Scott Downes

Portfolio Director
Priority Areas I Lead:

Advocacy | Locally-focused Work | Community Solutions and Capacity Building

Scott’s work has bridged philanthropy, advocacy, policy and politics. First joining The Colorado Health Foundation as a senior program officer in early 2020, Scott helped lead the team that provided operational support for the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, as well as serving as a strategy lead for the Foundation’s advocacy and locally-focused work. This included co-creating the Foundation’s Equity Collective Initiative and advancing other key work around health equity and racial justice. He was promoted to portfolio director in late 2022, where he leads the team responsible for the Foundation’s advocacy, capacity building, community solutions and locally-focused work. 

Prior to joining the Foundation, Scott was a consultant specializing in strategy development and strategic communications for foundations, nonprofits and other mission-oriented organizations. He previously served as a senior consultant with the Center for Evaluation Innovation and as a senior program officer at The Colorado Trust, managing a grant portfolio focused on policy, advocacy and civic engagement. Scott held communications roles with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy and the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute. In political campaigns, Scott served as a campaign manager, speechwriter, spokesperson and more, at the local, state and national level, including work with two governors.

Scott’s commitment to work in civic engagement and health equity was sparked growing up with parents who were deeply involved in their community, through schools, local government and political action. After several years working in politics in Indiana, D.C. and New Mexico, Scott moved to Colorado nearly 20 years ago and hasn’t looked back. He strongly believes in philanthropy’s responsibility to communities around instigating change and advancing equity and justice.

Scott has served as a board member for Scholars Unlimited and Bikes Together, and is a graduate of the Kansas Leadership Center, Leadership Denver, Center for Creative Leadership, and the Colorado Institute for Leadership Training. Originally from Indiana, his healthiest habits – hiking, biking, paddling and running – happen anywhere he can get outdoors in Colorado with his wife and their dog. 


BA in Government and International Studies – University of Notre Dame

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"Philanthropy has a responsibility to exercise its voice and platform in a manner that instigates a positive degree of change. Our work at the Foundation is uniquely positioned to catalyze that change – and I’m grateful to play my part each day."
Scott Downes
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