Daniels Fund

Honoring Bill Daniels' direction to make life better for the people
and communities of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming

The Business of Giving

Linda Childears' Blog

MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2018 | 2:04 PM

Helping Those Struggling with Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Pills When Bill Daniels set up the Daniels Fund, one of the grant areas he directed us to support was Drug & Alcohol Addiction. This grant funding area had special meaning for Bill because he struggled with the disease of alcoholism. At the urging of friends, he sought treatment at the Betty Ford Center, achieved sobriety, and was in recovery through the rest of his life. Bill recalled, "I made up my mind that I had too many things left in my lifetime to let alcohol get the best of me." In an era when these things were kept quiet, Bill was very open about his struggles, beginning most of his speeches by talking about his experience, in the hope that it would help others.

The Daniels Fund has been dedicated to helping people with addictions since 2000, and it is an area that is receiving increased national attention with the opioid epidemic that our communities are facing. We support many Drug & Alcohol Addiction programs with a wide range of approaches, but all focusing on three main areas: prevention, treatment, and recovery. Below are details on a few notable programs.

Our prevention funding focuses primarily on youth – making sure they understand the risks and repercussions associated with drug and alcohol use. A new grant to Digital Futures, will help grow this training program and curriculum for first responders to go into schools and present to young people about making healthy choices and avoiding the dangers of substance use and addiction. Rise Above Colorado, the organization that had much success educating young people with its Colorado Meth Project, focuses on impacting teen perceptions and attitudes about the risks of substance use, especially prescription drugs, through proactive education programs. In Wyoming, we are supporting the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police's (WASCOP) There Is No Debate awareness campaign promoting the benefits of living free from substance use.

We support a range of residential and outpatient treatment programs such as CeDAR, West Pines, Step Denver, and others. In addition, we are excited about a recent grant to West Pines, Face It TOGETHER, an innovative program that is coming to Denver. This free service pairs someone who is seeking help with a recovery coach who connects them with appropriate programs based on their personal situation and follows them through the process for five years to help them stay on track. Face It Together is also engaging employers to offer this service to their employees, recognizing that addiction costs employers a significant amount in lost productivity and health care expenses.

Recovery lasts a lifetime as people achieve sobriety and learn new skills to help them avoid relapsing. It is critical for people in recovery to develop strong connections and relationships built on trust, as this is the type of support needed to help them avoid the conditions that originally led them to addiction.

The Daniels Fund has supported two new high schools that focus on recovery, Landmark Community School in Colorado Springs and 5280 High School in Denver, which will launch in August. These are great options for high school students who are struggling with addiction because they provide an opportunity to focus on school with like-minded students in a supportive environment, avoiding the temptations and distractions that might exist at another school.

Phoenix Multisport is another organization that has had great success helping people in recovery build connections and healthy habits through physical fitness activities.

The Daniels Fund's ultimate goal is to help adults and youth with drug and alcohol addiction challenges achieve and maintain stability. Bill summed it up best when he said, "I enjoy giving people a second chance. I'm a recovering alcoholic, so I know a little about that."

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


MONDAY, JUNE 5, 2017 | 10:21 AM

Welcoming Our New Board Chair

Jim Nicholson We at the Daniels Fund are thrilled to have Secretary Jim Nicholson as the newly elected Chairman of our Board of Directors. As we welcome Jim, we also want to thank June Travis for her dedicated leadership as Board Chair over the past four years. We look forward to her continued service as a Board Member.

Jim has had an impressive career in business and public service. He is currently Senior Counsel with the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP. Previously, he served as United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the cabinet of President George W. Bush, and as United States Ambassador to the Holy See (Vatican).

Jim first met Bill Daniels' in the 1970s and the two remained good friends until Bill passed away in 2000. Bill named Jim as one of nine original board members of the Daniels Fund and Jim has served on the board since inception.

Recently, Jim spent some time with our staff to share personal stories about his relationship with Bill. We all really enjoyed hearing the stories and the opportunity to keep Bill's memory fresh in our minds.

Jim's personal connection with Bill provides great insight into Bill's vision for the Daniels Fund and we look forward to the leadership he will provide to the board.

