A commitment to social justice of all forms has been Lauren Casteel’s life-long driving force. She is deeply committed to be the voice for a more humane world, especially for the most vulnerable in our society: women, children, and the racially, ethnically, and economically underserved. Casteel has been a pioneer in many fields and performed successfully in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Casteel has been a leader in three different foundations: The Hunt Alternatives Fund, Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, and The Denver Foundation. She instituted The Denver Foundation’s Nonprofit Internship Program, which creates an opportunity for college students to summer intern with a nonprofit organization with the goal that many of them will choose careers in the nonprofit sector. She has been a mentor to several of these students over the years. Casteel also developed The Denver Foundation’s Nonprofit Inclusiveness Project, which helps nonprofits become more inclusive of people of color and underrepresented groups, thereby changing the face of Colorado’s nonprofit community and engendering national attention. The Inclusiveness Project received the national Council on Foundations’ Critical Impact Award. This work has led to Casteel’s being a national leader on emerging issues relating to men and boys of color. She has also led other projects that relate to early childhood education, teen pregnancy reduction, veterans support, and gang violence prevention.
Casteel came to Colorado at the age of twenty and considers her connection to Colorado as deep and unalterable. In spite of some personal challenges she has had to overcome, Casteel continues to focus on making the world a better place. Throughout her life, her motto has been “From Surviving to Thriving.”