Young Professional, Quinn Washington, has always been one of the most pleasant and impressive young "do-gooders" out there. Referred to as “the new guard” of philanthropy, today’s young professional groups are computer and social network savvy. They appear to be fearless, creative and can add their own fresh spin on events - plus bring in the record crowds! Some are the children of well-known benefactors in town – and some just started leaning towards human causes early in their life. For Quinn, the son of prominent community leaders Dr. Reginald and Faye Washington, becoming an active member of the community came naturally from both ends of the spectrum.
Quinn is now working at Blacktie-Colorado, and we know there are many good things to come from this bright star as he helps promote the services we offer. Aside from following in his parents footsteps, Quinn knows just about everyone in the charitable world.
Quinn has co-founded many young professional groups and been honored with several recognitions (see below for a full list), and he is now a candidate for “Man of the Year” with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for helping to make life better for patients battling blood cancers.
When I asked Faye and Dr. Reginald Washington to give me a few thoughts about their son, the proud parents told me: “Quinn was an accomplished cello player until the age of 8, and then he discovered girls. He has always been interested in Broadway musicals and after seeing the Phantom of the Opera 8 times, he knows the entire score from memory. He was always adventurously wandering out of the yard as a young boy and gave us a scare several times. He’s a very good cook; and he has a difficult time saying no – even if he’s already over-committed.” All good traits indeed - yes?
It takes energy and persistence to make something happen these days, and Washington family friend – and “Have You Met”, Trisha Hood, who has known Quinn since he was a boy, says: “Quinn has always been energetic, friendly and eager to help. He’s always there with a warm hug and encouragement.”
Quinn Washington grew up learning the value of a good education and the importance of being involved in the world around him. Quinn is excited about the future and will continue to be there for the many nonprofits he has helped. We are sure Quinn will keep rallying people to participate in nonprofit work; and we are thrilled to welcome him as an important member of the Blacktie team.
First of all, welcome to Blacktie-Colorado! I heard you hit the ground running on your first day…. What projects are you working on? Over the last couple of years, I have been fortunate to work with a variety of nonprofits here in the Metro area and our surrounding counties. I have found that nearly all of them do or could benefit from the many services that Blacktie offers. So I am doing my best to get all of these fantastic organizations on the same page, and Blacktie has been a huge tool for that. I am very lucky to have landed where I have.
What are your goals for Blacktie in the next year or two? My cohort, Monica Owens, and I have become the go to people for organizations looking to start a Young Professional Support Group (YP’s) to ensure the continuance of their years of work and dedication. Through these opportunities, I have come to realize that there is a large gap between the Baby Boomers and the Generation X (I think of us as the generation of Social Media), and that many of the great services these organizations provide are in jeopardy of being shut down. For instance we should all be concerned about the closing of the Beacon Center. So my focus will be to provide Denver with the next generation of Committee Members and Chairs. Blacktie is giving me the platform and tools to bridge that gap.
You were previously working for the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. What made you decide to accept the position as a V.P. at Blacktie? I loved working for Cleo. Working for her was like working for family, I have known her nearly my entire life. But I found that my heart will always be in the nonprofit community, and at that particular time, a lot of them were contacting me for assistance. Kenton Kuhn and I have always been on the same page about the YP’s and now it seems like the perfect time to make that great idea a reality. And with my involvement in the nonprofit community, Blacktie is a perfect fit.
Quinn, you are known as one of our top Young Professionals helping to raise funds for many nonprofits in Colorado. How did you get involved, and what organizations have you worked with? Interestingly enough, my mother Faye volunteered my name at a Western Fantasy meeting a few years ago when the committee was looking for YP’s to attract a younger crowd. While at the time I was resenting the forced commitment, I later found that I would make some of my best friends and find a sense of fulfillment helping all these different groups. I am involved in too many to name, but I would say I am involved in roughly 20 groups and have started about half of them. I also sit on the board for the Cancer League of Colorado and the Colorado Neurological Institute.
