Why I Give: Good Deeds and Charitable Hearts

The Denver Foundation

For the last 39 years, Judge Wiley and Ida Daniel have called Denver their home. They raised three daughters-- jennifer, Stephanie and Nicole-- in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, and the impact of their philanthropy can be seen throughout the community.

After 24 years as a practicing attorney, Wiley was appointed by President Clinton in 1995 as a United States District Judge, the first African American federal judge in the State of Colorado. For four years he served as Chief Judge of the Court and is now a Senior Judge. Ida is a retired educator who is, and always has been, an active leader in her community.

What or who influenced you to be charitable?

Wiley- While serving in World War II, my father wrote songs, including one called “Good Deeds.” At the heart of the lyrics is the notion that when you lend a hand to someone else, it gets returned to you to a far greater extent than the gift you’ve given. That song has shaped my view of giving, and I’ve been surrounded by people who lived that philosophy. For example, when I was a young boy, my uncle used to pick me up every Christmas to pass out gifts to kids whose families had nothing. We were not rich, my parents were educators, but I got so much joy out of giving to those kids who had less.

Ida- My parents were always doing things in the community-- more by deeds than giving money. I always remember my mother keeping other kids so she could say home with us. Sometimes the families couldn’t afford to pay her, but she’d keep them anyway and offered counseling and support when there was a need.

It sounds like you both learned to be generous from your families while growing up. 

How do you think you’ve influenced your daughters?

Wiley- From the time our children were little we’ve included things like feeding homeless people and purchasing gifts for families in need at Christmastime. We continue this same tradition with our two grandsons.

Ida- Our involvement in Jack and Jill (of Metro Denver) was an important piece as well; it not only helped our kids but was also a way for them to learn about what matters. Our daughters are now fund advisors on our donor-advised fund with The Denver Foundation.

And you’ve given a great deal of time and service to this community. 

How do you select your areas of focus?

Ida- Two areas that we have always been invested in are youth and racial equity. We’ve each served on numerous boards that address one of both of these issues in some manner. We currently serve on the board of Roundup River Ranch, an organization that offers camp experiences to children with serious and life-threatening illnesses and their families. As a member of The Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated I’ve worked to provide programming and services to children at Hallett Fundamental Academy in Northeast Park Hill

Wiley- As an attorney and now a judge, I’ve been very involved in the lives of young people over the years. I feel an ethical and moral obligation to reach out in a manner that is broader than money; that’s included pro bono or reduced-fee services, offering internships, and mentoring. I’ve helped many young professionals find positions. This isn’t charity, but a way to help them be independent, so they can help someone else.

Ida- We believe making a difference really is best when done one person at a time.


Are you ready to make a difference with your giving?The Denver Foundation helps generous people like you to make a difference in our community and beyond.We can help you create a personalized fund to accomplish your philanthropic goals. If you have questions, contact Kelly Purdy with the Philanthropic Services Group, kpurdy@denverfoundation.org

Contact us

Senior Communications Officer: Laura Bond | lbond@denverfoundation.org

Communications Associate: Dele Johnson | djohnson@denverfoundation.org 

  • Why I Give