Molly Ross is a petite woman with a big smile that greets you and leaves you feeling as though you have known her all your life. It was then apropos, after meeting her at an area bookstore, to discover she is the personification of the lesson: Don’t judge a book by its cover. This woman is a giant!
Co-Owner and President of Deltex Royalty Company, Inc. and simultaneously, of LMA Royalties, Ltd., etc., Ross also manages to combine her education, experience and talents into making her one of our areas strongest philanthropists; more than 40 organizations have benefitted from her time, inspiration and energy.
She learned about serving from her father, former State Representative James R. Ross of Colorado Springs. It was her mother who taught her about giving in different ways. "My grandfather started a mineral management company in 1930s, and my mother took it over after my grandparents passed away. At 55, she took it over and ran it for 22 years.” But she didn’t stop there. Ross was introduced to the hard work and benefits of volunteerism through her mother’s involvement in Junior League. So much so, that Ross served as President of the Denver Junior League years later in 1999-2000.
What stands out when listening to Ross is her faith in the strength and potential that women can bring to solving problems in both the business and philanthropic worlds. “We’re at a shifting point. Up to now society has operated within a total male model; we need to follow a male/female model. We have got to start using our feminine power.”
Your education focused on Graphic Design, how has that played into your career?
I had my own company, Molly Ross Design, and before I was a designer I worked as an Art Director and Account Representative in Advertising. My background is in marketing, design and public relations.
How did your focus turn so strongly toward non-profit efforts?
It started in my 20s with a passion for community. I wanted to take my art, marketing and PR career and meld it into non-profit. Now that I do sculpture, I have donated pieces to Rachel's Network and Dine and D'Art, a benefit that supports ArtReach. (Ross currently serves on both Boards of Directors.)
What other boards do you serve on currently?
Excelsior Youth Foundation, Sierra Club Foundation, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees for the American Solar Energy Society and on the American Farmland Trust President’s Council.
Each must be very important to you, is there one that has stood out to you?
They are all important to me, but Rachel’s Network (that promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth) is an organization where philanthropists and activists join together to focus on environmental issues. That’s very important to me.
What sort of environmental issues?
Everything! National, international, wildlife, land, climate, renewable energy, toxins, health, environmental education, ocean issues ….The goal is to develop women's leadership through training, boards and strategic initiatives with the support of a network of friends and colleagues.
Why is it important to focus on women specifically?
The woman who started it in 1999, Winsome McIntosh, with a grant from the McIntosh Foundation, was inspired by the publication Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. She saw that women bring a generational aspect to solving issues. Women, whether they have children themselves or not, get their back up to defend children and future generations.
Concerning philanthropy, what did you inherit from your parents?
My parents were equal partners and always taught me to give back. They also taught by example to see people as individuals, not categories. I like to cross racial and economic spectrums. We are all prejudiced; we all presume and see people on the surface. We have to get below that surface to see that each of us is here for a purpose to make life better, to love and to care for each other.
If it’s possible for a woman as busy as you to take time for yourself, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to hike and camp, and of course work and ride my horses. I love spending time with really close friends, my reading group, and of course I love to travel.
Do you have a personal mantra, a philosophy of life?
I don’t think you have a life unless you give back. I love giving back; it makes and keeps us young. We all need a purpose, and I believe that is to live, love and do. I see extremely optimistic things coming our way. We can do business ethically and environmentally responsibly.