Proceeds to benefit Denver and Colorado tourism and hospitality students.

Although pandemic restrictions on indoor events have quashed its annual fundraising gala this year, the VISIT DENVER Foundation won’t be derailed from its mission of generating funds for Colorado tourism and hospitality students. The Foundation has shifted gears and will launch a new 12-day scholarship fund appeal on March 1 in lieu of its popular annual Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame event, which has helped the organization award over $1.2 million in scholarships for 438 students statewide since its inaugural year in 1999.

“These students are the future of an industry that supports more than 64,000 jobs in the Denver Metro area in normal times, and we believe they will need funding support now more than ever,” said Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER. “Supporting these Colorado hospitality school graduates also helps to boost much needed workforce development in our city’s $6.5 billion industry.”

With a campaign goal of $75,000, the Foundation hopes its new approach will help to build on a successful 2020 when it was able to award $70,700 in scholarships to 29 students despite the onset of the pandemic. And, it has already secured in-kind support this year from some key community partners including AEG Presents and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Additionally, Coors Brewing Company has generously committed to matching donations up to $10,000.

As part of its renewed efforts, the Foundation also is launching a clever marketing campaign entitled “Hospitality Heroes of the Future” that will highlight past and present student beneficiaries and profile partner university hospitality programs, primarily through digital channels.

All donations are tax deductible and can be made to the VISIT DENVER Foundation. Matching donations also are welcome, and donors even have the option of underwriting a student scholarship in their name (or company name). More information on the program can be found on the VISIT DENVER Foundation Scholarship Program webpage. You can also show your support of the VISIT DENVER Foundation by following on Facebook and interacting with posts. To learn more, view the Social Media Toolkit.

About the VISIT DENVER Foundation

The VISIT DENVER Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, was established in 1996 and is generously sponsored and supported by VISIT DENVER, as well as by individuals and corporations in the Denver metro area and beyond. The VISIT DENVER Foundation seeks to advance the travel & tourism industry in the Denver Metro area through activities and projects that enhance education, professional development and training for individuals involved in or interested in the travel & tourism industry. To achieve this goal, the VISIT DENVER Foundation provides scholarships designed to support undergraduate students pursuing degrees in the travel & tourism industry at accredited, four-year universities or colleges in Colorado. Since its inception, the VISIT DENVER Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million in scholarships, impacting the lives of 438 college students who are now beginning careers in some aspect of the travel & tourism industry. In addition, the Foundation has given $120,000 for support of educational opportunities as part of the Mayor's homeless initiative, Denver's Road Home.

The VISIT DENVER Foundation supports the following hospitality programs:

  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Colorado State University
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • University of Denver
  • University of Northern Colorado