Linda Shoemaker has been involved in civic and philanthropic affairs in Colorado since 1963 when she moved to Boulder, and began volunteering at the YWCA. She brings a wealth of skills and experience to her work as a philanthropist and activist, having worked as a weekly newspaper publisher and corporate attorney and served as President of the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education.
Linda and her husband Steve Brett are sponsors of 40 at-risk students who live in north Boulder. They help provide tutoring, mentoring and academic assistance so that the Broadway Dreamers will be able to graduate from high school and take advantage of IHAD scholarships. Linda has served on the Board of IHAD for 12 years.
In 2000, along with her husband, Steve Brett, Linda founded the Brett Family Foundation to address the needs of underserved communities in Boulder County, and create progressive social change throughout Colorado. At this time, Linda and Steve also purchased and renovated Spruce Street Mansion where the Brett Family Foundation is housed along with many other philanthropic organizations. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed over $5 million to direct service organizations, think tanks, advocacy and organizing groups.
Believing in the importance of alternative policy development and advocacy, Linda was the founding chair of the Board of the Bell Policy Center, a progressive think-tank in Colorado dedicated to opening gateways of opportunity for all Coloradans by providing the research and analysis necessary to stimulate public debate and develop effective policy alternatives. The Bell has provided leadership in addressing the fiscal and budgetary issues associated with TABOR (the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.) In 2004, it worked to help build a coalition of people and organizations seeking to modify TABOR so that the state could meet the needs of its growing population. Reform moved to the legislature in 2005 with the Bell continuing to provide new research, analyze options, and support leaders in their effort to craft the eventual "Time Out from TABOR" compromise, referred to voters as Referendum C. In November, the Bell's efforts were finally realized as voters passed Referendum C safeguarding funding for K-12 education, higher education and indigent healthcare. In addition to TABOR reform, the Bell works on issues such as increasing access to higher education and creating gateways to economic opportunity for the working poor.
In January 2002, The Daily Camera recognized Linda's achievements and contributions to the Boulder community by honoring her with their prestigious Pacesetter Award in the area of community service. In March 2002, the YWCA of Boulder County honored Linda with their Spirit of the Community Award. In 2004, Linda received the Award for Colorado's Outstanding Philanthropist from National Philanthropy Days.
You may view Linda's website at http://www.lindashoemaker.com
Steve grew up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, graduating from Altoona High School, the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Once leaving Altoona for college, he never returned to live there, but goes back often to visit family and friends. Steve was an attorney at Dewey Ballantine in New York City and in 1971 moved to Boulder where he was a partner in the law firm of Sherman & Howard in Denver. He was General Counsel and Executive Vice President of TeleCommunications, Inc. Steve is currently of counsel at Sherman & Howard and works part time.
Claudia grew up in Boulder and graduated from Fairview High School. She attended college at Harvard University and law school at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she earned a Penn Public Interest Scholarship for demonstrated commitment to public interest law. Claudia lives with her husband (a public high school teacher) and two children in Denver. She is a managing attorney in state government and has had a lengthy career as a public interest lawyer. Claudia has awarded grants reflecting her many interests, including health care policy and advocacy, human rights and criminal justice, and education.
Matthew also grew up in Boulder. He graduated from Fairview High School and went on to the University of Colorado and New York Medical College. Upon completion of his medical residency, Matthew moved back to Boulder County. For several years, he served disadvantaged communities as a family physician with the Salud Clinic in Longmont. Currently, Matthew, his wife, and their children live in Lyons, Colorado where he serves as the family doctor. Because of his strong interest in health policy issues, Matthew has awarded grants to agencies that promote improved access to quality health care.