Linda Shoemaker has been involved in civic and philanthropic affairs in Colorado since 1963 when she moved to Boulder and began volunteering at the YWCA. She brings a wealth of skills and experience to her work as a philanthropist and activist, having worked as a weekly newspaper publisher and corporate attorney and served as President of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education.
In 1999, Linda and her husband Steve Brett personally sponsored of 40 at-risk students who lived in north Boulder. They help provide tutoring, mentoring and academic assistance so that the Broadway Dreamers would be able to graduate from high school and take advantage of IHAD scholarships. Linda served on the Board of "I Have a Dream" Foundation of Boulder County for 12 years.
In 2000, along with her husband, Steve Brett, Linda founded the Brett Family Foundation to address the needs of underserved youth in Boulder County and to create progressive social change throughout Colorado. At this time, Linda and Steve also purchased and renovated the Spruce Street Mansion where the Brett Family Foundation is housed along with The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County and other philanthropic organizations. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed over $5 million to direct service organizations, think tanks, advocacy and organizing groups.
Believing in the importance of alternative policy development and advocacy, Linda was the founding chair of the Board of the Bell Policy Center, a progressive think-tank in Colorado dedicated to opening gateways of opportunity for all Coloradans by providing the research and analysis necessary to stimulate public debate and develop effective policy alternatives. Since its founding, the Bell has provided leadership in addressing the fiscal and budgetary issues associated with TABOR (the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights). Reform moved to the legislature in 2005, with the Bell continuing to provide new research, analyze options, and support leaders in its effort to craft the eventual "Time Out from TABOR" compromise, referred to voters as Referendum C. In November of 2005, the Bell's efforts were finally realized as voters passed Referendum C and safeguarded funding for K-12 education, higher education, and indigent healthcare. The Bell has played a key role in the passage of legislation supporting opportunities for low-income workers, working families, and students.
For the last few years, Linda has been actively involved with the University of Colorado. She joined the Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board in 2009. In 2014, she was elected to be the University of Colorado Regent for the 2nd Congressional District. Her term will run from 2015-2021.
Linda is an award-winning philanthropist and civic leader. In January 2002, the Daily Camera recognized her achievements and contributions to the Boulder community by honoring her with their prestigious Pacesetter Award in the area of Community Service. In March 2002, the YWCA of Boulder County honored Linda with their Spirit of the Community Award. In 2004, Linda received the Award for Colorado's Outstanding Philanthropist from National Philanthropy Days. She has also been presented the Boulder Chamber of Commerce's Women Who Light Up the Community award and Downtown Boulder, Inc.'s Property Owner of the Year (for the Spruce Street Mansion).
Steve grew up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, graduating from Altoona High School, the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Once leaving Altoona for college, he never returned to live there, but goes back often to visit family and friends. Steve was an attorney at Dewey Ballantine in New York City, and in 1971 moved to Boulder, where he was a partner in the law firm of Sherman & Howard in Denver. He was General Counsel and Executive Vice President of TeleCommunications, Inc. until its sale to AT&T in 1999. Steve is currently of counsel at Sherman & Howard and Chairman of General Communication, Inc., an Alaskan telecommunications provider.
grew up in Boulder and graduated from Fairview High School. She
attended college at Harvard University and law school at the University
of Pennsylvania Law School, where she earned a Penn Public Interest
Scholarship for demonstrated commitment to public interest law. Claudia
lives with her husband (a public high school teacher)
in Denver, and they have two college-age children. She is a managing attorney in state government and has had a
lengthy career as a public interest lawyer. Claudia has awarded grants to both advocacy and direct service organizations that focus on criminal justice reform, access to healthcare and educational opportunities, and human rights. Claudia is President of the Focus Reentry Board of Directors and serves on the board of Mi Cassa Resource Center.
Matthew also grew up in Boulder. He graduated from Fairview High School and went on to the University of Colorado and New York Medical College. Upon completion of his medical residency, Matthew moved back to Boulder County. For several years, he served disadvantaged communities as a family physician with the Salud Clinic in Longmont. Currently, Matthew, his wife, and their three children live in Lyons, Colorado where he serves as the town's family doctor. Because of his strong interest in health policy issues, Matthew has awarded grants to agencies that promote improved access to quality health care.
Emily is the Brett Family Foundation’s youngest trustee. After growing up in Boulder and graduating from Fairview High School, she studied Political Science at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Upon graduation, Emily returned to Colorado, but chose Denver as her new home. After three years working as a Project Manager for the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, Emily received a Master’s in Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. Currently, Emily works in research and economic development at the Downtown Denver Partnership. Emily's trustee grants have been primarily to nonprofits providing reproductive healthcare to all Coloradans, regardless of their ability to pay, as well as organizations working to create a built environment in central Denver that makes it easier for people to lead healthy lives.