Our Team

Sue Renner, Executive Director

Sue directs the Merage Foundations, a consortium of seven foundations and nonprofits representing three generations of the David and Laura Merage family in Denver, Colorado. With a focus on ventures philanthropy, Sue provides strategic oversight for Early Learning Ventures (ELV), Black Cube, CareForAllChildren, and the many other initiatives that the foundation leads. Sue plays an integral role in Merage Foundations’ advocacy surrounding early childhood policy, including the advancement of access to affordable, high-quality child care. Sue is a member of Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ Education Policy Council and the Colorado Early Childhood Leadership Commission. Additionally, Sue is a founding Board Member of EPIC, director of Bright by Three, a member of the American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network, and an advisor to the Bi-Partisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Initiative.

Cassie Leyva, Project Specialist

Cassie coordinates a wide variety of venture philanthropy projects for the Merage Foundations including leading strategic public awareness campaigns, managing cross organization marketing initiatives, administering grants, budgeting and providing project management to many other foundation initiatives. Currently, Cassie oversees the David and Laura Merage Foundation’s advocacy campaign CareForAllChildren which aims to amplify the child care affordability crisis, and unite a movement of parents and their allies who are seeking federal and state child care financing reform. Cassie brings a unique background in private and nonprofit project management with over 10 years’ experience in development and communications. Most recently Cassie spent four years tackling health disparities in Colorado but also founded and ran a nonprofit out of East Africa for many years.    

Katie Lunde, Culture & Communications Strategist

Katie oversees all strategic communication efforts for the Merage Foundations to elevate the great work of the organization and its partners, both internal and external. By generating positive exposure and increased awareness of our programs and initiatives, the Merage Foundations are able to develop new partnerships and create long-lasting impact in the community. Katie likewise nurtures the organizational culture of the Merage Foundations, Early Learning Ventures, Black Cube, and Consolidated Investment Group to support a positive, engaging work environment for all associates. Katie has more than 10 years in nonprofit and organizational development experience.

In-kind Support

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 minimized; therefore, concentrating Foundation resources on program development and activities