of the future.”

We honor Susan Jenson for her creative vision, her creativity, her commitment to the community, and her partnership with The Denver Foundation.

The core asset of The Fund for Denver is our permanent endowment.The Fund for Denver is made up of a variety of charitable assets that have been entrusted to The Denver Foundation for investment management and strategic grantmaking. Our permanent endowment is made up of unrestricted gifts to The Denver Foundation to meet the needs of today and ensure there are resources for building a better Denver far into the future.

Contact us

Senior Communications Officer: Laura Bond |

Communications Associate: Dele Johnson |

  • Community Legacy Society