Lauren Y. Casteel is president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado (WFCO), the only statewide community foundation focused on gender, racial, and economic equity. Upon joining WFCO in 2015, she became the first person in Colorado to lead three separate foundations. She is known nationally for her leadership in and dedication to excellence and inclusivity in philanthropy.
Through these lenses, Lauren directs The Foundation’s strategic plan and is responsible for The Foundation’s assets, which have grown from $22 to $34 million (Nov 2022) during her tenure. She diversified WFCO’s giving communities and investments, while elevating The Foundation’s three strategic pillars – community, philanthropy, and impact – to create a sustainable framework to meet the current and future needs of Colorado women. Under Lauren’s leadership, WFCO has received support from prestigious local and national funders, including Ford Foundation, Momentum Fund, Ms. Foundation, S&P Global Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and Women’s Funding Network.
Prior to WFCO, Lauren served at The Denver Foundation for 16 years as vice president of philanthropic partnerships and vice president of donor services. She launched The Inclusiveness Project, a program that garnered national attention by changing the face of Colorado’s nonprofit community and winning the Council on Foundations’ Critical Impact Award. She also instituted The Denver Foundation’s Nonprofit Internship Program to inspire diverse college students to choose nonprofit careers, helped establish the Reisher Family Scholarship, and grew the number of donor-advised funds to 400. From 1996 to 1998, Lauren was 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 served on the board of the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) from 2014-2021, and has been a member since 1991. In 2020, she was invited to participate in the Denver Mayor’s Economic Relief and Recovery Council 2020, Metro Denver Chambers’ Prosper Colorado, the Governor’s Colorado Centennial Vote Commission, and the Colorado Inclusive Economy Steering Committee.
Many civil rights, business, government, and media entities have recognized Lauren’s career contributions, including the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region, League of Women Voters, Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Girl Scouts, AAUW, the Denver Mayor, the Mountain Region Black Economic Summit, Denver Urban Spectrum, Community Investment Network, and the Denver alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
In 2021, Lauren received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Colorado.
A Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame 2014 inductee, Lauren is a frequent speaker, moderator, and panelist.