The Office of Advancement connects those who are passionate about education and research to the people and programs at CU Denver who can excel with their support. We serve as a trusted campus and community resource that inspires alumni pride and private support to advance CU Denver's mission, and we work to ensure a bright and promising future for CU Denver through robust engagement, transformative philanthropy, and a deep sense of pride in the university. We are also grateful for the advocacy and support provided by the Chancellor's Development Committee, a group of alumni and friends who volunteer their time and expertise in support of CU Denver's educational mission.
Vice Chancellor for Advancement
Melisa sets strategies for the university’s fundraising initiatives, including annual giving, major gifts, corporate giving, foundation relations and gift planning. She also oversees Donor and Alumni Engagement and Advancement Communications. With more than 19 years of experience as a university development professional, Melisa has contributed to growth in fundraising results in every position she has held. She has vast experience in setting the strategic direction and managing the operational execution of fundraising campaigns. Melisa previously worked in advancement at Kennesaw State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and University of Florida.
Melisa and her husband, Mark Reiner, live and play in downtown Denver.
Senior Director, Advancement Communications
Associate Director, Advancement Communications
Creative Content Coordinator
Kevin is a voice for the impact of philanthropy at CU Denver. He seeks out and shares the stories of students, faculty, alumni and donors who are making a difference on campus and beyond. Prior to joining CU Denver, Kevin worked in communications and fundraising across multiple sectors and industries, from an early-stage tech startup to a national nonprofit to a leading global research university.
Kevin holds a degree in English from Indiana University and completed an AmeriCorps fellowship in nonprofit leadership in San Francisco. At various points throughout his education, he was voted most likely to write a book, most likely to be a principal and, in his first grade art class, the winner of the “Best Dressed Turkey Contest” — a true testament to his creative potential. Kevin enjoys hiking, biking, cooking and pretty much any activity that can be done while listening to a podcast.
Senior Director, Donor and Alumni Engagement
A member of the Office of Advancement leadership group, Melissa directs donor and alumni engagement. She oversees the implementation and execution of programs related to recognition, engagement, stewardship, and gift administration for CU Denver alumni, donors, and friends who support the university in a variety of ways. She earned her BS in Hospitality Management from Johnson & Wales University and an MA in Education from University of Phoenix.
Melissa grew up in and around the Denver metro area and has lived all over the state, from Summit County to Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, landing finally in Highlands Ranch. You’ll find her accessing some of the area’s best trails like Waterton Canyon, Colorado Trail, the Highline Canal, or the Mary Lee Carter Greenbelt. She enjoys yoga, mountain biking, spending time with her dog, reading, hiking, raptor watching, comedy shows, and live music. If she’s ever missing, please search the deserts of Utah, she’s likely on one of their world-class single track trails.
Campus Program Manager, Central Annual Giving
Georgia is part of the CU Central Advancement team supporting CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus through crowdfunding initiatives, annual giving data requests, and key performance indicators management. She is a liaison to our student call center and assists with the implementation of annual giving campaigns.
Georgia is a North Dakota native who spent eight years with the University of Minnesota Foundation’s Annual Giving team. She received her bachelor’s degree in geoscience, with an emphasis in geography, from Minnesota State University Moorhead. It was also at MSUM where she launched her fundraising career as a student caller. Georgia has knocked on thousands of doors, stood on hundreds of street corners, and picked up the phone more times than she can count for local, national, and international nonprofits close to her heart.
She enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Chase, and dogs, Hoagie and Morty.
Coordinator, Donor and Alumni Engagement
Assistant Director, Donor Engagement
Director of Strategic Engagement and Initiatives
Managing Director of Development
A member of the Office of Advancement leadership group, Shira oversees the major gifts fundraising team and finds inspiration in helping donors match their philanthropic passions with CU Denver’s strategic priorities. She stays abreast of faculty
activity, research direction, and academic programs to advise on fundraising priorities and assists campus units in building and maintaining strong volunteer boards.
Shira brings more than 12 years of development experience to her role, with extensive experience in marketing and communications, industry and foundation relations, board development, and nonprofit management. Prior to joining CU Denver, Shira served as Director of Industry Relations on CU Boulder campus, where she worked with corporations and foundations to create mutually beneficial strategic partnerships.
Originally from the Boston area, Shira holds a BS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MS in Management from Lasell University. She spends her leisure time climbing mountains or skiing with her two sons, husband, and dog.