Read our press release for more information about Jim

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2017 | 5:05 PM

Recreating Bill Daniels' Office

Bill Daniels' office Recently, Daniels & Associates generously gave the Daniels Fund all the original memorabilia and furniture from Bill Daniels' office. The office and everything in it had remained at Daniels & Associates, just as Bill left it for the past 15 years.

We cleared a conference room here at the Daniels Fund, and used these items to recreate the spirit of Bill's former office. The room is filled with things special to Bill, displayed much like he displayed them. There are numerous awards he received. Personal notes from several U.S. Presidents. Even a flag carried into space by Bill's close friend, astronaut Pete Conrad.

This office brings back great memories for me and for others who worked with Bill. You always had to be at your best when Bill called you into his office. One time, he might ask you to help him launch his next big idea. The next, he might be taking you to task for falling short of his high expectations. The time after that, he might call you in just to ask how your family was doing.

We are excited to have this office in our building — it is a very special place for us. I can picture Bill sitting at his table and I hope that he would be pleased with the work we are doing on his behalf.

Next time you're visiting with us, we would love to show it to you...and don’t forget to have a cookie from Bill's cookie jar!

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2016 | 4:46 PM

Welcome to the 2016 Class of Daniels Scholars

2016 Daniels Scholars at suprise announcement event Spring is always exciting at the Daniels Fund. In addition to the energizing effects of longer days and warmer weather, it is also the time when we select our new class of Daniels Scholars.

Our founder, Bill Daniels, loved to help out promising young people. He personally paid for many students to attend college during his lifetime. Bill provided these students with an opportunity to take a chance on themselves, and he also expected much from them — he wanted them to work hard, perform at their best, and help others when they were able. Above all, Bill enjoyed inspiring them, sharing his wisdom, and watching them succeed.

These experiences were what inspired Bill to direct the Daniels Fund to create the Daniels Scholarship Program. In keeping with Bill’s wishes, each year we seek out students who demonstrate exceptional character, leadership, and a commitment to serving their communities.

After receiving more than 2,200 applications in the fall, we narrowed the list down to 463 finalists. An impressive collection of community and business leaders throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming volunteered their time to help us interview the finalists. We are truly fortunate to have this level of support from the community, and appreciate the time and insight of our volunteers.

As we meet with these students, it is impressive see their drive, excitement, and integrity. Many of the interviewers remark to us how much they enjoy the process, and how confident they are in the future after spending some time with such amazing young people.

We are thrilled to announce the selection of 226 new Daniels Scholars. If Bill were here, I know he would be proud of these new Daniels Scholars, and would share our excitement for the many accomplishments they will make in the future.

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2015 | 12:16 PM

Ethics is a Lesson Worth Teaching

"I have always believed a person's integrity is the cornerstone of success in business and an indispensable part of personal relationships built on trust." — Bill Daniels

The name "Bill Daniels" is synonymous with the highest ethical standards. Bill believed in the importance of absolute ethical principles and considered the reputation he had earned for honesty and integrity to be his most important business asset.

Business Panel at Ethics Summit Daniels Fund continues Bill's commitment to ethics by investing millions of dollars each year to strengthen the understanding of principle-based ethics and integrity in young people. The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative, now in its sixth year, is expanding from a Collegiate Program in 11 colleges, to include a national High School Program and a public online Case Bank.

The High School Program is being developed for students in business and marketing education, and will include 27 key components, including a new 9th/10th grade ethics course, ethics competitions for school-based student organizations, student activities, and much more.

The Case Bank is an online library of business cases that propose ethical challenges that mimic real-world situations. The cases are free and available at DanielsFund.org/Ethics. Our hope with this initiative is for students to embrace the value of ethical conduct and allow a strong ethical framework to guide them as their lives unfold.

Ethics is a lesson worth teaching, and educators play a critical role in reaching young people at an age when integrity can be adopted most effectively.

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2015 | 12:55 PM

Treating Everyone with Dignity and Respect

"The lowest-ranked person should be treated with the same dignity and respect as the highest.
Remember: God created all of us as equals."
— Bill Daniels

I was recently asked by a reporter to tell about an "unusual" gift from Bill that exemplified his compassion for others.

What came to mind was the story about Bill's favorite waitress Wilma who worked at George's Restaurant in Hobbs, New Mexico. He had great respect for how hard a waitress works and stayed in touch with Wilma through the years even though he no longer visited Hobbs.

