The Office of Advancement connects those who are passionate about education and research to the people and programs at CU Denver who can excel with their support. We serve as a trusted campus and community resource that inspires alumni pride and private support to advance CU Denver's mission, and we work to ensure a bright and promising future for CU Denver through robust engagement, transformative philanthropy, and a deep sense of pride in the university. We are also grateful for the advocacy and support provided by the Chancellor's Development Committee, a group of alumni and friends who volunteer their time and expertise in support of CU Denver's educational mission.
Vice Chancellor for Advancement
Melisa sets strategies for the university’s fundraising initiatives, including annual giving, major gifts, corporate giving, foundation relations and gift planning. She also oversees Donor and Alumni Engagement and Advancement Communications. With more than 19 years of experience as a university development professional, Melisa has contributed to growth in fundraising results in every position she has held. She has vast experience in setting the strategic direction and managing the operational execution of fundraising campaigns. Melisa previously worked in advancement at Kennesaw State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and University of Florida.
Melisa and her husband, Mark Reiner, live and play in downtown Denver.
Senior Director, Advancement Communications
Assistant Director, Advancement Communications
Senior Director, Donor and Alumni Engagement
A member of the Office of Advancement leadership group, Melissa directs donor and alumni engagement. She oversees the implementation and execution of programs related to recognition, engagement, stewardship, and gift administration for CU Denver alumni, donors, and friends who support the university in a variety of ways. She earned her BS in Hospitality Management from Johnson & Wales University and an MA in Education from University of Phoenix.
Melissa grew up in and around the Denver metro area and has lived all over the state, from Summit County to Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, landing finally in Highlands Ranch. You’ll find her accessing some of the area’s best trails like Waterton Canyon, Colorado Trail, the Highline Canal, or the Mary Lee Carter Greenbelt. She enjoys yoga, mountain biking, spending time with her dog, reading, hiking, raptor watching, comedy shows, and live music. If she’s ever missing, please search the deserts of Utah, she’s likely on one of their world-class single track trails.
Campus Program Manager, Central Annual Giving
Georgia is part of the CU Central Advancement team supporting CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus through crowdfunding initiatives, annual giving data requests, and key performance indicators management. She is a liaison to our student call center and assists with the implementation of annual giving campaigns.
Georgia is a North Dakota native who spent eight years with the University of Minnesota Foundation’s Annual Giving team. She received her bachelor’s degree in geoscience, with an emphasis in geography, from Minnesota State University Moorhead. It was also at MSUM where she launched her fundraising career as a student caller. Georgia has knocked on thousands of doors, stood on hundreds of street corners, and picked up the phone more times than she can count for local, national, and international nonprofits close to her heart.
She enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Chase, and dogs, Hoagie and Morty.
Assistant Director, Annual Giving
Associate Director, Alumni Engagement
Coordinator, Donor and Alumni Engagement
Assistant Director, Donor Engagement
Megan facilitates relationships between the university and its constituents, ensuring high-quality stewardship and engagement opportunities for donors, alumni, and friends of CU Denver. Megan oversees gift administration, scholarship processes, and fund maintenance; manages stewardship and recognition programs; and serves as a key resource for Advancement colleagues and campus partners.
Originally from Connecticut, Megan earned her Bachelors at Fordham University in New York City. She served as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in California and worked in the nonprofit sector in New England before joining CU Denver in 2015. In her free time, Megan enjoys traveling, podcasts, and cooking for and with her friends and family.
Senior Director of Development
A member of the Office of Advancement leadership group, Shira oversees the major gifts fundraising team and finds inspiration in helping donors match their philanthropic passions with CU Denver’s strategic priorities. She stays abreast of faculty activity, research direction, and academic programs to advise on fundraising priorities and assists campus units in building and maintaining strong volunteer boards.
Shira brings more than 12 years of development experience to her role, with extensive experience in marketing and communications, industry and foundation relations, board development, and nonprofit management. Prior to joining CU Denver, Shira served as Director of Industry Relations on CU Boulder campus, where she worked with corporations and foundations to create mutually beneficial strategic partnerships.
Originally from the Boston area, Shira holds a BS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MS in Management from Lasell University. She spends her leisure time climbing mountains or skiing with her two sons, husband, and dog.
Senior Director, Gift Planning
Marianne supports the fundraising efforts of the University of Colorado Denver campus and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus Advancement teams and assists donors and their advisors in considering and designing charitable giving plans as part of their personal financial and estate planning.
Marianne graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1982 with a B.A. in Psychology and from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1985 with a Juris Doctorate. She has practiced law in Oklahoma and Colorado (including a private practice in Colorado Springs from 1992 through 2003) in the areas of bankruptcy, civil litigation, wills/trusts/probate, family law, contracts, and business formation. Marianne is a member of the Colorado and El Paso County Bar Associations and a section member of the Elder Law and Trust & Estates committees. She also belongs to the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable (former board member), the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, the American Council on Gift Annuities and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Marianne and her husband live in Castle Rock with their three beloved dogs and have a son studying chemistry at Colorado State University.
Director, Foundation and Corporate Development
Anna directs the strategy and implementation of foundation and corporate development. Her goal is to build relationships that result in funding for programs across the university, especially those that prioritize serving under-represented communities.
Throughout her career, Anna has worked in both the higher education and nonprofit sectors in a variety of roles, including resource development, programming, publishing, teaching, and research. Originally from West Texas, she has since lived in a handful of states and countries, even serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine from 2010 to 2012. Currently, she serves on a nonprofit board and volunteers as a public policy advocate for gender equity and civil rights issues. Anna earned her M.A. in English Literature from Penn State University and her B.A. in English Literature and Cultural Anthropology from Texas Tech University.
