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Don Mares

President & Chief Executive Officer

Donald J. Mares, Esq. was appointed president & chief executive officer of The Colorado Trust in August 2022, after serving as interim president & chief executive officer for the preceding nine months. Mares was previously a trustee at the foundation for eight years.

Formerly the deputy mayor of the City and County of Denver in 2016 and 2020, Mares previously served as executive director of Denver Human Services, which provides support to one in three Denver residents to help them build and maintain overall well-being. Mares revitalized the vision of Denver Human Services by focusing on supporting a healthy and connected community through the timely delivery of essential services, and partnering to build a network of opportunity that identifies root causes and responds to the needs of the whole person and family.

Before appointing Mares to lead Denver Human Services in 2015, Mayor Michael B. Hancock tapped him to head the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies. Denver was the first metropolitan city in the nation to establish such an office. Previously, Mares served as president and chief executive officer of Mental Health Colorado, the state’s leading behavioral health advocacy and systems-change organization. He also served in Gov. Bill Ritter, Jr.’s cabinet as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. In addition, he was elected to two terms as Denver’s auditor from 1995 to 2003, and served as a Colorado state senator and state representative from 1989 to 1995.

Mares is an alumnus of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute’s Colorado Children and Families Health and Human Services Fellowship. He is also a founding member of the Caring for Denver Foundation Board of Directors.

Mares has received numerous awards for his work as a community leader, including his induction into the Denver Public Library Commission’s César Chávez Leadership Hall of Fame (2015), the Mental Health Corporation of Denver Outstanding Political Figure Award (1995), Labor’s Community Agency’s Community Service Award (1999), the Junior League Legislative Champion for Children Award (1996) and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Government Advocate of the Year Award (2000). Born and raised in Denver, Mares and his wife, Ruth, live in the city and have three children.

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Learn about the health equity issues affecting Coloradans at Collective Colorado, a publication of The Colorado Trust.