Lauren Y. Casteel is president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado (WFCO). Upon joining The Foundation in February 2015, she became the first person in Colorado to lead three separate foundations and is known nationally for her leadership in and dedication to excellence and inclusivity in philanthropy.
Through these lenses, Lauren directs The Foundation’s 2017-2021 strategic plan; oversees the finance, development, programs, and communications teams; and is responsible for The Foundation’s assets, which are valued at more than $22.5 million. Her trademark is an asset-based approach, in which all parties’ voices and strengths are listened to, respected, and projected for outcomes that benefit women and families of every background and identity.
Prior to WFCO, Lauren served at The Denver Foundation for 16 years, most recently as vice president of philanthropic partnerships. As the first person to serve in the role, she launched The Inclusiveness Project, a program that increased the recruitment and retention of people of color at Metro-Denver nonprofits. The program changed the face of Colorado’s nonprofit community and garnered national attention when it won the Council on Foundations’ Critical Impact Award. She also instituted The Denver Foundation’s Nonprofit Internship Program, intending to inspire college students to choose a career in the nonprofit sector. As the vice president of donor services at The Denver Foundation, Lauren helped establish the Reisher Family Scholarship and grow the number of donor-advised funds to 400.
From 1996 to 1998, Lauren served as the executive director of The Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation. Prior, she spent six years at The Hunt Alternatives Fund as the executive director, then as the president. Lauren serves on the board of the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) and has been a member since 1991. She was previously on the Council on Foundations’ Community Foundations Leadership Team and the national taskforce for Community Leadership of Community Foundations Leading Change. Throughout her career, Lauren has earned numerous accolades, including: Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region’s Civil Rights Award; The Colorado Women’s Chamber’s 25 Most Powerful Women Award; AAUW’s Trailblazer Award; the Girl Scout’s Woman of Distinction Award; the Monte Pascoe Civic Leadership Award; the Mountain Region Black Economic Summit’s Legacy Award; the “Timeless Legend” Award by Denver Urban Spectrum; and the Women of Power and Purpose Award by the Denver Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
A Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame inductee, Lauren is a frequent speaker, moderator, and panelist.