Have You Met?

Smart, successful - and single, John Mulstay is an enthusiastic burst of excitement and vitality. Enjoying his Colorado lifestyle, John Mulstay was born in New York; and when he was in college, wrestling was his sport of choice - until he fell in love with the sport of snowboarding.

Upon graduation, John decided to sink his roots into Colorado to pursue his passion for snowboarding; and shortly thereafter made his mark by founding “Team Summit Snowboarding” at Copper Mountain - which continues to thrive and remains one of the best and largest organized snowboarding teams in the country - with several of the young adults from the program now competing for the U.S. Snowboard team. John reflects: “In addition to the Puksta Foundation, I’m most proud of the creation of “Team Summit Snowboarding” which has produced some of the finest competitive, world-class snowboarders through the program.”

In 1995 John began his career as a financial advisor; during this time where he met – as John refers to them – “Salt of the Earth” Harry and Eva Puksta. John served as an advisor to Harry and Eva Puksta and, as such, assisted with their estate planning. Harry and Eva Puksta were both long-time residents of the Denver area. As per the generous wishes of Harry and Eva Puksta, John, who had grown very close to them, created the non-profit, educational Puksta Foundation as their last will and testament when they passed away (within a day of each other) in July of 1999.

Although Harry and Eva had no children of their own, their legacy through the Puksta Foundation supports underprivileged, up-standing young adults as they pursue their education at Colorado universities and develop a commitment to citizenship, leadership and community engagement.

As the Executive Director of the Puksta Foundation, John Mulstay continues to manage its day-to-day affairs. The foundation now proudly has 40 Colorado students (19 at CU, 12 at CSU and 9 at DU) pursuing a college education and developing a commitment to civic and social community engagement. John says: “We are looking for good deserving kids who face life with courage and optimism and want to create their own positive change in this world.”

John Mulstay takes his responsibility as the public voice of the Puksta Foundation very seriously. He knows he can affect change in the world and feels fortunate to have been given this opportunity that seems to be his destiny.

For many people, charitable involvement doesn’t begin until they are older and well established. In this case, Puksta’s young shining star, John Mulstay, is out there and as totally committed - to making a difference with his time and energy - as any seasoned philanthropist. After all, it’s what Harry and Eva Puksta would have expected of him.


Can you give us some history on the Puksta Foundation? The Puksta Foundation is a 501©-3 non-profit corporation registered in the state of Colorado. The foundation was established in 2001 and awarded its first scholarships for the Fall semester of 2002. Since then, the foundation has established Puksta Scholars programs at the The University of Denver, The University of Colorado at Boulder and at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Because our democracy requires citizens who have a sense of civic responsibility, the Puksta Foundation, as well as our partner educational institutions, embrace this educational role. Each Puksta Scholar is required to identify a need in the community, whether it is their local community or global community, and develop a program which addresses that need.

What is the vision of the Puksta Foundation: The Puksta Foundation will develop educated and active community leaders. Harry and Eva Puksta understood that a college education is only part of one's learning opportunity and that participation in the community through volunteer activities is the perspective that truly shapes an individuals life. For this reason, the Foundation encourages all Puksta scholarship recipients to become engaged in the community and to volunteer time and energy to the betterment of Colorado.

What is covered with a Puksta Scholarship? Puksta scholars can expect to receive between $5,000 and $6,500 annually. For CU and CSU, this typically covers the cost of a year's tuition. For DU, this would represent 25% of annual tuition.

Puksta scholars are responsible for the remainder of the cost associated with attending these universities. Scholars can pursue other scholarships and grants to offset any additional costs.

What upcoming fundraising events are you involved in? On Friday, February 8, 2008, we will be hosting our 2nd annual Mardi Gras Ball. We have teamed up this year with SafeHouse Denver to put on what will be the best party of the year! We will be at Mile High Station www.milehighstaion.com and the doors open at 8pm. Tickets are $60 online through Blacktie-Colorado www.blacktie-colorado.com - or $75 at the door. We have live music with Denver's own U2 tribute band "Under a Blood Red Sky" as well as a Cajun buffet by Chad's Bar and Grill. Our other sponsors include Coors Brewing Co., Patron tequila, Ultimat Vodka, Pyrat rum, Westco fabric, Vitamin water and Sunset limousines providing transportation to our official after party at 24 Karat.

Are there other non-profit organizations you are active with? I do serve on the Development Committee for SafeHouse Denver.

It’s refreshing to see a young person like yourself so involved in philanthropy and charitable giving. How can we get more of our younger citizens interested in charitable giving and volunteering? I feel that our society could do a much better job of incorporating the concept of giving back to the community in our high schools or even junior high schools. Civic engagement should be part of an organized curriculum at that age.

What do you think is your greatest strength? I am very passionate about the projects that I take on.

What is your biggest weakness? I'm not very organized most of the time.

What made you decide to get into the investment industry? I grew up in New York and was always fascinated by Wall Street. I also found economics very interesting while I was in college and that is very relevant to what I do every day as a Wealth Advisor.

There is a big gap in this country between the wealthy and those living in poverty; what can be done for those who don’t see much hope for their future? That's a great question. Obviously, with my career, I believe very strongly in capitalism. However, we need to find a way to share the wealth that is being created in this country and around the world. Whether we do that through government or through our non-profit sector it certainly needs to happen. I'm very encouraged with what we have seen recently with the collaboration between the Gates Foundation and one of our greatest businessmen, Warren Buffet.

What do you think is the greatest problem we have in this country today? I feel that partisanship has truly divided us as Americans. It seems that we have lost our ability to stand up and believe in something together and I blame the way our lobbyists and special interest groups have denigrated this political system. Good and quality people can't even think about entering the political process without being financed by them and thus owing to them.

What’s the best book you have ever read, and why? I love to read so this is a very tough question. However, the two books that stand out for me are “The Hobbit” by J.R Tolkein because it really instilled my love of reading as a child, and “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett because it's just a great epic novel.

What are your favorite sports or leisure time activities? Snowboarding and Scuba diving without a doubt!

Can you share with us one of your fondest childhood memories? Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and Central Park with my family and then going home for a big turkey dinner!

What word best describes your life right now? Exciting.

What do you love most about living in Denver? I love how we can step out of our front doors and have access to this beautiful landscape.

Who is the most interesting person you have ever met? In the business world that would be Timothy D. Cook with Apple, Inc., and in the non-profit world it would be Bernard Amedei with “Engineers Without Borders”.

What the two of these men have been able to do in their respective industries is both incredible and truly inspirational.

What do you still want to learn how to do in your lifetime? Sail around the world.

What’s up in the future for John Mulstay? We'll see..

How do you want to be remembered? As a great friend.