Pro Bono: Helping Those Who Help Others

Ted White and the Boettcher Foundation

Published in 2011 Colorado Super Lawyers — April 2011

Edward “Ted” White wears two hats: one, as chair of Moye White’s transaction section; the other, as chairman of the Boettcher Foundation, a charitable organization that provides scholarships to high school students, assists in the building of community infrastructure and distributes grants throughout the state.

The second hat, he says, means “having to work longer hours than I would otherwise, or work on weekends or do things in the evening. But at the end of the day I think it’s worthwhile to try to help out people and organizations who … are trying to help others.”

The Boettcher Foundation began in 1937 when a father and son, successful businessmen, decided to pay back a debt of gratitude to Colorado. White has been with the foundation for 12 years and was named its chairman in 2005. He chose it because its mission is carried out in an unusually resourceful manner. Using thorough research and exploring new ideas—such as encouraging multiple nonprofits to work together—Boettcher is able to see a greater impact from the nonprofit recipients it supports. “This creative and innovative implementation aspect is unique to the Boettcher Foundation and on a personal level, appeals to my entrepreneurial spirit,” White says.

He is particularly excited about the foundation’s recent installment of a program that sets up young teachers, who have a desire to work in low-income areas, with strong mentors.

Last summer, White, whose ancestors settled in the Colorado territory in 1860, served as chair of the nonprofit corporation that oversaw the 2010 Biennial of the Americas in Denver, a series of conversational roundtables, art exhibits and performances celebrating the various cultures of the Western Hemisphere’s 35 countries. White’s firm provided nearly $200,000 in pro bono legal services to support the monthlong inaugural event. “People met other people from other countries,” White says. “Connections were established and there are a number of ongoing efforts that arose from that.”

White says every project is deserving. “There may be some small school in the middle of a difficult area where the teachers are having a tremendous impact on a small group of students,” he says. “All of that can be very valuable, each in its own way.”

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