Philanthropy Colorado names next Chief Executive Officer

Thursday, February 1, 2024
Philanthropy Colorado is pleased to announce the selection of community leader and foundation veteran Noah Atencio as its next CEO following a highly competitive nationwide search.

Atencio brings more than two decades of experience in philanthropy, grantmaking and program development, most recently as the Vice President of Community Impact at Colorado Gives Foundation. He will succeed Joanne Kelley, who has led the statewide membership network through almost 15 years of transformation and growth and will retire on April 5, 2024, following a brief transition.

Atencio has been a visionary leader whose career has been in service to three of Colorado’s best-known institutional philanthropies: El Pomar Foundation, the Daniels Fund and Colorado Gives.

“I am honored and excited about the opportunity to lead Philanthropy Colorado through its next phase of growth as it pursues its mission of bringing people, information and resources together to strengthen Colorado communities,” says Atencio. “I look forward to working with our amazing team to support the institutions, families, individuals and professionals who are relentless in making Colorado better for everyone.”

In the community, Atencio has also served on numerous commissions and held advisory roles on issues related to early childhood, homelessness, and substance abuse. He is the immediate past chair of the Denver Latino Commission and a board member of TedxMileHigh, Lifespan Local and the Colorado Conservatory of Dance.

Atencio was honored nationally in 2017 by the Council on Foundations with the prestigious Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking. The Denver Business Journal recognized him with its 40 Under 40 Award in 2008.

“We are thrilled to welcome Noah Atencio as our next CEO,” said Tariana Navas-Nieves, Philanthropy Colorado Board Chair and Director of Cultural Affairs, Denver Arts & Venues. “He represents our values of collaboration, generosity, equity and inclusion. He knows our field well and is a seasoned and innovative leader with strong connections and community roots. He is the ideal choice to build on the excellent work of our long-time CEO Joanne Kelley.”

Atencio is a student of leadership and an alum of the Presidents Leadership Class at CU Boulder, the El Pomar Fellowship, Leadership Jeffco, and the Latino Leadership Institute. In addition to receiving a bachelor’s degree in cCommunications from University of Colorado Boulder, Atencio earned a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Colorado Denver. He and his wife Diana have two children and are active in the Denver community.

Outgoing CEO Joanne Kelley celebrated the Board of Director’s selection, noting “Noah’s experience with a diverse set of foundations and his deep knowledge of the issues facing Colorado communities uniquely qualify him to lead the state’s dynamic and diverse philanthropy network. I look forward to working closely with him in the coming weeks as we prepare for a smooth transition.” She extended a special thanks to the board’s search committee, led by Boettcher Foundation President and CEO Katie Kramer.

Atencio will begin his tenure with Philanthropy Colorado on Feb. 20, 2024. He and Kelley will attend the annual Foundations on the Hill conference and Capitol Hill visits together in Washington, DC on Feb. 25-28, 2024.

About Philanthropy Colorado  
Founded more than 50 years ago, Philanthropy Colorado represents a statewide foundation sector that invests more than $1.4 billion a year in nonprofits and communities in support of a nonprofit sector that generates more than $40 billion a year in economic impact. Philanthropy Colorado’s mission is “to bring people, information and resources together to strengthen Colorado communities” and its vision is an “an equitable and sustainable future for Colorado.” Its current members include private and community foundations, corporate and government funders, federated funds and workplace giving programs, as well as donors and advisors. It focuses on leading and serving the field through education, peer networks and advocacy.

For more information, please visit

Find More By