Date of Birth
Libby Bortz has spent her life working to make a difference in the lives of others through counseling, housing, education, and criminal justice. Through her private practice as a psychiatric social worker, she became aware of the plight of women when community resources, including mental health resources, were not available to them. She decided to do something about it.
Bortz’s tireless efforts enabled Littleton to become one of the first suburban communities nationally to create a Housing Authority. She rallied support with the citizenry as well as the local government of the need. The Authority was created in 1971. She became one of its first members and continued to provide leadership and creativity for 47 years. She was instrumental in the effort to build a senior high-rise apartment building. What became the Bradley House was possible because after HUD rescinded the offer of funding, she organized a protest of senior citizens and the funding was reinstated. She convened all the housing authorities in the state and served as first chairperson of the Colorado Association of State Housing Authorities. She conceived of the idea of having the Housing Authority build an assisted-living facility. That facility is today the Libby Bortz Assisted Living Center. It was the first assisted-living center in the U.S. to be built by a housing authority.
For many years, Bortz served on the governing council of Arapahoe Community College (ACC). She believed passionately that to truly be a community college, the institution must serve the needs of the entire community. She advocated for and developed courses and programs for women, teaching ways to develop self-esteem and how to unleash potential. She saw the plight of displaced homemakers, convinced ACC to open a Women’s Resource Center, and provided leadership to colleges throughout Colorado to do the same. As a result, women’s studies programs were established in many of these institutions.
Due to her involvement and visibility in the community, Bortz was asked by the District Attorney of Arapahoe County to serve on a criminal justice task force and became a member of the 18th Judicial District’s Victim Compensation Board. It was clear to her that many victims of crime were women and that service on the board would provide an avenue of assistance to those in need. Bortz worked vigorously to include the programs that served the needs of women who were victims of domestic violence and other crimes.
In addition, Bortz helped women to be able to obtain credit, she worked to expand appropriate mental health treatment for women, and a lawsuit she initiated helped to enlarge opportunities for women to be accepted into medical schools and subsequently law schools.
A can-do person, a role model and leader, Bortz knew she could do something about women’s issues she saw in the community, especially regarding education, housing, and criminal justice, to help make everyone feel worthwhile and enable them to contribute to society.