Bug­danowitz, phi­lan­thropist, CEO, dies at 72

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Kieran Nicholson

Sheila Bug­danowitz, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Rose Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, died un­ex­pect­edly Sun­day. She was 72.

A Den­ver na­tive, Bug­danowitz grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Den­ver with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in ed­u­ca­tion. She stew­arded the Rose Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion since 1998.

Founded in 1995, the foun­da­tion’s mis­sion is to en­hance the qual­ity of life in the seven-county Den­ver area. The non­profit foun­da­tion, which has about $200 mil­lion of as­sets, has granted more than $81 mil­lion since its in­cep­tion.

Bug­danowitz di­rected the foun­da­tion’s de­vel­op­ment, grant mak­ing, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and mar­ket­ing func­tions, re­flect­ing the lead­er­ship of the board of trus­tees.

“She em­bod­ied the foun­da­tion’s val­ues of phi­lan­thropy, jus­tice and nondis­crim­i­na­tion and its mis­sion to make the greater Den­ver com­mu­nity a bet­ter place,” said Jerry Glick, chair­man of the board of trus­tees, in a writ­ten state­ment. “Her lead­er­ship shaped what Rose Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion is to­day.”

Jean Gal­loway, a long­time friend and busi­ness col­league, de­scribed Bug­danowitz as a “born leader.”

“She is so gra­cious and spoke so beau­ti­fully, es­pe­cially when ad­dress­ing a crowd,” Gal­loway said. “She al­ways spoke from the heart.”

Bug­danowitz once con­vinced Gal­loway, who was hes­i­tant, to serve on the foun­da­tion’s board.

“She was a hard per­son to say no to,” Gal­loway re­called. “Per­sis­tent.”

Dur­ing a road trip to Ne­braska with a cou­ple of close friends, Bug­danowitz ques­tioned her fel­low trav­el­ers about the shapes, sizes, col­ors and num­bers of the many pass­ing road signs. Bug­danowitz was soon query­ing the in­ter­net for an­swers on the sub­ject.

“She had an amaz­ing in­tel­lec­tual cu­rios­ity — or­ga­nized, ef­fi­cient, vi­sion­ary,” Gal­loway said.

Prior to join­ing the foun­da­tion, Bug­danowitz was vice pres­i­dent of Colorado Car­phone, di­rect­ing the com­pany’s wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tions and man­ag­ing ma­jor ac­counts and 20 full­time em­ploy­ees. She served on the board of Moun­tain State Em­ploy­ers Coun­cil and was a mem­ber of the Colorado Women’s Forum of Colorado. Bug­danowitz also served on the boards of the Colorado Health In­sti­tute, the Den­ver Metro Cham­ber of Com­merce and Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal Colorado, where she also was board chair­woman.

In 1998, Bug­danowitz re­ceived the Woman of Dis­tinc­tion award from the Girl Scouts’ Mile High Coun­cil. In 2005, the El Po­mar Foun­da­tion rec­og­nized her “pro­found and last­ing im­pact on the non­profit com­mu­nity,” with the “Shrine of the Sun” Award.

In 2014, she was named one of the 25 Most Pow­er­ful Women by the Colorado Women’s Cham­ber of Com­merce. She also was rec­og­nized as the Kal Zeff Busi­ness Leader of the Year by Jewish Fam­ily Ser­vice.

Gov. John Hick­en­looper de­clared Feb. 20, 2016, as “Sheila Bug­danowitz Day.”

“She re­ally cared about our com­mu­nity,” Gal­loway said. “She was a true one-ofa-kind.”

Bug­danowitz is sur­vived by her hus­band, Rick; two sons, Michael and Bradley; a sis­ter, Carol So­bel; and two grand­chil­dren.

A fu­neral ser­vice will be held at 1 p.m. Tues­day, Dec. 6, at Tem­ple Emanuel, 51 Grape Street, Den­ver. Me­mo­rial con­tri­bu­tions may be made to the Rose Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, 600 S. Cherry St., Den­ver, 80246.

Sheila Bug­danowitz died un­ex­pect­edly Sun­day.

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