News & Awards
Salazar Foundation and HUNI Support North Classrooms - North Denver Tribune, 1/7/2017
NORTH DENVER — 2016 provided the Highlands United Neighbors, Inc. (HUNI) organization, and The Salazar Family Foundation an opportunity to partner in support of augmenting North High School’s January 2017 classroom educational requirements.
The Salazar Family Foundation, founded in 1999 by Rob and Lola Salazar, has an established mission to encourage Denver-area students to achieve their educational goals. In partnership with HUNI, Denver North Facility/Administration, and North High School Alumni Association, the Salazar Family Foundation has provided additional educational opportunities through a significant financial commitment via a classroom grant.
The 2016 North High School Salazar Foundation Grant is focused in the areas of the Math, Science, English, Social Studies, Special Education, Music/Art, Physical Education and World Languages Departments.
Rob Salazar, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, is the patriarch of the Salazar Family Foundation. Rob’s passion and commitment to supporting North High School can be traced to his North Denver historical roots. Rob is an Alumni of Bryant-Webster, Horace Mann Junior High, and North High School. Concurrently, Lola Salazar the focal point, lead and voice of the Family Foundation worked side by side with all the stakeholders to identify those grant areas where monies could be applied for an immediate educational impact.
The Mission of HUNI, (a Lower Highlands Denver Registered Neighborhood Organization) is to facilitate consistent and responsible communication among Highland neighbors and the community at-large, to improve the quality of life for its residents, organizations, schools and businesses and to provide advocacy and promotion for our community.
Teaming with the Salazar Family Foundation, North High School, and the North High School Alumni Association, HUNI is proud to have helped deliver on a portion of their 2016 mission thanks to the financial generosity of the Salazar Family Foundation.
Latino Leadership inducts 6 into new Hall of Fame - The Denver Post, 11/3/2016
The Latino Leadership Institute at the University of Denver was formed in 2013 to engage and empower the next generation of leaders. Now it has expanded its reach by establishing a Hall of Fame to honor those who have paved the way.
Six distinguished members of the community — five living and one deceased — are the first members, having been inducted at a gala chaired by Timothy Marquez and Dr. Dean Prina and held on the United Club Level at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Marquez, who with his wife, Bernadette, founded the Denver Scholarship Foundation, is chairman of the Latino Leadership Institute board. Prina is a Denver pediatrician.
The need for a Colorado Latino Hall of Fame, Marquez said, became apparent because it is important for emerging leaders to be familiar with the accomplishments of “Those who hold a memorable place in Colorado history.”
People like 86-year-old inductee Joe Vigil, recipient of the Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Award.
An Eagle Scout raised by a single mother, this “Optimistic boy from the San Luis Valley” has spent seven decades coaching track, first at Alamosa High School and then at Adams State College. During that time, he would coach 425 All-Americans and help his teams win 87 individual titles — 20 of which were world medals in cross country. Vigil is perhaps best known for working with Deena Kastor, a 2004 Olympic bronze medalist; Brenda Martinez, one of two Latinas on the U.S. track and field team for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the late Ryan Shay, the NCAA Division 1 national champion in 2001.
Other inductees are Mission Yogurt CEO Rod Tafoya (Business, Innovation, Science and Technology); the Salazar Family Foundation (Community Service and Philanthropy); Federico Pen~a (Public Service); Susana Cordova (Unsung Hero) and the late Casimiro Barela (Legacy). Tafoya’s restaurant empire includes Que Bueno, Timberline Steaks and Grille, Einstein Bros Bagels and the Mission Yogurt sandwich and yogurt shop, all at Denver International Airport.
Rob and Lola Salazar’s family foundation, with $25 million in assets, was formed in 1999 to award the scholarships, classroom grants and fund literacy programs necessary to help children from low-income families achieve their educational dreams. Recipients include the Denver Scholarship Foundation, Escuela de Guadalupe, the Jefferson Foundation, Mi Casa Resource Center, the University of Northern Colorado and the Latin American Educational Foundation.
Federico Pena was a civil rights attorney when he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. He went on to become Denver’s Mayor and then serve as Secretary of the Departments of Transportation and Energy under President Bill Clinton. Today he is a senior adviser to the Colorado Impact Fund and Vestar Capital Partners.
Susana Cordova is a Denver native who has spent four decades as a Denver Public Schools teacher and administrator. She started as a middle school bilingual teacher, then went on to become a high school English teacher, elementary school principal and the district’s literacy director. Today she is the DPS’ deputy superintendent.
Casimiro Barela, who died in 1920, is remembered as a successful businessman, deft politician and bridge-builder.
He was just 22 when he was elected justice of the peace in Las Animas County. A year later he was named county assessor and then was elected to the Territorial Legislature in 1871. His portrait is one of 16 hanging in the state capitol dome.
The Hall of Fame Gala was emceed by 9News forecaster Belen De Leon and Ryan Spilborghs, a former outfielder for the Colorado Rockies now working as a broadcaster for Root Sports Rocky Mountain.
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Rob and Lola Salazar bolster UNC's newest innovation for student success, increasing total giving to $5.5 million for new Campus Commons, 2016
Rob and Lola Salazar dedicated a founding gift toward the completion of the University of Northern Colorado's newest facility, Campus Commons.