Director, Foundation and Corporate Development
Strategic Thought Partner, School of Public Affairs and School of Education and Human Development
Debra is an advancement and development leader with over 25 years of experience in fundraising, the last 15 years of which have been in higher education. Her expertise spans planned giving, faculty and staff campaigns, and principal gifts. Her earlier career began as an Army Officer, which took her from Los Angeles to Germany and many journeys in between. The adventure included her military husband and their two daughters.Debra is originally from New York, a city she loves almost as much as her top city: Florence, Italy. She received her Masters in Counseling from Long Island University at the U.S. Military Academy West Point campus.
Director of Development, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Ali directs the fundraising strategy for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in partnership with Dean Pamela Jansma and the faculty/staff. Ali is driven by the desire to make a lasting, positive impact on the campus and community, while also helping donors realize their philanthropic dreams.
Throughout her career, Ali has worked in both the higher education and nonprofit sectors, fundraising for the arts, environmental issues, and animal care and welfare. A true product of a liberal arts education, Ali holds a M.S. in Geography and a B.A. in Art History.
A Colorado native, Ali enjoys spending time in the mountains with her husband, two dogs, and one grumpy cat.
Director of Development, College of Arts & Media
With over 15 years of experience in fundraising and communication research, Jaime McMullen Garcia is the founder of Jovial Communication. Throughout her career, she has excelled in development and leadership positions in higher education and other nonprofit organizations. Her passion lies in the joy that comes from connecting donors with their philanthropic passions.
Garcia previously served as the Chief Philanthropy Officer for Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, where she directed philanthropic activities. Additionally, she oversaw the successful execution of the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts Capital Campaign that raised over $60 million and opened its doors in 2018. Garcia started her fundraising career at the University of Colorado Foundation in 2003, and eventually served as Executive Director of Development for the Colorado Springs campus.
Garcia received an MA in Communication and a BA in Communication and Psychology with a minor in Professional Writing from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Jaime is currently an adjunct professor at Pikes Peak Community College where she teaches Public Speaking and Group Communication. Garcia served on the board of directors for Classical KCME FM and now serves as secretary on the board of directors for Leadership Pikes Peak. Jaime lives in Falcon, Colorado, with her high school sweetheart, Leo, their two boys, and two dogs.
Director of Development, College of Engineering, Design and Computing
Leah creates connections with benefactors and matches passions with CU Denver initiatives. She primarily serves as a liaison to the College of Engineering, Design and Computing fundraising efforts.
Previously, Leah served as assistant director of development for CU Anschutz and development officer at Mayo Clinic, where she worked on inspiring gifts that helped to transform medicine and clinical care. She is considers herself a ‘relationship builder’ and ‘joy facilitator’ in the world of philanthropy.
She currently serves on the board of the Colorado Columbines, a women’s run club based in the south Denver suburbs.
Leah loves running, backpacking, mountain biking—anything ‘Colorado’—in her free time.
Director of Development, College of Architecture and Planning
Meg is the Director of Development for the College of Architecture and Planning within the Office of Advancement. In this role, she supports CAP’s unique initiatives to enrich students’ academic opportunities, such as the Justice, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship and Programming fund, the Design-Build program, the Classical Studies certificate, and more.Before forming a consultancy for architects and designers in 2012, Meg built her career in business development roles for home design and fashion accessory companies. She co-founded the Leaders of Design Council, and is a Board member and the Event Chair for the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art’s Rocky Mountain Chapter.
Director, Finance and Administration
Office and Project Administrator
Gabi supports Vice Chancellor Melisa Baldwin and works on the Operations team. In addition to wrangling calendars, projects, and timelines, she supports the Advancement team with projects as needed.
Gabi moved to Denver from Ann Arbor, MI in 2017 to enjoy more sunshine, the city, and the mountains! In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to new places and exploring all the restaurants Denver has to offer.
Emily serves in her role as Development Assistant supporting the Office of Advancement. She works alongside other members of the Operations team to perform daily administrative tasks and duties. In addition, Emily works with the Office of Donor and Alumni Engagement, serving as the data and records management resource for the team. She also provides support for stewardship and engagement initiatives. Working in higher education advancement, Emily is most looking forward to seeing the impact giving can have on students educational outcomes.Emily graduated in the Spring of 2021 with a Masters in Public Affairs from Indiana University and moved to Colorado to begin her Career in Advancement. She is excited to explore her new city, specifically the Denver coffee shops and farmers markets.