Mae Boettcher, an unassuming and thoughtful philanthropist, was a forward-thinking cultural pioneer. Ahead of her time, she obtained her pilot’s license as a young woman and directed philanthropic and corporate boards in later years. She, supported visionary investments in Colorado’s cultural and healthcare facilities.
Boettcher is best known for her philanthropy. During the 43 years she served on the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees, she helped direct more than $100 million in grantmaking to Colorado communities. Her philanthropic legacies include Boettcher Concert Hall at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Boettcher Conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the donation of the Boettcher home to the State of Colorado as the Governor’s Residence. She was a supporter of the Boettcher Scholarship program, and oversaw the awarding of more than 1,600 full-ride scholarships to Colorado’s most gifted students.
Twice widowed, Boettcher was a formidable champion for women’s and children’s health. She funded HIV/AIDS research and was a lifelong supporter of Planned Parenthood. Boettcher also served on the board of Children’s Hospital from 1951-1976, and made major contributions to the Mae Boettcher Center for Pediatric Imaging. The Mae Boettcher Society was formed in her honor to recognize major donors to the hospital.
Boettcher led an unconventional path in the professional world. She began her career as an administrative assistant at the Denver Health Medical Center and worked at a gun manufacturer during World War II. She was also one of Colorado’s first female pilots and a member of the female aviation club, the Amelia Earhart’s 99s. Boettcher supported the business endeavors of her second husband, Charles Boettcher II, and solidified the prominence of the Brown Palace Hotel by hosting the Eisenhower family and numerous dignitaries during her time as a director of the Brown Palace Company.
From humble beginnings, Boettcher became a woman of lasting influence in Colorado. Her dedication to higher education, healthcare, and her selfless philanthropy impacted the lives of countless women and children. She left her mark on our state as a cultural pioneer—a figure who led Colorado from its “Cow Town” days into an era of world-class culture with a vibrant community philanthropy.