The gift of $500,000 comes through the Salazar Family Foundation, a Denver-based foundation with the mission of encouraging area students to achieve their educational goals. About 82 percent of UNC's undergraduates are Colorado residents.
UNC's mission with Campus Commons is to foster connections by providing a gateway to campus for everyone, a unique navigation and support hub that will offer individualized attention for students, and a showcase for UNC's world-class music and musical theatre programs.
The Salazar family has been a UNC supporter for several years—the Salazar Family Foundation established a scholarship to support UNC's first-generation students and student-athletes, and has been involved with various athletics initiatives.
About 34 percent of UNC students are first generation - the first in their families to attend college.
"Campus Commons will echo the mission of the Salazar Family Foundation by creating opportunities for each and every student to discover and live up to his or her potential," UNC President Kay Norton said. "Our top priority at UNC is student success and Campus Commons will bring that to life."
The innovative facility on UNC's main campus will break ground in the fall and is expected to be complete in two years. The university has committed to raising $12 million toward the $73.6 million project. In addition to $38 million in state funding and gifts, bonds backed by student fees will finance the building.
"We could not do this without the support of our donors," said UNC Board of Trustees Chair Dick Monfort. "We are excited to be a part of the Salazar's mission to ensure the best education possible for every student."
The Salazars also developed the award-winning student-housing complex near campus, University Flats, through their investment company, Central Street Capital, Inc.
Rob and Lola hit a home run for Athletics and Education, 2014
Schools celebrate $1 million reading grant, 9 News, 2012
Salazars emphasize education, La Voz Bilingue, 2011
Lola and Rob Salazar grew up in Denver, Lola in the Southwest and Rob in the Northwest. Although in different neighborhoods, the two were high school sweethearts and after graduating proudly from DPS schools, were married. The Salazars coin their parents as large influences in their lives. “We were grateful to have parents who instilled education and hard work in us. We always knew education was a priority and something we needed to pursue.”
After both received their degrees, a young Lola Salazar began her teaching career in Jefferson County Schools where she taught for 10 years before deciding to stay home with her two children. “I truly believed I was making a difference in the young lives I taught,” she said.
Rob Salazar saw business in his future. Starting his career as a certified public accountant, he went on to form his own CPA and consulting firm at the impressive age of 26. Receiving national recognition for his specialization in the healthcare industry, he is still at it today as part of Central Street Capital, Inc. where he and his two children, Isiah and Angelique, manage investments such as student housing, food service, retail, commercial and industrial real estate, healthcare and more.
It was their success in business and education that allowed for the Salazars to combine their work. It was after the tragedy of Columbine High School in 1999 on that dark April day when the Salazars both impassioned about education, knew they needed to do something. “We started the Salazar Family Foundation. Our first project was to give money to The Jefferson Foundation to assist with conflict mediation and literacy throughout Jefferson County,” they shared.
The 501 (c) (3) is in its 12th year of “impacting the lifelong learning of students.” The foundation doesn’t provide scholarships directly to students but rather supports a wider range of students by supporting nonprofit organizations that provide funding to students and schools in need. Over the years the Salazars have funded many programs with The Denver Public School Foundation, The Jefferson Foundation, Latin American Educational Foundation and Escuela De Guadalupe. The organizations supported use grants from the Salazar Family Foundation for things such as summer reading programs, books, safe playground equipment, bilingual learning resources, scholarships, computer labs and more.
Lola Salazar who attended Schenck Elementary, Kepner Junior High and Abraham Lincoln High School and Rob Salazar who attended Bryant-Webster Elementary, Horace Mann Junior High and North High School could not be happier being able to give back to where they came from. “We are so proud to know we are helping the six schools we attended in DPS. We want all students to believe they can succeed and they can make a difference.”
Today in Schenck Elementary sits a computer lab with Lola Salazar’s name on it. The “Lola Lit Lab” was dedicated to Salazar in honor of the alumnus’ selfless donations and serves as a reminder for students to thrive on a daily basis.
Today she still finds time to pursue other passions in her life. Nicknamed “Sugar” by her parents because of her love of candy as a child, Salazar decided it was time to remember the sweet, simple pleasures of life. She says on her website www.lolassugarrush.com, “Over the years, my passion for candy and all things sweet have only increased. So after a career in education, and raising a beautiful family, I finally found the time to realize my sweet childhood dream of owning a whimsical old-fashioned candy shop, elegantly decorated and loaded with nostalgic candy, candy bars, hard candies, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, cupcakes and gourmet desserts.” She looks forward to seeing adults take in the memories of their childhood and innocence of their youth.
From business to education to delectable candy delights, the Salazars have set an example for all within their community and beyond.
Gift Enables Dual-Language School to Double its Library
Salazar Family Foundation is Featured as a Donor, DPS Annual Report 2010
The Sol Trujillo National Lifetime Leadership awarded presented by the Latin American Educational Foundation, 2005
Crystal Globe for Distinguished Service, presented by the Jefferson Foundation, 2005
Distinguished Service Award, presented by La Raza, 2006
¡Scouting…Vale La Pena! Service Award, presented by Boy Scouts of America, 2007
Hispanic Hero of Our Community, presented by The Colorado Rapids Soccer Club, 2007