Sue Renner, Executive Director
Sue oversees the grant making and operations for the Merage Foundations, and is spearheading the development of the Foundation’s Early Learning Ventures initiative to increase the stability and productivity of Colorado’s ECE sector through market-based interventions. Prior to joining the Merage Foundation in 2006, Sue was the Executive Director of Early Childhood Connections, a nonprofit corporation providing early intervention supports and services to over 1,000 infants and toddlers and their families each year in the Denver-metro region. Sue also worked as a Senior Program Manager with the Colorado Office of Resource and Referral Agencies where she was responsible for launching Colorado’s T.E.A.C.H. program, a public-private venture to provide early care and education professionals with college scholarships.
Sue’s experience includes volunteer leadership roles with several community development, family support and early care and education organizations. In her tenure as President of the Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council she established several new initiatives including the Developmental Surveillance Project, a successful venture to engage pediatricians and parents in the early identification of developmental delays. Ms. Renner received her BS in Human Development from California Polytechnic University, and her MS in Child and Family Development from Colorado State University.
Sam oversees all marketing, communications, press relations, website, and social media management for Merage Foundations to elevate the organization and its partners. She also provides marketing, public relations, and social media support for the foundation’s non-profit entities, Early Learning Ventures (ELV), Equitas, and Black Cube.
Sam has nearly a decade’s worth of non-profit marketing and communications experience, ranging from writing, editing, and content management to social media development, management, and analysis. Prior to joining the Merage Foundations, Sam served as the Marketing and Communications Director for Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago, where she oversaw the school’s rebranding efforts, website redesign, and assisted with a multi-million-dollar fundraising campaign. Sam holds a BA degree in Writing from Millikin University and MA in Journalism from Ball State University.
Katie provides support in all grant making and operations for the Merage Foundations, in addition to oversight of programs. With a focus on fund development, she also supports the foundation’s nonprofit entities, Early Learning Ventures (ELV), Equitas, and Black Cube. Katie has more than 9 years in nonprofit and organizational development experience. Prior to joining the Merage Foundations, she completed year-long graduate practicums at both YouthRoots and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. Before residing in Denver, Katie served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Swaziland, Africa as a Youth Development Facilitator.
Katie received her BA/BS in Psychology/Criminal Justice from Northern Arizona University and her MS in Social Work with a focus on Organizational Leadership from the University of Denver.
Early Learning Ventures
Judy manages the overall operations of the Early Learning Ventures Alliance Model in Colorado, as well as oversees the business development, growth expansion and replication of the ELV shared services model throughout the United States. Prior to joining ELV, she owned and operated successful private drop-in child care centers in the Denver metro area, providing high-quality early care and education to thousands of children and families. Judy is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and is currently attending Webster University and will earn a Master’s in Business Administration in May 2015.
Judy also served as an Officer in the United States Army and has worked as a nursing instructor, staff supervisor, and consultant in a variety of settings in the health and early education industry.
Vincent is an accomplished national leader in community health management with a proven talent for accelerating the growth of successful start-up initiatives. As the Equitas Foundation Executive Director, he leads the strategic direction for the organization by catalyzing relationships, facilitating collaboration of community leaders, and serving as an advocate for individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system. In his most recent position as COO of the North Colorado Health Alliance, he supported and developed a network of 70 cross-sector organizations, ensuring their collaborative efforts toward sustainable community health were impactful. Vincent’s career experience also includes contributions to the Colorado Health Workforce Development Strategy with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, cultivation of a statewide healthcare professional pipeline program with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and several other positions in higher education, including serving as Assistant Dean at Fordham University and at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health. Vincent earned his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees at the University of Southern California, and his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University.
Cortney L. Stell, Executive Director and Chief Curator
Cortney Stell is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of Black Cube, a nomadic contemporary art museum founded by Laura Merage in 2015. In this role, Cortney directs the strategic planning, facilitates the daily operations of, and works closely with the Artist Fellows for Black Cube. Cortney has been an independent curator since 2006 while also holding the position of Gallery Director at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD). Cortney has curated numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally for museums, university galleries, biennials, and art events. Stemming from a philosophical interest in art as communication, Cortney has organized exhibitions that focus on experimental artworks in both conceptual and material nature, including exhibitions with artists such as Liam Gillick, Cyprien Gaillard, Daniel Arsham, and Shirley Tse. Cortney holds a Master of Arts from the European Graduate School in Switzerland where she is also currently a PhD candidate in Media Communications.
Consolidated Investment Group (CIG), an investment company founded by David Merage, offers an extensive in-kind support network to the foundations. CIG provides a vast range of professional services to the Foundation team including accounting, human resources, legal support, and much more. This partnership allows the Foundations’ operating expenses to be kept at a minimum; therefore, concentrating Foundation resources on program development and activities.