Near the end of Bill's life, after Wilma had retired, she received a $10,000 check from Bill in her Christmas card with a note explaining that she could expect the same amount every year the rest of her life. He wanted her to have a comfortable retirement after all those years on her feet waiting tables.

Bill's generosity came full circle when Wilma directed in her will that the remaining portion of his gifts be returned upon her death to the Daniels Fund. After she died, the Daniels Fund received a check for $90,000.

This story reminds me of Bill's compassion and genuine interest in the lives of others. He treated all people with equal respect and dignity, and never considered himself to be "above" anyone.

It is an honor for all of us at Daniels Fund to continue Bill's legacy of generosity.

With gratitude to our founder,

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2015 | 10:14 AM

15 Years of "Making Life Better...One Individual at a Time"

Bill Daniels at desk In March of 2000, Bill Daniels, a dear friend, mentor, and remarkable person of integrity and compassion, passed away.

Bill was a visionary who, before his passing, thoughtfully planned out his foundation. He specified his priorities, making certain that his legacy would be sustained in perpetuity. Were it not for Bill’s drive to be a successful businessman coupled with his desire to give back to those less fortunate, thousands of individuals, college students, nonprofits, and communities would not be benefiting today.

In our first 15 years, Daniels Fund has awarded more than $582 million in grants and scholarships throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming – states that Bill lived or worked in; or as he said, states that "contributed to the luck I have had."

It wasn't luck that contributed to Bill's success. It was the principles he lived by. It was the personal relationships he developed. It was his leadership, loyalty, passion, respect for others, and genuine desire to make a difference.

As Bill once wrote, "I've never considered wealth as the primary measure of my success. For me, the biggest kick I get out of life is giving back to those less fortunate and using money to do good things for people." I can't imagine what our lives and our communities would be like without Bill's vision for "making life better…one individual at a time."

With gratitude to our founder,

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2015 | 3:51 PM

Providing College Grads with the Competitive Edge

Daniels Scholar Derek Patton "I didn't get the job because I have no experience. But how can I get experience if I can’t get a job!"

Who hasn't heard this from a young person?

But I question if it's experience alone that employers are looking for, or is it character as well as experience?

If character — integrity, leadership, accountability, honesty — is the missing element, how and where can students “learn” these valuable soft-skills that will give them a competitive edge in the workplace?

Bill Daniels attributed his success to integrity, perseverance, and relationships, and believed that character, supplemented with education, was a sure formula for young people.

Through the Daniels Scholarship Program, Daniels Scholars are encouraged to work hard, strive for success, and take advantage of opportunities offered to them to make a difference.

How does our scholarship program prepare students for success in career and life?

We've learned that the standard of character, leadership, and service that is upheld by Daniels Scholars provides our graduates with a competitive edge that employers look for, and makes them desirable candidates for employers employers to hire.

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


SUNDAY, AUGUST 3, 2014 | 2:46 PM

From College Graduation to New Scholar Orientation

2014 Class of Daniels Scholars Summer is always a rewarding time of the year at Daniels Fund.

First, we celebrate the Daniels Scholars who graduate from colleges across the U.S. – many of whom are launching a new career; many of whom are continuing their education. We are proud of our Scholars who work hard to make the best of their college opportunity.

The Daniels Scholarship Program requires serious effort, and a dedication to honoring the program’s core principles and requirements. Students have access to dedicated staff support, specialized online programs, professional development, and a network of like-minded individuals.

Daniels Scholars know their hard-earned college degree will make a lasting difference in their life and the lives of those around them.

Next, we welcome the new class of Daniels Scholars at a three-day orientation called SHIFT – Scholars Heading Into the Future Together.

This year, 245 new scholars from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming assembled at the University of Denver for a weekend of classes, activities, networking, discussions, and a dinner-dance celebration. It was nothing short of spectacular! These students were determined, excited, inquisitive, and grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

There are now more than 1,300 Daniels Scholarship Alumni. We enjoy staying in touch with them and learning how they are actively engaged in their careers and in their communities. From engineers and teachers, to doctors and elected officials, Daniels Scholars around the globe are fulfilling their commitment to make the world a better place.

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 | 3:17 PM

Make "Ethics" a Verb

UCCS Ethics Case Competition team The third annual Daniels Fund Ethics Consortium Case Competition took place in April and I think it was the best one yet. Teams of business school undergraduate students from the eight Daniels Fund Ethics Consortium universities participated. With 77 students and faculty advisors from four states attending, it was a record year.

