It has been 33 years since former President Ronald Regan proclaimed every Nov. 15 to be National Philanthropy Day. Since then, celebrations have occurred each year to recognize the work that donors, volunteers, foundations, leaders, corporations and more have done in philanthropy.
This year was no different at the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Nov. 8 as 12 people were honored for the work they have done in philanthropy. Among those people included Rob and Lola Salazar, founders of the Salazar Family Foundation. The couple were among those who received the Outstanding Philanthropist Award for the work they accomplished with the Salazar Foundation.
The couple met in high school and have been married for over 30 years. The Salazars took turns going to college as they raised their children. The two now own numerous companies including Central Street Capital, Inc. and in 1999, they formed the Salazar Family Foundation. It is located in Denver and has contributed to numerous organizations including The Denver Foundation, The Denver Public Schools Foundation, the Jefferson Foundation and more. The goal of the Salazar Family Foundation is to help Denver students reach their goals in school.
The Salazars have contributed over $1 million to The Denver Public Schools Foundation – an organization that was created in 1992 to help create support efforts to advance student achievement in Denver Public Schools. Along with financial contributions, Rob and Lola have volunteered hundreds of volunteer hours to the school district, primarily in the neighborhoods they grew up in, according to a release. They have also funded scholarships for alumni of Abraham Lincoln High School for students to go to any of the three schools they wish on the Auraria Campus.
Although education has always been important to the Salazar family, helping out the Latino community has also been another goal. They recently made contributions to a new campus in Westwood for the Mi Casa Resource Center to create the Salazar Center for Family Prosperity. The contribution in total came out to $1.5 million to build new headquarters for the Mi Casa Resource Center. The resource center helps to create opportunity for low-income families in the Denver metro area by supporting competency-based training, coaching and more to help those who are seeking jobs, entrepreneurs and students.
The Salazar family also provides funding for Escuela de Guadalupe, a community-based preschool through eighth grade Denver metro area school. The school aims to be community based and accessible for people of different financial backgrounds.
The work the Salazars have done in the community led to them being inducted into the Latino Leadership Institute’s Hall of Fame.
National Philanthropy Day is promoted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The Association of Fundraising Professionals Colorado Chapter is a membership that works toward advancing philanthropy. It offers chances to help with fundraising efforts.
The Salazars were asked to be interviewed for this story, but they were out of the country at the time this story was written.