Can you name a couple of organizations that are especially near and dear to your heart? A few years ago our community lost Joe Franzgrote. In his last several years, CNI was there for him and my aunt Helenn Franzgrote every step of the way. I can’t put into words how much that has meant for me and my family. I also have to say that Larry and Jill DiPasquale inspired me to be involved in the Adoption Exchange. While I do not hold any nonprofits importance over the other, these two nonprofits are very special to me.
You and the fabulous Monica Owens are probably the two most mentioned Young Professionals out there. Can you name some other up-and-coming young professionals that are also making a difference in our community? I can name a ton, and that’s a good thing. Just to make a short list, there is Liz Ryan at Phaseline, Lauren Lamb (Nancy Lamb Thompson’s daughter), Kate Sutton, Adam and Jennifer Daurio, Vince Abrue with Wells Fargo, Auyna Journyaz - and our latest recruit David Blake (son of Ernie Blake).
How do we get more young people involved? We are the MTV, instant gratification generation. Social media has defined us and is our ultimate tool in recruiting. We have so many tools at our disposal via social media that we can instantly inform anybody of a new group or an event. You will find that people do want to get involved they just don’t know how to go about it. Monica and I have made it our job to find those people over the last couple of years and get them involved.
How did your parents, Dr. Reggie and Faye Washington (who are champions of many causes) influence you to become involved in the community? Just saying their names creates an aura of philanthropy. I have to admit I was not aware of how much they did for the community until I began my volunteer and philanthropic work. Denver is filled with many amazing philanthropic people, and I have had the pleasure of knowing most of them my whole life. Let me just say that I stand on the shoulders of giants and welcome the opportunity to make them proud.
You are a young man, but you have already accomplished so much in the charitable world. What are you most proud of? I would have to say I am most proud of being a candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Man of the Year.” This is a very special honor and is a reflection on how the community has received my work. As an added bonus, I am running my campaign in the name of my dear family friend, Linda Goto, who is a survivor of cancer and a phenomenal human being.
What do you love most about Denver? Everything! Honestly I love everything about Denver. I love that I always know which direction east is because we have the most beautiful mountain range to direct us. I am also an avid skier. If I could ski everyday for the rest of my life I would die a happy man.
Do you have any hobbies or talents that would surprise us? My parents will tell you that I was a child actor, if you call a few commercials and an appearance on “Good Morning America” acting. I am also an accomplished cellist - or was years ago!
What is your idea of a perfect weekend? My perfect weekend would take place in the mountains. The days would be filled with skiing, the afternoons with Après, and the nights in what in my opinion are the best mountain towns in the nation.
What would be a “dream come true” for you, and what adventures are you looking forward to in the future? My dream come true would be for my parents to finally take me on that graduation trip to Eastern Europe. I have a fascination with Hungry and Croatia and all of their neighboring countries. This oddly enough came from one of the hardest classes I took up at CU.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? Married and teaching my kids how to ski. And if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be here at Blacktie awaiting the next edition of “Have you Met.”
(Quinn’s Community Work: Co-Founder: Young Hearts for the American Heart Association, Cancer League Young Professionals, Western Fantasy for VOA Young Professionals, Saddle Up Foundation, Janet’s Camp Young Professionals, Denver Sister Cities Incorporated Young Professionals, Men for the Cure Young Professionals, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Young Professionals, Co-Founder: CNI Young Professionals, Co-Founder: Adoption Exchange Young Professionals, Co-Founder: Arapahoe House Young Professionals, Co-Founder: Children’s Diabetes Foundation Young Professionals.
He’s also been honored with the Young Man of Distinction Award(1999), Tribute to Black Youth (1999), Beautillion (1999), Senior Class President (Douglas County High School 1999), Homecoming King (Douglas County High School 1999), Denver Social Registrar (2010), Cancer League Board Member (2010), Red, Wine and Seafood for VOA Co-Chair (2011.)