Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Indy Give! associate director says goodbye; transition plan announced

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 9:05 AM


Dear Friends of Give!,

It’s your fault I’m leaving.

You took a disaffected recent college graduate intent on leaving our town as soon as she got the chance, showed her a community of people who have invested years of heartfelt effort in making Colorado Springs flourish, and made her want to be like you.

Four years of your bright ideas, patience, laughter, gentle correction, enthusiasm, collaboration and perspective have convinced me that the mantle of nonprofit community advocate is one I’d be fortunate to don.

This week, I am indeed fortunate to join the staff of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. My assignment is to educate and engage our entire region – starting with young professionals, kids and families – in the crucial cultural experience these world-class musicians contribute to our Rocky Mountain lifestyle. In the exciting work of developing the kind of innovative programs that will rally a widespread community around a fantastic cause, I could not have had better teachers than Carrie Simison, John Weiss, Jack Ward, Michael Hannigan and the staff of the Independent.

All of us should be so lucky as to spend four years in the company of such a smart, funny, creative group of people with such visionary passion for the city they call home. Working with them on behalf of the Give! campaign has been my pride, joy and immense privilege.

I am reminded again just how many energetic, dedicated people it takes to make Give! the force for good that it is in the Pikes Peak region. The phrase “we couldn’t do it without you” is common enough to ring hollow at times, but in the case of Give!, the continued success of its heart-on-sleeve, seat-of-pants approach to philanthropy is entirely dependent upon the great goodwill and surpassing efforts of a staggering number of people. Readers, donors, sticker-wearers, volunteers, administrators, directors, board members, runners, partygoers, grantors, teachers, small business owners, researchers, designers, developers, reporters, editors, producers, idea-sharers, event planners, artists and servants of the common cause: Without you, Give! would not happen. I thank you for your belief in community giving for community good.

It is my hope that each of you reading this note will find a way to lend your support to the staff of the Independent and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation as they prepare to make Give!’s seventh year its best yet.

In my new role as a proud member of the Give! Steering Committee, I’ll be right there with you — please feel free to keep in touch with me at Long live Give!

With love and gratitude,

Claire Swinford
Outgoing Give! associate director


Hola All,

Give! has grown up with Claire — and vice versa. She started interning with the Independent’s editorial team about five years ago, and then started with the Give! campaign as a part-time staff member about a year later. It has been all of our pleasure to watch and enjoy her transformation from intern to an extraordinarily accomplished professional.

The Philharmonic’s gain is our great loss, but we are thrilled that Claire will remain part of the Give! community, not just in spirit, but also by providing ongoing transition consulting over the next several months. In addition, she’ll serve on the 2015 Give! Steering Committee and continue to coordinate Give’s wonderful ongoing relationship with the Colorado Springs School.

Moreover, thanks to our transition planning, we have a great plan in place for how to fill her high heels.

Starting April 1, Indy director of marketing and promotions Jack Ward will start playing a much larger role in Give!. He will be assisted by Caroline Swinford — yes, Claire’s sibling. Caroline has been a part-time staff member for Give! since last November. She will remain with the Give! campaign at least through May 2015 — and hopefully longer.

I will also step up to serve as managing director/co-chair of the 2015 Give! campaign – since as most of you know, Mary Lou Makepeace has taken on new challenges. I served in this capacity for the Give! 2009, 2010 and 2011 campaigns, and look forward to returning to this role.

If you have any questions or comments for Give!, the best way to contact the whole team is via

In the meantime, congrats to the Philharmonic and a million — make that $1.5 million — thanks to CLAIRE!

John Weiss

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