Making a difference in the community and preserving the legacy of philanthropy is what Stephen Edmonds is all about. Stephen says: "Philanthropy is such an American phenomenon." Mr. Edmonds goes on to say: "I'm concerned that fundraising could be left high and dry when our generation disappears. That's why we need to find a way to actively engage future-givers in the fundraising process. We need to bring our younger people along with us and teach them how to do it."
Aside from bringing new people on board, Stephen believes we have an obligation to educate ourselves about what's going on in the place where we live. "Knowing what the issues and problems are, gives us an understanding of where there is a need for change." Stephen commented.
With a mix of total dedication, talent, and great natural instinct, Stephen Edmonds is a valuable asset to the fundraising world and a well-respected member of the Denver academic and charitable community.
What fundraising project are you working on now? The Hospice of Metro Denver Mask Project and Gala!>
What three things are always in your refrigerator? Champagne, White Wine, and Diet Pepsi.
What is your favorite place in your house? My study – it’s quiet.
What fundraising organizations have you previously been involved with? And/or have served on their boards (this is a partial list): Visiting Nurse Association, Volunteers of America “Western Fantasy Ball”, Central City Opera House Association Guild (Stephen is the first male president-elect on the Board), American Heart Association “Heart Ball held on Valentine’s Day”, Fine Arts Foundation, DCPA “Saturday Nigh Alive”, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation “Pink Tie Event”, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra, Historic Elitch Theatre Foundation, Mental Health Association of Colorado, Colorado Prevention Center Foundation “Inspiration Ball”, The Arapahoe House “Pillars of the Community”, Make-A-Wish Foundation”, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum “Spreading Wings”
Who is your hero, and why? Joy Burns. She is a very dear friend. She is an inspiring person in so many ways. I originally got to know her through work at DU. She is the first woman chair on the DU Board. Joy does everything for the right reason, whether in a business leadership role or in the non-profit world. Most of all, it’s the way she treats her colleagues, friends, and family.
Who is your mentor? My great, great Aunt Ruth Menghin, who is now deceased. She was a very giving person. She was one of the “early-on” female Principals at various schools in the Denver Public School System. She really peaked my interest in many areas. She traveled Europe extensively, went to new places, she was always up for an adventure. She had an appreciation of music, art – and sports too!
Ruthie had a great English Garden in her backyard filled with lilies of the valley, roses, and lilacs. She also had a way of keeping me at my best behavior. She had a “look” she would give you if you got out of line. One time when we were in church together - I must have been acting up; Ruthie gave me the “look,” and I never misbehaved again.
What is a favorite childhood memory? Christmas Day celebrations in our North Denver neighborhood. Most of the time, it was at Ruthie’s house. It was very much an event with the elders in the family and the children. About 20 people were there. We had a huge table - very formal with place cards and all! I was always impressed with how everything was so organized. Everyone exchanged gifts with everybody else who was there. With so many people opening presents, it took around eight hours to get them all opened. Clean up afterwards was also very organized; everyone was given an assignment of what to do, and the duties rotated every year. The women did the dishes (no dishwasher; they were all hand-washed). The men cleared and broke down the table. Each piece of china was wrapped up separately. It was like an assembly line, a well-orchestrated machine; very much nothing was left to chance.
Who is your favorite writer? Agatha Christie
What is your favorite magazine? Gourmet
What is your favorite television program? The 10 p.m. News.
What do you most value in your friends? Honesty, Loyalty, and a love of having fun.
What is one thing nobody knows about you? I have a fear of heights – no bungee jumping for me!
What would you do if you were king of the world? Even though I am a realist, I’d work at creating a unified world. There is always someone trying to stand in the way of the peace process. We should not undermine each other, and try to resolve our differences somehow. We have to come to an understanding of peace for all national boundaries. Until we can find a way to do that, other issues won’t be solved.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you’ve ever met? Barbara Bush. She’s very warm and gracious. To a certain extent, there was a part of my grandmother in her! They could have shopped together.
What are your hobbies or other interests? Stamp collecting, travel, wine, food. I also have an affinity for birds, and I collect artifacts of birds. I have hundreds of them – porcelain, crystal, penguins, and cardinals - different shapes…. Just about every piece of art I have has some type of bird in them. As a child, I loved looking at birds in the park when my great-grandmother would take me there almost every day.
What is your pet peeve? Some of the current messy hairstyles worn by celebrities. It looks like they deliberately didn’t comb their hair. Were their hairdressers mad at them?
What is your favorite clothing store? Guys have it easy, our clothes don’t go out of style. I love to find a great deal whether it’s at Andrisen Morton’s or Foley’s. I’m kind of a traditional shopper, not too trendy. Trendy for me is a snappy tie.
If there were one thing you would change about yourself, what would it be? I could be a little taller.
Which one word describes you best? Energetic.
What one word would others use to describe you? Detail-oriented, organized.
What makes you laugh? Life most of the time – we can’t take life too seriously. But I’m pretty blessed.
What is your most treasured possession? My own values. My religious faith. Time shared - and will share - with family and friends.
What is your greatest extravagance? Gifts I get for other people, entertaining - doing things for others I wouldn’t do for myself.
What is your personal motto – or favorite quote? “We can just do what we can do.”
What do you consider your proudest achievement? Being a part of the renaissance and revitalization of the University of Denver with all of the tremendous DU programs and capital projects. DU was always more than just a job, it’s a part of me, and I’m a part of it.
What is the best advice your mom/dad ever gave you? “Don’t be too impressed by yourself…”
What is your current state of mind? Optimistic. Life is full of possibilities both professionally and personally.
What is your greatest regret? That I didn’t take up an instrument as a child, like the piano. Although my parent’s did encourage me!
That I didn’t engage in sports as a child – I’m sorry I didn’t have that experience. Later on as an adult, I understood the importance and value of the team experience. I had asthma as a child, so I did have some limitations. I don’t know if my parents ever think about it, but they never got to be a soccer mom or a football dad.
What might your epitaph read? “He didn’t know how to say no….”