Anna is currently pursuing her MPA with a concentration in Public Policy Analysis in CU Denver's School of Public Affairs. At home, Anna enjoys spending time with her husband, baby, and two cats.
Strategic Thought Partner, School of Public Affairs and School of Education and Human Development
Debra is an advancement and development leader with over 25 years of experience in fundraising, the last 15 years of which have been in higher education. Her expertise spans planned giving, faculty and staff campaigns, and principal gifts. Her earlier career began as an Army Officer, which took her from Los Angeles to Germany and many journeys in between. The adventure included her military husband and their two daughters.Debra is originally from New York, a city she loves almost as much as her top city: Florence, Italy. She received her Masters in Counseling from Long Island University at the U.S. Military Academy West Point campus.
Director of Development, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Ali directs the fundraising strategy for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in partnership with Dean Pamela Jansma and the faculty/staff. Ali is driven by the desire to make a lasting, positive impact on the campus and community, while also helping donors realize their philanthropic dreams.
Throughout her career, Ali has worked in both the higher education and nonprofit sectors, fundraising for the arts, environmental issues, and animal care and welfare. A true product of a liberal arts education, Ali holds a M.S. in Geography and a B.A. in Art History.
A Colorado native, Ali enjoys spending time in the mountains with her husband, two dogs, and one grumpy cat.
Strategic Partnerships Specialist, CU Denver
To improve educational access for students, Marci has a mission to create collaborative relationships and strategic partnerships between industry and CU. She has 15+ years of experience as an executive recruiter and business development professional within multiple verticals in the Denver market. The majority of her experience in recruitment has been in the technology. Marci has worked in aggressive sales roles on 100% commission and brings her love for developing relationships and making deals come together to serve the greater good, to the CU Denver Advancement team. Additionally, she has worked for CU Anschutz Medical Campus and the Office of Digital Education – CU Online.
Marci is a Denver native and graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in Communications and minor in Spanish. During college, Marci lived in Mexico and studied Spanish. Before debilitating hip injuries, she was a gymnast, dancer, tennis player, marathon runner, Pilates teacher to Division 1 athletes, Spinning instructor and coach for Girls on the Run. Additionally, she attended culinary school and served as Secretary for the D’Evelyn Education Foundation.
Marci is currently pursuing a MA degree in Education at CU Denver. Marci is married to Paul Grant and they have three children, the absolute joy in her life.
Director of Development, Business School
Elise has the privilege of working with incredible donors to bring lasting impact to the campus community and beyond through transformational giving.
Elise brings several years of fundraising experience within the nonprofit community at organizations like Mile High United Way and the American Heart Association. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Event Management from the University of Florida. Her passion for education, however, began several years ago when she pursued a Master’s degree in Education, also from the University of Florida.
Elise moved to Colorado several years ago from Tampa, trading beach sunsets for the mountain variety. In her spare time, she loves going on hikes with her son, Everett, hosting game nights, playing tennis, and being mediocre at trivia.
Director of Development, College of Arts & Media
Gaye focuses on working with individual donors in support of the College of Arts & Media. Her previous positions include major gifts officer at the University of Kansas Endowment Association, philanthropic services director at the Rose Community Foundation, and executive director of the Cherry Creek School District Foundation. She is a graduate of the Moody College of Communications at the University of Texas
Gaye enjoys creative writing and is currently executive producer of a feature film.
Director of Development, College of Engineering, Design and Computing
Leah creates connections with benefactors and matches passions with CU Denver initiatives. She primarily serves as a liaison to the College of Engineering, Design and Computing fundraising efforts.
Previously, Leah served as assistant director of development for CU Anschutz and development officer at Mayo Clinic, where she worked on inspiring gifts that helped to transform medicine and clinical care. She is considers herself a ‘relationship builder’ and ‘joy facilitator’ in the world of philanthropy.
She currently serves on the board of the Colorado Columbines, a women’s run club based in the south Denver suburbs.
Leah loves running, backpacking, mountain biking—anything ‘Colorado’—in her free time.
Director of Development, School of Public Affairs and School of Education and Human Development
Erin is development professional with over nine years of experience in higher education and philanthropy in Colorado. She started her career in 2010 at the CU Foundation on the Anschutz Medical Campus in donor relations, where she managed stewardship strategy, events, and gift administration. In 2017, Erin moved to the CU Denver campus as major gift officer.
Erin received a BA in Art History and Economics from Smith College and received her MBA from the Business School at the University of Colorado Denver in 2018 with an emphasis on leadership development.
As a Denver native, Erin is an avid lover of her hometown and in her spare time explores the state with her husband, Evan, and her dog, Wilco.
College of Architecture and Planning
Meg is the Community Partner Liaison for the College of Architecture and Planning within the Office of Advancement. In this role, she supports CAP’s unique initiatives to enrich students’ academic opportunities, such as the Justice, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship and Programming fund, the Design-Build program, the Classical Studies certificate, and more.Before forming a consultancy for architects and designers in 2012, Meg built her career in business development roles for home design and fashion accessory companies. She co-founded the Leaders of Design Council, and is a Board member and the Event Chair for the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art’s Rocky Mountain Chapter.
Assistant Director, Finance and Administration
Development and Operations Assistant
Gabi supports Vice Chancellor Melisa Baldwin and works on the Operations team. In addition to wrangling calendars, projects, and timelines, she supports the Advancement team with projects as needed.
Gabi moved to Denver from Ann Arbor, MI in 2017 to enjoy more sunshine, the city, and the mountains! In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to new places and exploring all the restaurants Denver has to offer.