When Ashley Buderus volunteered at Il Piccolo Principe children’s foster home Bologna, Italy, in 2002, as part of her DU study-abroad experience, she had an epiphany.
She was planning to pursue a career in corporate business, but while working with the children, she realized she should dedicate her life to helping others.
“The service I did there was my tipping point,” she says. “A light went off that I could dedicate my entire life to service.”
Since then, Buderus (BSBA international business ’05) has engaged in many service projects and recently was appointed to the board of the El Pomar Foundation — the largest and oldest foundation in the Rocky Mountain region, which gives approximately $20 million in grants and community programs each year to Colorado nonprofits. DU is one of El Pomar’s top-10 grant recipients.
It’s not her first involvement with the prestigious foundation. After graduating from DU, Buderus was a fellow with the El Pomar Foundation, where she helped plan, initiate and promote El Pomar’s community programs in Weld and Larimer counties. Programs included: the American Council for Young Political Leaders, an international exchange program for young leaders active in politics; El Pomar Youth in Community Service, a program to train youth on community engagement and philanthropy; and the Student Leadership Experience, a collaborative program that brought together leadership programs from DU, the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Johnson & Wales University for a 500-person conference.
Another program Buderus helped implement was a fundraiser in which community leaders and the media encouraged first-time donors to give during the holiday season. The program raised $100,000 in eight weeks.
“This was significant considering individuals were only giving $100 or so at a time,” she says.
The El Pomar board of directors selected Buderus to serve on the board from more than 200 fellowship alumni. In a new, one-year position, Buderus will give fellowship alumni a voice for all of the foundation’s grant nominations. She says it is a “huge honor.”
“Ashley is a great addition to our board because she can see the philanthropic picture from so many different angles,” says William Hybl, chairman and CEO of the El Pomar Foundation. “She knows El Pomar inside and out from the time she spent here as an intern and a fellow. She also understands the perspective of a grant seeker. Add to that the fact that she hails from rural Colorado but lives in the city. Put this all together and I can’t think of a person better suited to fill this important role.”
After her year on the board is up, Buderus will stay involved on the foundation’s trustee council and will be part of the Fellowship Alumni Advisory Board.
At DU, Buderus serves as director of development for gift planning in University Advancement, where she works with local and national donors on planned gifts including bequests, life insurance, gifts of property and income-producing gifts. Buderus has worked in development roles at DU since 2008.
“I’m meeting with outstanding alumni who are extremely generous and want to give back, even when cash is not available,” she says. “It is humbling to work with individuals who want to give back in such meaningful ways. Some of my favorite stories are from alumni who never thought that someone ‘normal’ like them could give back at such a high level. Yet, they create endowed scholarships that make it more feasible for students to attend DU.”