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Dick Winton

A Good Man

Born in Illinois, Dick Winton came to Colorado for a job and loved the state so much that he stayed. He worked for Gates Rubber Company for 30 years, and became deeply connected to Denver. He rode the Rockies, cheered for the Broncos, and joined the University Club. He dearly loved the mountains, where he hiked, biked, and skied.

Despite his outgoing personality, there was a private side to Dick: his philanthropy. He gave quietly and thoughtfully to the causes that mattered to him, especially the University of Illinois and national medical organizations addressing heart disease and cancer. He didn’t widely discuss his giving; he just did it. He first met The Denver Foundation in 2008, when the economy was crashing and Colorado’s emergency food system followed suit.

He had heard media stories about the Foundation’s work to put money quickly into food pantries so they could serve the ever-increasing flow of families in need. He read up on the issue, met with our staff, and made the first of a series of gifts to the Critical Needs Fund.The Foundation activates this fund when there is a situation looming that requires a combination of vision, collaboration, and funding to address or mitigate it. Since creating the fund in 2005, the Foundation has used the fund for energy audits and building modifications for nonprofit shelters and hospices; for emergency food and systemic work for the state’s hunger crisis; and most recently to house at-risk unaccompanied homeless women in Metro Denver.

Between 2008 and 2012, Dick made a series of gifts to the Critical Needs Fund for emergency food grants, food pantry collaboration and capacity building, and food delivery systems advocacy. He also updated his estate plan, naming The Denver Foundation’s Critical Needs Fund as a 25% beneficiary in his will. This quiet generosity is the capstone to Dick Winton’s remarkable life. Philanthropy was his “second act,” a role through which he will help thousands of people who never had the pleasure of knowing him except through his personal giving.

Dick passed away earlier this year, but his generous bequest will ensure lasting legacy in our community. Dick’s favorite saying was “Be good…but only if you have to.” It seems Dick felt he had to, because he certainly was, and we thank him for it.

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