Meet Carrie Morgridge
I didn’t grow up with money. In high school, I had to work two jobs to support myself. But I did come from a loving and supportive family. It was my parents who taught me the importance of education, determination and hard work. Those lessons continue to define me today.
When I met John, my husband, my life began to change in miraculous ways. It was an exciting adventure. From day one, John’s family welcomed me into their lives with love and open arms. When my in-laws launched their family foundation, my husband was invited to serve on the board of directors. It was a truly humbling experience, and I was so fortunate to have a husband who included me a non board member in the foundation’s giving process as an equal partner and leader.
This was the start of my life and career as a philanthropist. I had to do a lot of research, and at times, I was pretty scared and intimidated. For me, it’s easy to write a check. But, I wanted to learn which organizations shared my passions and could maximize our investments. So I started to get involved, and joined the Aspen Valley Community Foundation Board with some of the world’s leading philanthropists. This was where I learned how to be a nonprofit board member, how to measure impact, how to strategize growth, and how to give my time, treasure and talent.
Over time, I began to realize the importance of research and relationship-building within philanthropy. I’m never hesitant about my giving, because I always do my research.
I always look for strong leadership, innovation, and sustainability, and I always make an effort to meet and build relationships with the people and organizations I invest in.
I’m drawn to effective strategies and the potential for impact. That’s why when I fund organizations that focus on women’s and girls’ advancement, I never think about it as excluding men and boys from empowerment. I know that investing in women and girls can lead to the advancement of their communities, including men and boys, and beyond.
In 2009, I made my big + bold gift to the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. Since then, I have continued to focus my philanthropic work on initiatives that empower women, men, girls and boys, especially through STEM education.
As of today, our foundation has endowed the American Association of University Women Scholarship and the Morgridge Family Opportunity Scholarship at Plymouth State University, John’s Alma Mater. It is through our foundation’s support of PSU and similar organizations and institutions that we hope to transform our country’s educational system to better educate and empower our students to grow, lead and thrive.
Sam Wisel Describes the Impact
Major Gifts Officer, Plymouth State University
Plymouth State University is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment with an enrollment of approximately 4,300 undergraduate and approximately 3,000 graduate students.
Carrie is a real advocate for the work we do at Plymouth State University.
As a donor, she really cares about the sustainability and long-term impact of the projects she funds. The Morgridge Family Opportunity Scholarship Endowment, for example, has been an incredible gift to our school and the students and families it supports.
This endowment was established in 2004 as a way to help bridge the gap between diminishing federal student aid and the actual cost of a university education. Most of the recipients are women who come from underprivileged backgrounds, and a fair amount of women are single mothers.
This past year, we had one student apply for the scholarship program who was working about 60-70 hours a week to support herself and her family. The MFOS helped lower her tuition costs so that she could have more time to focus on advancing her education and supporting her children. We support 4 to 6 students annually through the MFOS program. Through John’s and Carrie’s passion for education and generosity, we are able to provide hardworking students the opportunity to earn their four year degree and advance their career.