The thought-provoking ethics case involved genetic testing and workplace privacy, challenging the teams to delve into real-world business complexities. Teams, playing the role of a consulting firm, had about 6 weeks to analyze the case and formulate their presentation. And just like the real world, an unexpected crisis was unveiled during the competition, requiring students to think on their feet.

"That's when values get challenged," cautioned Joe Blake, Chancellor Emeritus of the Colorado State University System, speaking to the students at the kick-off dinner. He said the question of ethics and conflict most often comes "at that intersection with the unexpected, the unpredictable."

When facing an ethical dilemma, in business or in life, it can be very lonely. You don't always have a team. It's just you, your ethical principles, and the unexpected.

The goal of the Ethics Consortium is to help students build a solid principle-based ethical framework and the skills to navigate real ethical challenges. Bill Daniels considered his ethics and integrity his most valuable business asset and our establishment and funding of the Ethics Consortium reflects that. It provides students expanded access to business ethics coursework, case studies, speakers, and other activities. Events like this ethics case competition give students an opportunity to put their learning into practice.

Joe Blake's advice to the students that struck me as most important and remarkable was when he encouraged them to "Make ethics a verb. Make it your imprint."

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014 | 6:55 PM

Young People of Exceptional Character: Daniels Scholars

Daniels Scholars at Denver Nuggets gameSome Denver students were surprised to learn during a Denver Nuggets game that they were among the 260 chosen as new Daniels Scholars.

Photo credit: Garrett Ellwood/Denver Nuggets

Exceptional character and hard work pay off.

Ask any of the 260 newly named Daniels Scholars. They were selected because they embody character, leadership, and a commitment to community service — traits Bill Daniels identified as hallmarks of the scholarship program. When we announced the new class of Daniels Scholars, they were excited and proud. They told us they’re incredibly honored. They said it is literally life changing. They thanked us for believing in them. What the new Daniels Scholars don’t realize is that it’s almost as exciting for us as it is for them!

But the selection process is difficult work. This year’s pool of 2,571 applicants was carefully narrowed to 549 semi-finalists who all underwent interviews. With semi-finalists spread across the four states we serve, interviews were conducted in 20 cities over 25 days.

We can’t do this alone, so we invite leaders from each community to volunteer a full day to interview potential Daniels Scholars. This year we had 245 interviewers — top executives from business, educational institutions, nonprofits, and other fields. They bring tremendous insight and wisdom to our selection process. Interviewing is a challenging and emotion-charged day, yet these incredible volunteers thank us for the privilege of participating.

At the close of the day, one interviewer commented, “The word ‘humbling’ comes to mind, and it was an honor to be part of this.” Another remarked how inspirational it was to meet so many great kids working hard towards a brighter future for themselves and their families. The recurring theme from many interviewers was that these students give them hope for the future of our country.

I couldn't agree more.

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Linda Childears
President and CEO


SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 2014 | 6:35 PM

Our Board of Directors
A CEO's Perspective

Daniels Fund Board of Directors As CEO, I place tremendous value on what our skilled board of directors brings to the table. All except one of our current members knew Bill Daniels personally, working beside him as he made his mark in business or changed lives with his philanthropy. Their collective insight about Bill has been tremendously valuable in our work.

Our board members share much in common with Bill. Like him, they are all self-made men and women. Bill admired them for their entrepreneurial values and accomplishments. Several members faced experiences in earlier years that help them understand challenges like poverty or family alcoholism.

Our board of directors provides decades of experience — community engagement, leadership, portfolio management, regulatory compliance — essential to carrying out our mission. They’re extremely well prepared for board meetings, even with the multiple packets of materials they receive and read thoroughly in advance. Attendance at board and committee meetings is so strong, board members frequently choose to attend meetings for committees they’re not even on! This is a committed and hard working group. I have tremendous respect for this group, and have learned a considerable amount from each of them.

Our board members share another trait — a loyalty to Bill Daniels and dedication to honoring his directions. I find them unwavering in this regard. Having these people on our board through the early years of the Daniels Fund’s development has been essential to establishing this foundation as Bill Daniels envisioned it.

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Linda Childears
President and CEO