A Family Rooted In Metro Denver

The Denver Foundation

There was always room for a few extra guests at Sunday dinner in Barbara Berv’s childhood home. Her father wanted his children to meet and break bread with people of different backgrounds, to learn what they thought and believed, especially after the family moved from north Denver to a less racially diverse neighborhood.

“We went to Wellshire Presbyterian Church and there would often be someone from outside the US at the service,” says Barbara. “My father would approach the person and ask, ‘How would you like to join us for chicken dinner?

“‘If you don’t live in a place with diversity, you have to make it happen,’” Barbara recalls her dad saying. In their household, a stranger from the grocery store often turned into a new friend. That way of looking at the world, with empathy, curiosity, and care for others, planted a seed for Barbara’s career with nonprofits as well as her own philanthropy: “Philanthropy,” after all, means “love of humanity.”

“As a Denver native, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the community. The needs are different from when I was a kid,” Barbara says. “The needs will be different after I am gone. I know that donor support allows the Foundation to meet changing needs for years to come.”

Similarly, Barbara’s husband Dan can trace a lifelong interest in social justice to personal experiences. A native of New York City and a graduate of New York University, he grew up around people of all backgrounds. One night in 1969, when Dan was living in Greenwich Village, he heard a commotion outside and the voices of people in the streets. Dan looked out his window and saw the eruption of what escalated into the Stonewall Riots. His heart was forever changed by the sight of such violence inflicted upon his gay friends and neighbors.

Dan eventually headed west after a few years as a young professional in New York City. He and Barbara met, married, and raised their children in Denver. Together, their lives have centered around their shared passion for public education, the arts, youth-serving organizations, and their church. As philanthropists and participants, Barbara and Dan show up for the issues they care about.

Dan is an accomplished artist who shows his work at local art shows and in his studio in the Golden Triangle neighborhood. Barbara is a third generation Coloradan who attended Denver Public Schools (DPS) and Colorado State University, where she trained as a teacher.

Barbara’s career led her into the corporate and nonprofits sectors, where she held leadership roles as President of the DPS Foundation and Vice President of Philanthropic Services at The Denver Foundation.

After a fulfilling career, Barbara recently retired from The Denver Foundation. But she remains actively engaged in philanthropy. As donor-advised fund holders, she and Dan made a high-impact gift to Denver’s innovative Social Impact Bond (SIB), which supports permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless men, women, and families in Denver. Their son is also a donor to the project. Barbara and Dan chose to invest their DAF in the Foundation’s Socially Responsible Investment Fund, to better align their investments and their values.

During her years with The Denver Foundation, Barbara experienced firsthand the impact of legacy gifts. As members of our Community Legacy Society, the Bervs plan an estate gift to the Foundation’s Fund for Denver, which will help meet the needs of the future. The instinct to do so is rooted in both of their pasts.

“As a Denver native, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the community. The needs are different from when I was a kid,” Barbara says. “The needs will be different after I am gone. I know that donor support allows the Foundation to meet changing needs for years to come.”

To learn more about planning your charitable legacy, please contact our Philanthropic Services Group at 303.300.1790 or email kpurdy@denverfoundation.org.

The core asset of The Fund for Denver is our permanent endowment.The Fund for Denver is made up of a variety of charitable assets that have been entrusted to The Denver Foundation for investment management and strategic grantmaking. Our permanent endowment is made up of unrestricted gifts to The Denver Foundation to meet the needs of today and ensure there are resources for building a better Denver far into the future.

Contact us

Senior Communications Officer: Laura Bond | lbond@denverfoundation.org

Communications Associate: Dele Johnson | djohnson@denverfoundation.org


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