Lola Salazar is a philanthropist who takes pleasure in digging in and doing the job. When you meet Lola, you immediately think “energy”. She’s bustling around, smiling a lot and always laughing. A positive attitude, a happy disposition, she’s got it all. “I’ve considered myself blessed from the moment I was born”. Lola grew up in Denver, a product of Denver Public Schools. “My childhood was great. My immediate family was small but I had a large extended family. My mom and dad worked very hard and although we didn’t have a lot of money, I never had the feeling that I did without. Since Dad worked six days a week and mom five, Sundays were our family day.
Lola established her work and her lifestyle ethic at an early age. “I got married right after I graduated from high school. We moved to Alamosa, where my husband attended Adams State. To help support us, I worked with the government for a few years then transferred to the Postal Service. I was a mail carrier with my own little route for two years. My children were born while we were in Alamosa. After my husband graduated, we came back to Denver and I started college. While going to school, I sold Olan Mills portraits and worked at Fashion Bar as a retail clerk. We were a young couple with two little kids and I did a little bit of everything to make ends meet.”
When Lola received her BA, she immediately began working on her MA. The Jefferson Foundation gave her a small scholarship to help her with her Masters program. “Every organization we support was one that we felt brought us to the point where we are today. We’re trying to give back to the groups that helped us when we needed it”. Lola accepted a job as a kindergarten teacher right after graduation and taught for eight years. She became a stay-at-home mom when her children were in junior high. “In 1999, when I was ready to get out of the house again, we decided to start the Salazar Family Foundation.
What is the Salazar Family Foundation? The Salazar Family Foundation is a non-profit supportive organization that supports other non-profit foundations. The main foundations we support are the Denver Public Schools Foundation, The Jefferson Foundation, and the Latin American Educational Foundation. My goal, through the foundation, is to help these organizations grow and increase the number of students they impact. I’m a board member on all the boards and help at the grass roots level. Anytime they need anything, I am there. I have stuffed envelopes, helped with galas and chaired events. I give my time, my energy and my finances to all of the organizations I support.
What’s important in your life? My family, my friends and making a difference in the community have always been my main priorities.
What’s in your future? My plans are to continue giving back to my community and would like to one day have a children’s book store.
What are your volunteer activities? I am a board member for all our supported organizations. I am also involved with committee groups and task forces within the community. Because I commit fully to each project I am involved with, I do not add something new unless I know I can give 100%.
Which social event is your favorite? I enjoy all the annual galas because I know all the money raised will make a huge difference in the lives of so many students.
Do you have any pets? We have two Yorkies, Skeeter and Lily. They are the babies of the house now that my kids are grown and on their own.
What word describes you best? If I had to choose one word, it would be caring.
How would you like others to describe you? I would like to think people would describe me as vibrant and full of life.
What was your first job? I had two jobs at the same time. I worked at the Federal Center and at Orange Julius at Villa Italia. I have always enjoyed hard work and being busy. I do not enjoy down time.
What is the trait you most deplore about yourself? I have a tendency to be too critical of myself.
What trait do you most deplore in others? The same trait I do not like in myself, being too self critical. In general, people need to relax more and enjoy life.
What is your greatest indulgence? I love to travel. I like going to places I have never been and experiencing something new.
What types of clothes do you like? I love clothes period! All types have a place in my day. I will wear jeans when I do not have meetings and I love dressing up too.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? I am most proud of my kids and my marriage. My kids have grown into wonderful, hardworking and caring people.
What would you like to be remembered for? I would like to be remembered as a kind hearted, loving and giving person. I would give the shirt off my back to almost anybody if they needed it. My family and friends know they are a priority in my life and will always come first.