Dara Hessee

Senior Program Officer
Priority Areas I Work In:

Affordable Housing | Children Move More | Food Access and Security | Healthy Schools

Dara is driven by her belief that health is a human right. With more than 15 years of public and nonprofit experience, she has a strong commitment to improving the health and well-being of Coloradans. She doesn’t just think locally, though — she realizes that the field of philanthropy has enormous potential to create positive and lasting change at the community, state and national levels — and globally.

Dara develops initiatives and manages a portfolio of grants that support a variety of the Foundation's focus areas. As part of her efforts to empower individuals and families to manage their own health, Dara led the development of a funding opportunity focused on Advance Care Planning. This work coincided with her father’s passing, so it is incredibly meaningful for her personally and she feels it has the potential to have a major impact on individuals, families and caregivers.

Making a positive global impact comes naturally for this citizen of the world. Dara has lived in Arizona, Colorado, California, Texas, New York, Spain and Poland, where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, providing English language instruction to 300 high school students in a rural farming community.

Her on-the-go nature also applies to her own healthy lifestyle. She’s an avid runner and has completed four marathons, including the famed New York City Marathon. Her husband and 5-year-old daughter also keep her hopping.


BA Psychology  University of Colorado

Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

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"Health is a human right."
Dara Hessee