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Charity important to Monforts, Rockies

Charity important to Monforts, Rockies

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DENVER -- The fortunes of the Rockies keep Dick and Charlie Monfort in the news. The giving of the Monforts keeps them in the hearts of Denver and the state of Colorado.

Many educational, medical and cultural endeavors have benefited from gifts from the Monfort Family Foundation, a family-directed charitable organization that has operated since 1970 but has increased in profile thanks to the brothers' platform as Rockies owners and some high-profile gifts.

The foundation was started by Kenny Monfort, father of Dick and Charlie, for his own parents, Warren and Edith Monfort, to help the grandparents pass on an inheritance. When Kenny Monfort, a beef magnate and former Colorado State House of Representatives member, died in 2001, the worth of the foundation grew and so did the giving.

The most prominent gift was $10 million in 2004 toward building The Children's Hospital in Denver at the Fitzsimons campus, which opened in 2007. The oncology floor of the hospital is named after Rick Wilson, a cousin of Dick and Charlie Monfort, who died of leukemia at age 19 in 1970.

The Monforts and the Rockies have become identified with Children's Hospital.

Not only have the Monforts contributed heavily, but players and staff have for years made regular visits and contributions. Manager Clint Hurdle, who always has been active, stepped up his participation when his daughter, Madison, was diagnosed with a genetic defect known as Prader-Willi Syndrome shortly after her birth on Aug. 7, 2002.

"We do a lot of very special things with Children's Hospital," said Dick Monfort, speaking for his family's foundation and the Rockies' organization. "We're so fortunate to have Children's Hospital.

"You can give financially, but the team gives of time, a volunteering effort. You can have bricks and mortar, but it's nothing without those players going in and getting smiles out of those kids. It's a pretty good joint effort."

The Monfort Family Foundation also has given to many of the colleges and universities in the state, as well as to various agencies in the area of Greeley, where the Monforts are from.

Currently, Kay Ward, sister of the Rockies' owners, is president, Dick is the treasurer, Myra Monfort, their father's widow, is secretary, and Charlie Monfort and Kyle Futo, another sister, are vice presidents.

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"The rules of the foundation are you've got to give 5 percent to stay in this type of tax-exempt organization," Dick Monfort said. "Well, we probably give 10 to 15 percent. That's because when we see a need right away, maybe we'll give to the foundation.

"I always tell people that you'd think our foundation is a lot bigger than it is. But we just give a lot more. A lot of these other foundations stick with that 5 percent."

The Monforts say they're following the example of Kenny Monfort, who was active in the Greeley community, even if it was a project outside of his interests.

"One very good example that I'll always remember is the Union Colony Civic Center in Greeley," Charlie Monfort said. "My dad was not really an artsy-type person, but he thought it was worthwhile for Greeley to have that. So he took it on to chair the capital campaign."

Grant objectives include promoting educational activities, supporting the arts and conducting scientific research into diseases and ways to prevent them. For more information, call the Monfort Family Foundation at 970-454-2192.

In addition to the $10 million to Children's Hospital, other large-scale grants the foundation has made in recent years (which include future commitments) are $10 million to the University of Northern Colorado, $6 million to Colorado State University, $5.5 million to the University of Colorado Cancer Center, $5 million to the United Way, $2 million to North Colorado Medical Center/Normedco, $2 million to National Jewish Medical and Research Center, $1 million to the Denver Art Museum, $1 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs, $1 million to Habitat for Humanity, $1 million to Aims Community College, $500,000 to Craig Hospital and $500,000 to the University of Colorado.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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